'Shaking up the Oscars this year': Announcer for 94th Oscars is a Durham native, proud Tar Heel

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- This Sunday, the 94th Oscars will air on ABC11 and while you will see Hollywood's biggest stars on the stage, the voice you will hear will be that of Durham native Janora McDuffie.

McDuffie, an accomplished actress who's landed many roles over the years including multiple appearances on ABC's Grey's Anatomy, said the chance to infuse her southern charm into Oscar night is an experience that will top the rest.

"I consider myself now a multi-passionate creative, so you toss it my way, I'm ready to play ball," McDuffie said. "And in terms of acting, whether it's on camera or as a voice artist, it's the Oscars. And there is no more Hollywood magic than that."

As for how she is preparing for her new role on Hollywood's biggest night, McDuffie said it comes naturally.

"They are shaking up the Oscars this year," she said. "They want the people to come back and it to be for the people. So with that, I was working on making sure that I'm me- I'm just myself. I am not this announcer from the sky. No! I'm a home girl from North Carolina. Come join me at the Oscars."

McDuffie's roots run deep in the Triangle; the north Durham native's parents still live in the Bull City. McDuffie attended the NC School of Science and Math before going on to graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill where she was a Morehead-Cain Scholar.

"It was just a beautiful foundation and community that I grew up in which allowed me to fly without feeling fear of failing because I knew I had a hometown to come back to which has always showed me so much love," said McDuffie who wore a Carolina blue blazer complete with a Tar Heel lapel pin. "And yes, Tar Heel and uni pride- anytime I have a chance to represent for the Tar Heels, I absolutely do."

From Hollywood, McDuffie, who is the first openly gay person to serve as the Oscars Announcer, said her wife made T-shirts and sent them back to North Carolina for everyone in her family to wear on Oscar night.

"You see me easily and effortlessly as a black woman," McDuffie said. "I am so proud to represent the African American community. All the black girl magic up in the Oscars and that you see me there. What you might not see is that I also do have a wife at home. So if by me having this platform, I am able to shed a little bit of love, spread some compassion, break down some stereotypes and barriers, then it is my honor and my responsibility to do that as well."

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Meet Janora McDuffie, the voice of this year's Oscars.

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