LOS ANGELES—Since the announcement that she will be hosting this year's Academy Awards, daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has reportedly been spending 40 hours a week in a fully automated Oscars simulator designed to challenge the comedienne both physically and mentally. "As soon as she steps into the module, she is bombarded by bright lights, images, and sounds programmed to accurately recreate the Academy Awards environment," said Oscar 9000 designer Howard Franks, adding that DeGeneres must make over 120 different jokes per simulation on such topics as ceremony length, dress choices, Oscar snubs, and Jack Nicholson's facial expressions. "If Miss DeGeneres fails to construct an amusing yet inoffensive quip, the timing mechanism kicks in, slowing down her agonizing exposure to the silent, disappointed glare of Hollywood's most glamorous." According to Franks, the highest score still belongs to Billy Crystal, who "charmed the pants off" the simulation with 94 variations on the same Jack-Palance-being-able-to-beat-him-in-an-arm-wrestling-match joke.