There has been speculation around Hollywood and elsewhere that Whoopi Goldberg who has been absent from her seat on The View of late is secretly preparing to host The Oscars this weekend.

There's a rumor that WHOOPI GOLDBERG is the SURPRISE HOST of this Sunday's Oscars.  That would make SOME sense . . . she's hosted four times before, in 1994, 1996, 1999, and 2002.

And not long after KEVIN HART lost the gig because he stubbornly refused to apologize for some old, homophobic Tweets, Whoopi announced that SHE'D step in and host.  But nothing came of it . . . publicly, at least.

While an ABC spokesperson denied the rumor, Joy Behar said on the show that Whoopi has been battling pneumonia. (Yahoo.com)