The 41-year-old actor will host the Academy Awards for the first time on Feb. 22, but according to The Hollywood Reporter
, Neil was fourth on the Academy's wish list of potential emcees.
The news source reports that producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron were turned down by Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock and Julia Louis-Dreyfus before landing NPH.
Harris is a seasoned award show host, having emceed the Emmys twice and the Tony Awards four times, but he's had his eye on the Oscars for quite some time. In a video announcing the gig, Harris showed a bucket list which included "host the Oscars" after a number of items such as "meet the president" and "have children."
NPH joins a long list of illustrious hosts, which includes Steve Martin, Jon Stewart, Billy Crystal and Ellen DeGeneres. Harris has a hard act to follow, as last year Ellen drew 43.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched Oscarcast since 2000. And who can forget the most epic selfie ever?!
Even if he wasn't at the top of their list, producers Zadan and Meron are still "thrilled to have Neil host the Oscars
," according to a statement given to ET.
"We have known him his entire adult life, and we have watched him explode as a great performer in feature films, television and stage," they continued. "To work with him on the Oscars is the perfect storm, all of his resources and talent coming together on a global stage."