It almost happened, at least according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. Per the paper, outgoing Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences president Tom Sherak wanted Fallon to host the 85th annual Academy Awards with Lorne Michaels acting as producer. (In addition to working with Fallon on "Saturday Night Live," Michaels also produces the comedian's late night show, "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.") Unfortunately, negotiations hit a snag and no deal could get worked out before Sherak's exit; the long-time Academy president ended his tenure at the head of the AMPAS this week when Hawk Koch took his position.
"I couldn't meet that deadline, so I stopped all negotiations," he said to the Times, without confirming whether the negotiations were with Fallon and Michaels.
Of course, things might not be so black and white: The Academy Awards air on ABC, and Fallon hosts his late night show on NBC -- in direct competition with ABC's Jimmy Kimmel. Offering a counterpoint to the Times, Deadline.com's Nikki Finke quoted unnamed source at ABC who basically said Fallon would host over the network's dead body. (ABC apparently didn't object to Michaels' involvement.)
As Variety notes, ABC doesn't have approval over the Oscar telecast host despite airing the festivities, however the network still partners with the AMPAS on the broadcast. In an op-ed for the trade paper, Jon Weisman wrote that if anyone from the late night circuit was going to emcee the Academy Awards in 2013, it would probably be Jimmy Kimmel. (Kimmel is hosting the Emmy's next month; they air on ABC.)
All of which is to say, the task of finding an Oscar host is probably back at square one; but don't be surprised if news on which star takes the stage at the 85th annual Academy Awards happens sooner rather than later. After all, Deadline.com broke the news that Eddie Murphy was hired as host of the 84th annual Academy Awards on Sept. 6, 2011.
UPDATE, Aug. 8: Speaking with Matt Lauer on the "Today" show, Fallon confirmed that he won't be hosting the 85th annual Academy Awards. "I'm not gonna do the Oscars," he said. "I was honored to be asked by the Academy, but it's not my year."
Logic would dictate that Seth Rogen is a terrible choice to host the 85th annual Academy Awards. After all, his shaggy-dog performance at the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday night was unfocused, meandering and much too laid back for "Hollywood's biggest night." <a href="http://news.moviefone.com/2012/02/27/billy-crystal-black-face-oscars_n_1303861.html?ref=moviefone" target="_hplink">He also doesn't do blackface</a>. But Rogen <em>is</em> hilarious, as his joke about why Brett Ratner would have worked as producer of the Grammys can dictate. "At the Grammys, you can literally beat the shit out of a nominee and be asked to perform twice," <a href="http://news.moviefone.com/2012/02/25/seth-rogen-independent-spirit-awards_n_1301891.html" target="_hplink">Rogen said</a>. More of this in 2013, Academy! (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
One of the few highlights of the 84th annual Academy Awards? <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/27/emma-stone-oscars-2012-th_n_1303786.html" target="_hplink">Emma Stone's totally invested and loopy performance opposite straight-man Ben Stiller while presenting the Best Visual Effects Oscar</a>. She was <em>so funny</em>. And <em>so adorable</em>. And unlike Anne Hathaway at the 83rd annual Academy Awards, her enthusiasm and energy seemed legitimate, and not manufactured. Get this lady a co-host (perhaps Stiller, Michael Cera or Jonah Hill), and give her the stage in 2013. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Call it the Billy Crystal principle. Last year, Crystal took the stage during James Franco and Anne Hathaway's Waterloo of a hosting performance and received a standing ovation for being anyone other than James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Chris Rock didn't get such an honor on Sunday night, but he was a welcome shot of unpredictability. While Jude Law and Sean Penn might not want to see him return to the Oscar stage, here's guessing many at home are hoping for a Rock return in 2013. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Everyone loves Meryl Streep. Even the half of America that Streep wisely indicated was tired of seeing her honored by a group of Hollywood peers loves Meryl Streep. She's charming, flirty, funny and quick-witted! You can imagine her holding court over the proceedings with ease -- and a glass of white wine well within reach. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
If everyone loves Meryl Streep, everyone <em>loves</em> Colin Firth. Remember how great he was while talking to Streep about filming "Mamma Mia" in Greece? "Meryl. Mamma Mia. We were in Greece. We danced. I was gay." Picture that for three hours. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Anne Hathaway And James Franco
Just seeing if you're still paying attention. (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris
There isn't technically a law on the books that Neil Patrick Harris and Hugh Jackman have to host all awards shows together, but if you saw the 65th annual Tony Awards last June, you understand that one should exist. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
The cast of the "The Bridesmaids"
Will "Bridesmaids" still be a "thing" in 2013? Probably not. Will Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Wendi McClendon-Covey and Rose Byrne still be <em>hi</em>larious in 2013? Absolutely! Their banter -- from the Golden Globes to the SAG awards all the way through to the Oscars -- was an awards season highlight. Forget any terrible sequel ideas; let's reunite this crew for the 85th annual Academy Awards and let them climb the telecast like a tree. (Ding!) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Give Angelina Jolie and her crazy leg some credit. Unlike robotic presenters like Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez, Jolie seemed excited to be on stage. Girl's got personality! You know Pitt does too. See if Hollywood's preeminent power couple would deign to host the 2013 Academy Awards and watch the ratings spike. Bonus if they get into a fight during the telecast! (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Shouldn't Jimmy Fallon get a crack at this show one of these years? Being a talk show host on NBC has obviously hurt his chances to run the ABC telecast, but Fallon has proved to be an adept awards show host (see: the 2010 Emmys). Plus, he loves <em>everything</em>. Assume that enthusiasm travels to viewers at home -- provided they haven't been put to sleep by whatever Cirque du Soleil-like stunt the 2013 Oscars pull off -- and produces the most-liked Academy Awards in years. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
He couldn't do worse than Francaway, right? (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)