Ellen DeGeneres Gets Mixed Reviews For First Post-MacFarlane Oscars

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198For the third time in her career, Ellen DeGeneres was asked to host a Hollywood awards ceremony after a tragedy — this time the tragedyOscars 2014 Show being Seth MacFarlane’s Hollywood-savaging Oscars hosting of a year ago. Ellen hosted the twice-delayed Emmy Awards after the September 2001 terrorist attacks and, four years later, after Hurricane Katrina. Tonight she hosted the first Academy Awards since MacFarlane opened the Oscars with “We Saw Your Boobs” and followed it up with a crack about John Wilkes Booth (rather than nominee Daniel Day-Lewis) being the actor who best got into President Lincoln’s head.

“For those of you watching us around the world, it’s been a tough couple of days for us. It has been raining. We’re fine – thank you for your prayers,” DeGeneres joked as she opened tonight’s ABC broadcast — a nod to her deft hosting of the aforementioned Emmy broadcasts, including that twice-postponed ’01 Emmys, which she’d opened with the observation: “What would bother the Taliban more than seeing a gay woman in a suit surrounded by Jews” to gales of laughter.

Related: OSCARS: Deadline’s Live Blog

OscarSelfieWhen tonight’s disjointed show finally ended, a minute or two into Monday morning for about a third of the country’s TV viewers who live on the East Coast, DeGeneres had reminded us she’s likeable as all get out, but her improvised bits did not work so well – Amy Poehler and Tina Fey did it much better at the Golden Globes. She’d called Liza Minnelli  “sir”, complimented “him” on his great Liza Minnelli impersonation; shamed Harvey Weinstein into putting $200 bucks into Pharrell’s hat, which she was passing around to collect money to pay for the product-placement pizza she ordered for the A-listers in the front rows; pocketed and used best supporting actress winner Lupita Nyong’o’s pizza-collection contribution (a lip gloss); and maybe crashed Twitter shortly after piling about a dozen celebrities into one selfie during the broadcast in an attempt to break the record for most re-tweets (it was pushing 2 million by the time the trophy show was over, causing the Motion Picture Academy to apologize for contributing to the Twitter traffic jam).

Heroes in Hollywood was this year’s theme. “We need heroes now more than ever,” DeGeneres said during the broadcast. “People in the world are going through hard times, and movies offer us an escape. Movies inspires us. I’m not saying that movies are the most important thing in the world ’cause we all know the 86th Annual Academy Awards - Showmost important thing in the world is youth,” she snarked, in the first of her costume changes — in a sort of barrister suit minus the wig, which inspired MSNBC show host Ronan Farrow to tweet: “Tomorrow on Ronan Farrow Daily: exclusive interview with Ellen DeGeneres’s cravat.”

Deadline followers on various social-media sites had wildly different opinions about the show. “Death” said one succinct criticism; others cut DeGeneres some slack because they like her a lot; one Twitter user was “completely unimpressed” and asked if Ricky Gervais was available for next year.

As with the Golden Globes, some awards did not get handed out at the Oscars tonight, but let’s remedy that right now:

* Best Guerrilla Upstaging Of A Multimillion-Dollar Product Placement Campaign By Oscar Sponsor Samsung (touting its new Galaxy S5): Lupita’s lip balm which, which, according to Twitter chatter, is Clarins.

* Best Brain Freeze: John Travolta introducing Frozen’s “Let It Go” singer and Broadway’s Wicked star Idina Menzel as “the Wickedly talented Adela Dazeem.” Within minutes a Twitter account had been created for Adela Dazeem which as of posting had 11,000 followers and counting, and was trending.

* Best Acceptance Speech Demonstrating Why Actors Need Directors: Matthew McConaughey’s shout-out to God and himself-in-10-years during his acceptance speech for the Best Actor win.

* Most Revelatory Moment About Celebrity Psychology That We Knew All Along But It’s Nice To Have It Confirmed: Kevin Spacey photobombing Ellen’s selfie with Meryl Streep and other invited A-listers. “My photobombing gets better and better,” Spacey bragged on Twitter. (Spacey seemed like a drunk high schooler crashing a wedding at the Oscars;  he got more screen time than any of the night’s nominees, and then showed up on Jimmy Kimmel’s post-Oscar show and took another selfie of himself and Kimmel to see if he could beat Ellen’s re-tweet tally).

86th Annual Academy Awards - Show* Best Spontaneous Expression Of Joy That Starts Well And Ends Badly:  20 Feet From Stardom cast member Darlene Love bursting out into song that goes on just long enough off key to demonstrate why she’s a backup singer not a headliner.

* Best Thank You That Comes Off As Note To HR Personnel File: The Great Gatsby costumer Catherine Martin thanking Ian Gracie, supervision art director, with, “you rock and you swear a lot.”

    1. She did a terrible job. Seth MacFarlane could have walked out and compared Steve McQueen to Precious, and that would have been the equivalent of what Ellen Degeneres did in insulting Liz Minnelli. They don’t hire a gay woman so you can be as racist, misogynistic, ageist, and homophobic as the next guy. She was just gross. The pizza bit has been done a million times before, she was awkward and strange and dull the whole night, but half the homophobes in this country were left wondering why their views are supposedly “wrong” if Ellen herself is being so nasty on Hollywoo’d biggest night.

      1. Liza is known for having an incredible sense of humor, and she seemed tickled at the joke. Lighten up.

        1. Get real. Liza was NOT tickled by the joke. Supposedly jokes aimed at members of the audience are vetted with the celebrity first for their approval. I doubt however that Liza knew exactly what kind of joke Ellen was going to make at her expense. She had to grin and bear it, but the immediate look on her face betrayed her humiliation.

        2. Liza was clearly not happy. She even grumbled at Ellen when she came over later for a selfie. Now Lorna Luft thought it was hysterical and I love her so much for that.

      2. You say the pizza bit has been done a million times? Name one time where that was done during an awards show of this calibur? I thought Ellen was wonderful, and who say’s you have to be crude, or rude to be funny? I’ll take Ellen over Seth everytime! Loved her, and loved the show this year!

        1. The point is it’s been done before. What’s the difference if it hadn’t been done at an awards show before. Absurd comment.

          She’s not funny and her entire career is a mystery to me. I just don’t get it. She’s the female Jimmy Fallon.

      3. Thank you for describing what I was thinking. Her performance had nothing to do with her sexual orientation, etch, blah, blah, blah. It was lame, disjointed and oft times uncomfortable. What a disappointment.

      4. Ellen was great! Are you available to host next year considering you seem to know how to best host?

      5. I just loved Ellen hosting the oscars. It seemed as though everyone in the audience was relaxed and happy. The whole show went by much to fast for me. I loved it.
        I think ordering the pizza was a great idea and the “selfie” was just so spontaneous. Nobody seemed to be taking themselves to seriously. Grear!

    2. I thought Ellen did a fine job. I was al little shocked about her Liza Minelli joke. I’d rather see Ellen as Host as compared to Gervais. If he hosted, I would not dare to watch….

  1. ABC’s iPhone app was showing streams of the audience, backstage, and hosts in addition to the broadcast stream. The server crashed a few minutes in and wasn’t back for an hour. The audience cam inexplicably kept losing focus and eventually they would switch to showing Oscar statues to be given out sitting on a table. I reckon, over the 3.5 hours they were crashed for an hour, they showed statues for another hour, and they were out of focus for at least a half hour. Leaving an hour or less of CSPAN style coverage of the front rows, ignoring most of the nominees behind them. Teenagers doing webcasts out of their parents basement run circles around ABC on their biggest show of the year.

    1. What I really want to know is what happened between Steve McQueen and John Ridley, that these two men despise each other the way they demonstrated it publicly last night?
      They didn’t look at each other or hug each other after each win, didn’t thank each other in their acceptance speech or even made mention about any sorts of relationship they would have. Ridley ignored McQueen (who stayed seated) and instead hugged O’Russell who reduced him to a story by credit on Three Kings. Anybody else thinks that weird?

      1. It not weird. It is just a matter of vanity and egos. McQueen wanted to take writing credit to himself and couldn’t get away with it. Ridley, a temperamental fellow, was not amused. I would even say this was a more sincere and clean way of acting, since they didn’t indulge the huge phony bullshit ethos of the business in which all these folks who hate, envy and would gladly see each other die in flames pretend they love each other and air kiss. So good for both of them. At least they they acted accordingly to their feelings.

        1. McQueen is not a writer. He’s a photographer turned director, and SHAME was a waste of 100 minutes. It was just shots, terrible dialogue, no story, but shots of Fassbender. Love the latter, but McQueen will specialize in movies no one ever sees twice. Huge fan of 12, but McQueen is not a writer. Period. Have some respect for screenwriting, which everyone tries to do, and 99% fail at. Most of the job in this industry require someone to get coffee for two years until they can give notes on a script. And those notes are never appreciated, you’re all just middlemen who will lose your jobs in the coming years. And what will you do then? No industry wants people who call themselves “producers” or development executives, unless they really produce anything. And D-Boys and D-Girls are the only people who call themselves execs, yet don’t have an MBA.

          Adapt or die.

      2. If you watched the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, Steve and Dede thanked virtually everybody associated with the film EXCEPT John Ridley. And then, in his Oscar speech the following night, Ridley made sure to emphasize that he thanked ALL the crew, ALL the cast…but no mention of McQueen. So,yeah, I’m curious about that too. I didn’t know they were at odds. That’s really too bad.

      3. I thought I was the only person that caught the icy exchange between Ridley and McQueen. Starting with the Golden Globes I don’t think either man acknowledged each other during 12 Years predominance of Best movie accolades during award season. My personal view is that McQueen never acknowledged Ridley’s involvement in the process of creating 12 Years during his many acceptance speeches. It seemed when Ridley won the Oscar he unleashed bitterness that had been festering. You can’t have a solid movie without a solid script. I wish the gentlemen had settle their beef prior to the telecast. It was a poor display of ego for a movie that should unite all humans. Solomon Northup had courage to tell his harrowing story of slavery and Steve McQueen directed an unflinching tale with profound emotion. John Ridley adapted a screenplay that was told beautifully and Brad Pitt produced and won his 1st Oscar for his conviction for a movie that otherwise would have never been made. All men are brave and that should have been the only focal point!

  2. I cannot see how tonight’s show can be labeled a “recovery” when I had to keep switching channels during the telecast to stop from yawning. At least Seth’s hosting gig kept me from tuning out. Need new producers & a new host for 2015.

    1. You must have been on some serious drugs last year that prevented you from switching while Sth was hosting. The guy was an absolute bore. Although this year was boring, I didn’t change the channel.

  3. Ellen was just plain horrible! She seemed unprepared not interested and lost. The whole show was off this year, and lacked a flow and direction. Ellen needs to go!

    1. I’m with you. It was TERRIBLE. When watching the audience eat pizza and them making a product placement selfie were the highlights, it’s time to RETHINK the Oscars in general. It was sloppy. It was incredibly boring too, which isn’t good for a show where we already KNOW who is going to win based on the other award shows during the season…. I mean honestly, were they ANY REAL SURPRISES at all?

      And not for nothing… How come almost EVERY presenter flubbed what they had to say… And they all had a TELEPROMPTER to help them?

  4. I have to admit, I was cringing during the pizza segment, which seemed to go on forever. But then I just had to say to myself, “Seth McFarland” and suddenly everything Ellen did was genius.

    She is going to have to make it up to Liza, though.

  5. Ugh…give me a break. McFarlane wasn’t 100%, but he was edgy, took chances, and when he did hit, he hit well. DeGeneres was dull, safe, and did absolutely nothing inject any kind of electricity into the proceedings. Worse, about halfway through she seemed like she knew she was on a sinking ship and didn’t want to be there anymore. If that’s your idea of “recovery,” then I’ll stick to full-blown destruction, thank you very much.

    1. I totally agree. McFarlane was amazing, but a pretentious and uptight Oscar audience wasn’t right FOR HIM. Seth MacFarlane is meant for Roasts not Oscars. Which is unfortunate because Seth is light years funnier than Ellen who does the same boring, “I’m awkward” shtick.

  6. Seth McFarlane’s hosting was not a tragedy. I enjoyed last year’s show much more than this year.

    1. I agree. I enjoyed Seth last year.
      Live television is about taking chances and being
      entertaining and having fun.

      I enjoyed Ellen’s monologue, but the pizza bit was kind of lame and the whole selfie thing STANK — as if twitter needs a plug. I mean, really who cares!!!

      Ellen definitely checked out and shirked her duties, from the middle of the broadcast to the end. She wasn’t even trying.

      1. I agree, she seemed to have checked out. As time went on she acted more and more out of place in her role as host. She actually seemed depressed. She was lame and she knew it, just like Bette Midler knew she couldn’t sing like she used to, but agreed to sing anyway, revealing in shocking fashion that she lost her high register. I hate to say this because I’ve always thought she had a great voice, which for some reason is now ruined. Getting back to Ellen, I think she couldn’t relate well to all the dressed up heterosexual glamor in the room. She treated the glitterati as she would her typical TV show audience because that’s her comfort level and the only thing she had confidence in doing.

  7. Seth Macfarlane was asked back to host the oscars this year, he respectfully declined, according to the academy, whose opinion is really the most important here, he was no disaster.

  8. she’s is a Great comedian. it kind of saddens me that she does so much that she doesn’t have time to be, well, a comedian. put out another special! please??

  9. I like Ellen as a person but she wasn’t even remotely funny last night. The pizza “joke” for example dragged on and on and wasn’t even funny to begin with. Ellen is the comedic equivalent of elevator music.

    1. It’s so sad that the only thing people respond to anymore are mean, biting jokes! Glad I don’t live in those peoples misery, that they need that to make themselves feel better! I thought Ellen was wonderful, and everyone at my party had a blast with the selfie’s and the pizza delivery gag! Loved it!!

      1. Lying and saying something’s awesome is no better than being mean just to be mean. Be truthful and tactful. If someone doesn’t like that it was negative, screw’em.

  10. Not great, not horrible. But I did adore the pointed social commentary disguised as a joke Ellen gave at the start: Either 12 Years A Slave wins Best Picture or we’re all racists. You could tell no one knew quite how to react.

  11. I like Ellen de Generes, although I’ve only watched segments of her show. But she was a disaster as Oscar emcee. Just flat and boring. No real jokes or wit to be found. You know a host is sinking fast when they turn to gimmickry like lottery tickets, selfies, and pizza to try to be entertaining.

  12. MacFarlane was just fine (and I hate this guy’s show) but Ellen was classy. The upshot–if I actually cared about even half these pictures it would have been a better show.

  13. When has Ellen ever been funny? Another so-called “comedian” that we’re supposed to cut a break on, in the name of not offending anyone…just like Whoopi.

  14. Excuse me sir…Darlene Love is is the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and is one Hell of a singer. That was a great and touching moment. Her yearly appearances on Letterman at Christmas give me goosebumps every year so i respectfully disagree with you Sir.

    1. Love’s career was made as a session singer, not as a solo artist. What are you talking about?

  15. I turned off Oscars after 90 minutes. Couldn’t stand it anymore. That was the first time I did that since….ever. I love awards shows. And watch all of them. But couln’t do it this year. Specially after what is happening in the world right now. First one – Oscars were so predictable this year. 20 actors were nominated, we all knew that Cate and Jared would get Oscars. And then only guess was between Jen/Lupita and Mathew/Leo. We knew Gravity would take Best Director and 12 Years A Slave would take best picture. It was the most predictable and uninteresting Oscar in years.

    And second – God I almost hate those celebrities at the moment. WW III may start any day and those very rich and impossibly pretty people sit there in the audience, congratulate themselves, admire themselves, give themselves standing ovation. Every second one gets on stage, gives some inspirational meaningless speech about world peace and needy children or something. Then gives special crying thank you to God, like God doesn’t have other things to do then decide which actor he will give Oscar to. And then they show audience, and tears in the eyes of these movie stars, they sob, admire, clap themselves and their own humanity and importance….

    I didn’t understand few years back when people were laughing at how they congratulate themselves at the awards shows but I do now.

    1. They took a few hours to cover an entire year of film, countless efforts of countless people putting in hard work in order to make films that change peoples’ lives. You don’t have to watch and you don’t have to care, but don’t put yourself on a pedestal just because you pay attention to the current events of the day. I’m sure they do, too. Our culture is reactive enough already. Don’t try to bring everybody else down just because you aren’t feeling it right now.

    2. Thank you for voicing this. I had basically the same epiphany last night during the telecast, which I only got through about 60 minutes of, but didn’t want to sound negative. I understand that this is the biggest night of the year and the fulfillment of life-long dreams for most of the nominees and winners, but, at the risk of sounding cliche — I think the Oscars being televised has jumped the shark. I say this as somebody who worked in the business more than a decade ago, and who is still an avid movie-goer. Can’t the Academy still give out the Oscars, but not televise it anymore (or at least not the whole thing) on network television? Is an awards ceremony really that meaningful anymore? Times have changed.

  16. If MacFarlane’s hosting was tradegy, then this year was straight down catastrophy. Come on, don’t the hate for anything MacFarlane does let blind your judgement. MacFarlane is often criticized by critics for recycling jokes and Ellen not only recycled his joke, at least twice (but in a way which wasn’t funny), but she recycled her own jokes from the evening itself. And the whole evening looked like she was just asked to fill in on the red carpet before the evening started.

  17. Seth MacFarlane created a funny, original show that kept viewers watching because they didn’t know what was coming next and because they were laughing. Ellen did her afternoon talk show. In my opinion, she was lazy and played it safe. And the worst sin she committed as a comedian, she wasn’t funny. I feel like I had seen 75% of her monologue and I don’t ever watch her. And I can only imagine the crap Seth would have gotten if he had done the jokes she did about Liza Minelli’s appearance and the old age jokes about June Squibb. There was such a double standard applied to Seth. The great reviews for Ellen’s hosting were written before she ever said a word.

    1. I don’t think it’s double standards. I didn’t hear Ellen singing a song at the Oscars called “I saw your peen”. Enough said.

      1. Actually, she did a dick joke with Jonah Hill during her monolog and it was a good joke. The same way the “We Saw Your Boobs” song was a good joke. My point was, she got not crap for doing that joke nor the ones about Liza or June Squibb, and to be honest, I don’t think she should have gotten any crap about it. Her job was to be funny. The same as it was Seth’s job to be funny. The double-standard comes in because according to the media and all the pathetic special interest groups, EVERYTHING that Ellen did was good, and EVERYTHING that Seth did was bad. Ellen had a few funny lines. Seth did a damn funny show, from beginning to end. He was better. He was original. This whole thing about the Oscars being some sort of hallowed ceremony is ridiculous. It is a TV show that is there to sell commercial time on ABC and to promote movies for the studios. They aren’t electing a new Pope there every year. It’s just a TV show, folks. (And THAT is “Enough Said” unless you have the courage to sign your posts with your real name, “Emanuelle”)

        1. Uh, when one of the ‘we saw your boobs’ scenes was Jodie Foster in a gang rape scene, it’s not that funny. I appreciated him overall, and that concept could’ve been funny, but that was misguided execution. I wouldn’t mind it if he came back though.

  18. Next to Billy Chrystal, Seth MacFarlane is the best host the Academy has ever hired. By far.

    1. Uh…sol rivera, you’re either posting from the psych ward of some hospital or you’re one of those juvenile Family Guy fanboys because what you said was wildly contrary to reality.

      1. Well, good God the Seth MacFarlane fanboys have taken over the comment section haven’t they?

  19. Ellen is the kind of person where you look at your friend or wife and say “that was funny”, but never actually laugh

  20. Seth was not a tragedy! Ellen was alright, but she seemed nervous to me. Next year, the host should be Kevin Spacey!

  21. I thought Seth McFarlane was fantastic last year. I don’t know what anybody is talking about … I thought the guy was GREAT. I love Ellen usually, but she was off last night. Kind of slow, kind of dull, kind of disjointed. I still like her, I just think she missed the mark this time. McFarlane was MUCH BETTER. And I don’t even like the guy’s work … but he can sure sing and dance for the Oscars!

  22. Ummm, really, Seth was great and this show was probably one of the worst. They had no filmed opening event like billy crystal being in each of the films, the presenters banter was terribly written, the pacing was horrible with the worst direction I’ve ever seen– the decision to air those awards in that order was terrible. Could they not afford any production design when the songs were done? And why did the announcers not give any oscar tidbits. Ellen was great but the show itself was not great.

  23. Are you kidding?!? Ellen was excrutiatingly horrible…the whole show was one of the worst Oscar telecasts in recent memory, even most of the presenters seemed liked they were shot up with a bad batch of Fentanyl-laced Botox or something…I’d pray for Seth MacFarlane next year instead of Ellen!

    1. Thought I typed 2015 in the ‘who should be next hosts’ comment but it came out as 2014. Sorry for the confusion.

    2. This was the highest-rated Oscar telecast in more than a decade for a reason — social media is still on fire, two days later, with praise for Ellen DeGeneres. You bitter old dinosaurs need a reality check. And, btw, I am not an Ellen fan. I’m just not delusional.

      1. What do the ratings have to do with the quality of the show? If you pander to social media at the beginning of a show, then people are going to turn on their TV sets to see what’s up. She was bad, but many people have low standards or just don’t care.

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