Hosting the Oscars is a thankless job. I have never been asked to host the show but I have been in entertainment reporting long enough to know that aside from red carpet fashion and snubs of the night, the hosting is the next most-critiqued element of the longest night in Hollywood’s awards show season.
Ellen DeGeneres was doomed before she even stepped foot on the stage. Not only is the crowd overly serious at the Academy Awards, but they also get very antsy knowing there’s four hours of show to get through.
While DeGeneres’s comedy is generally of the nice variety, when she did try to make a joke about Liza Minnelli it fell flat and everybody – I use that word to illustrate my point that it was a gasp-able moment to many people watching – said DeGeneres commenting that Minnelli looked like a male drag queen was uncalled for.
Were people making too much of the joke? I thought so. If you have seen Minnelli chum it up with friends like Kathy Griffin and other comedians you know she isn’t 100 per cent straight-faced serious. At the same time, people suggested picking on Minnelli because of her age is what made it inappropriate.
I’m sorry, but I was at Betty White’s 90th birthday party a couple years ago and there were far worse jokes made about the Golden Girl than Minnelli.
I think part of it is that DeGeneres herself has styled her comedy so that she isn’t mean and making fun of people (in a hurtful way, anyway) so her going after someone caught the audience off guard. Then again, the opening monologue of the Oscars – and any awards show really – is poking fun at the others in the room.
Overall, it felt like we were watching a rehearsal of the Oscars. DeGeneres constantly flubbed her lines, she missed her cues (that were perhaps later added into the script to poke fun), it seemed like one giant product placement for Twitter and Samsung, and the production was all over the place. We heard the announcer say “applause please” when coming back from commercial and heard DeGeneres rustling around backstage before the infamous pizza delivery bit.
But like most awards shows, we’ll forget about this one once the next one comes around. What is it? I think it’s all the country music awards shows next. (Though if you’re low-profiling it, it’s Canada’s Juno Awards.)