Ellen DeGeneres has expressed her enthusiasm for hosting the 79th Academy Awards presentation on Sunday.

The comedienne, who made television history when she came out to 46 million viewers on her sitcom ten years ago, is excited about bringing her humour to a massive audience.

Ellen told The New York Daily News : “While you’re doing it, it’s a thrill. If you can stay in the moment, which is what your goal is, it’s a thrill.

“It’s really a thrill when you finish it, because you’ve taken on something not a lot of people do. I just don’t ever want to be too comfortable.”

She also hopes for an opportunity to ad lib a little: “You’re praying for something, not necessarily to go wrong, but when you have Jack Palance doing a one-arm push-up or a streaker, as a comedian that’s when you have the most fun.”

Ellen will be the first openly gay entertainer to host the Academy Awards, having already hosted two Grammy Awards and three Emmy Awards ceremonies.

The producer of the presentation, Laura Ziskin said on www.oscars.org: “Ellen DeGeneres was born to host the Academy Awards. It requires someone who can keep the show alive and fresh and moving, as well as someone who is a flat-out great entertainer.

“Ellen completely fits the bill. I can already tell she is going to set the bar very high for herself and therefore for all of us involved in putting on the show. Now all we need is a lot of great movies.”

LGBT communities and organisations have drawn attention to the significance of the selection of Ellen as the host.

GLAAD’s Entertainment Media Director, Damon Romine, told AfterEllen.com: “This is an important milestone for our visibility.

“No other gay performer has so successfully conquered mainstream America while living openly and honestly, and the decision to name Ellen host of the Oscars clearly reflects a comfort level a global audience has with her.”