Daniel Cohen: When I first read the news about Ellen DeGeneres hosting the Oscars, my first reaction was honestly indifference. I’m not over the moon about this choice, but I don’t think it’s bad either. It’s fine. In my opinion they went the exact opposite of Seth MacFarlane. MacFarlane did a great job, but there’s a part of me that needs a break from the MacFarlane/Ricky Gervais hosting mantra of “let’s verbally attack all the celebrities we can in the span of three hours.” Ellen is not that type of host.
I don’t remember what she was like last time she hosted, but she’ll be solid and move the show along pretty well without a lot of gimmicks. Other than Billy Crystal, this is the safest pick I can possibly imagine. The Academy went risky last time with MacFarlane, so I’ll allow them a year of stress free jokes and commentary.
Bill Bodkin: It’s funny, a woman who drew so much controversy over her famed “coming out” episode on ABC oh-so-many years ago, who was criticized and lambasted so intensely at the time, is now the “safe” choice to host an award show.
It’s not secret that Ellen DeGeneres has become a mainstream figure who people of all ages and walks of life generally enjoy. So it makes sense for the Academy to tap her as this year’s host. She won’t be throwing stiff punches to the collective ego of Hollywood like a Jon Stewart or spewing acidic barbs like Ricky Gervais or tearing everyone down in song like Seth MacFarlane.
Yet, I’m okay with this. Variety is the spice of life as the poets would say. We can’t have snark and sarcasm every year. Ellen DeGeneres will keep the Oscars light without being corny or cliche, say like Billy Crystal, will.
In 2007, she proved she was able to deftly handle the show infusing her brand of humor with a little bit of sarcasm underscoring everything. She had a great rapport with the audience and kept what can become a super-serious/overly dramatic show into a quick, fun show. I think we’ll see similar results in 2014.