Ellen DeGeneres to Host 2014 Oscar Ceremony – Is She the Right Choice?

Published 1 year ago by , Updated June 14th, 2014 at 11:31 am,

ellen hosting oscars 1 Ellen DeGeneres to Host 2014 Oscar Ceremony   Is She the Right Choice?

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has found the next host of the Academy Awards, once again dipping into the pool of familiar names that have already hosted the show and returning Ellen DeGeneres to the Oscar stage for her second go-round.

A good, but not great host in 2007 – who followed three years of Chris Rock and Jon Stewart, respectively – DeGeneres once again finds herself following what could be considered a more edgy comic, replacing Family Guy creator and Ted auteur Seth MacFarlane as host. The question is: does that make Ellen the safe choice, and if she is, is that a bad thing?

Year after year, the Academy has struggled to find the kind of consistency that the legendary awards show has experienced throughout its history, thanks to the likes of Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, and Billy Crystal. They’ve come close a few times (to my mind, Whoopi Goldberg is one of the more underrated hosts in Oscar history and both Stewart and Martin had their merits), but they’ve also reached back into the past one too many times (a stale Billy Crystal in 2012 after Eddie Murphy decamped), and simply reached too far out a few times  (James Franco and Anne Hathaway, Letterman).

With MacFarlane, it seemed like the Academy was going in a fresher direction, or at least aiming to capture some of the “Will he go there?” buzz that the Golden Globes had with the Ricky Gervais roller coaster ride (He’s brilliant! He’s bland! He loves them! He hates them!). MacFarlane was ultimately a middle ground host, mixing song, dance, and a smidgen of sexism with some bland monologue jokes and an overlong visit from William Shatner.

ellen hosting oscars 2007 Ellen DeGeneres to Host 2014 Oscar Ceremony   Is She the Right Choice?

So, what will DeGeneres bring into the mix this time around? For one thing, a sense of lightness and ease. Sure, she’s got a razor sharp comic mind, but she’s not going to cut anyone too deeply, preferring jabs over haymakers. She’s got more broad appeal than MacFarlane – but is her name on the top of the poster really going to help win buzz and ratings? Kinda… maybe?

A good show and the promise of a good show has some value, and with Ellen, that’s what you get: a good show. Maybe not memorable, certainly not daring, but good and safe. The Academy could have thought outside the box and chased after buzz again - Jimmy Kimmel would have been a valiant stab at that, even if it meant taking his highly entertaining post-show edition of Jimmy Kimmel Live out of the game – but they chose not to for whatever reason.

They could have, once again, tried to recruit a Hollywood luminary like Tom Hanks, but… actually, that would probably be brilliant and a nod to a time when someone like Jack Lemmon, with an easy sense of humor, ample charm, and mountains of goodwill hosted four times. But the Academy didn’t go there, either.

With the choice of Ellen, the Academy deemed all risks not worth taking, putting all their hope in her ability to transcend expectations and give them something to build on for the future, in a way that the last five years haven’t been able to do, and that’s understandable. After all, when you’re reaching in the dark, you try to hold onto something sturdy that won’t let you down.

2013 tony awards nph Ellen DeGeneres to Host 2014 Oscar Ceremony   Is She the Right Choice?

Neil Patrick Harris’ Opening Number at the 2013 Tony Awards.

But then again: In an era where a host like Neil Patrick Harris is opening stage play award shows like THIS, is Ellen going to be able to give the biggest night in Hollywood its proper due?

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The 86th Annual Academy Awards will air on Sunday March 2nd, 2014 on ABC.

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TAGS: oscars

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  1. NPH is an easy choice for hosting the Oscars. He is always phenomenal at hosting the Tonys.

    Matthew McConaughey, Rowan Atkinson, Jamie Foxx, Clark Gregg, Dennis Leary are all people i woundn’t mind seeing host

    Out of the box ideas would be “Jim Carrey” or “The Entire Cast of SNL”

  2. Until they get better producers and writers, it won’t matter who hosts

    • Was about to say the same thing.
      Seth McFarlane is an incredibly funny guy, but he wasn’t at the top of his game at the Oscars – I think it was because he had almost nothing to work with: They tried to do the whole “oh, we said something insulting, but wait! It’s just a joke, so it’s okay to laugh about it” shtick, instead of just writing genuinely funny material.

      I’d be okay with McFarlane hosting again, but they need to get better material. Or better yet, get Gervais to host and have him write it himself :D

  3. She is the tame choice, since some people thought Seth went to far. I disagree completely I thought Seth was really funny. She is funny though and should do good enough

  4. Boooo. Bring back Seth McFarlane, he was the best Oscar host in years. Or I he can’t, then get Neil Patrick Harris

  5. I think the fact that I had forgotten she’s hosted before until I read it in the article says a lot about how I think she will fare this time around.

  6. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

    • Heck Yeah lol

  7. She is a safe choice but it could be far worse. I thought Seth McFarlane was hilarious last year it’s a shame his humour didn’t resonate with some people.

  8. Not bad. Seth’s hosting was just…too much, I should say.

    Next time, I would get someone like Bruce Campbell or Jim Carrey.

  9. I didn’t bother with the Oscars this year, mainly thanks to cynicism over Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty but what I saw of Seth looked hilarious.

    It’s a shame they can’t bring back Hugh Jackman, he was amazing.

  10. The best Oscar memories i have are from Billy Crystals earlier performances. He was great at the time. I have some memory of Steve Martin being a good host too.
    I think Ellen is great and she will do a fine job.

    • I liked Steve Martin as well…

  11. Ellen Degenerate can do what she wants…I am not planning to watch it.

    • What is your problem?

      • He doesn’t want to watch the Oscars. I honestly don’t see a problem. I’m not planning on watching it either. I pretty much never watch it… It turns out to be a crapshoot if a movie or actor wins for political reasons or because it actually deserved to win. So Honestly I don’t care what a panel of elitists think of the movies I watch. I make up my own mind…

  12. I am seeing a kind of pattern with the hosts… Not going to say it because it’ll likely turn into a flame war…

  13. Neil Patrick Harris should just host the oscars

  14. Who gives a s***.

    • Someone who gobbled a box of Ex-Lax, that’s who!

  15. Steven Colbert should host. If he can host the White House Correspondent Dinner, he could host Hollywood’s elite. But I’m sure Ellen will do fine.

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