At this point, fans of Miss Congeniality, the Sandra Bullock-starring 2000 comedy, think they know pretty much all there is to know about the film. After all, the movie, about an FBI agent (Bullock) who goes undercover as a beauty pageant contestant for a mission, was such a huge critical and commercial success that every piece of it has been dissected, from Bullock's improved one-liners to whether April 25 really is the perfect date. Yet after all this time, there's still one piece of trivia that even the most diehard Congeniality fans didn't know, and it's a doozy: the clumsy, tough character of Gracie Hart was inspired by none other than Ellen DeGeneres.
Well, at least according to her. In an interview with Parade, the upcoming Oscar host revealed that Miss Congeniality was written based off her experience readying for the Emmy Awards.
“When I was getting ready to cohost the Emmys, the writer saw me [on TV] learning how to walk in a dress and heels," DeGeneres said. "My stylist at the time—a man—was teaching me, and it was hilarious. The Miss Congeniality writer saw it and thought it was brilliant.”
Ellen DeGeneres, classic movie inspiration? It's too good to be true — and unfortunately, it looks like that might be the case. DeGeneres didn't host the Emmys until 2001, a year after Miss Congeniality came out in theaters. Even if she'd gotten the ceremony wrong in her quote, she's never co-hosted an awards show. Unless the comedian is pulling a Dory and getting her memories mixed up, it's more likely than not that she's just teasing about inspiring the film.
If she is messing with us, we're disappointed. The idea of DeGeneres being the force behind one of the most beloved comedies of the 21st century is pretty great, and if she's lying about Miss Congeniality, what other pieces of "trivia" has she made up? In the Parade interview, DeGeneres also stated that she beat out Jennifer Aniston for her role in 1999's EDtv; is she being serious, or just having fun with the press? We'll likely never know, unless she chooses to reveal the truth on the Oscar stage Sunday night. A monologue interspersed with photos of a beauty pageant-ready DeGeneres would certainly make the Oscars a bit more interesting than usual.