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Ellen DeGeneres Announced As 2014 Oscars Host

Kate Guarino |
September 11, 2013 | 4:50 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Ellen DeGeneres (Creative Commons)
Ellen DeGeneres (Creative Commons)
Ditch those expensive ball gowns and uncomfortable heals for a pantsuit. That’s almost certainly what Ellen DeGeneres will be doing as she prepares to host the 86th Annual Academy Awards next March. 

DeGeneres tweeted the news August 2, saying “It's official: I'm hosting the #Oscars! I'd like to thank @TheAcademy, my wife Portia and, oh dear, there goes the orchestra.”

DeGeneres is no stranger to award shows. “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has won 45 Daytime Emmys and she has hosted the Primetime Emmy’s in 2001 and 2005 as well as the Oscars in 2007. 

DeGeneres was applauded for her performance as Emmys host in 2001 and her ability to bridge seriousness and humor in the wake of the attacks of September 11. In her opening monologue, she said, “I feel like I’m in a unique position as host because, think about it what would bug the Taliban more than seeing a gay woman in a suit surrounded by Jews,” adding “they can’t take away our creativity, our striving for excellence, our joy—only network executives can do that.”  

Still, choosing DeGeneres to host this year’s Oscars was a safe move as much as a smart one. She is well-respected, internationally-recognized and, of course, funny. She appeals to a broad demographic and the academy can feel confident that her jokes won’t be quite as raunchy as McFarlane’s “We Saw Your Boobs” sequence in last year’s Oscars.

Much like this year, DeGeneres’s 2007 Oscar stint came on the heels of a controversial performance by John Stewart the previous year and DeGeneres’s performance had critics split. 

Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times praised DeGeneres for “bringing a casual Friday mood to Fancy Sunday,” while Adam Buckman of The New York Post claimed that DeGeneres’ jokes fell flat and the telecast would be remembered as “the dullest, most bloated Academy Awards ever.”

Feminists might claim a victory because DeGeneres is only the second woman to host the Oscars solo—Whoopi Goldberg has hosted solo four times— and LGBTQ activists will surely tote the DeGeneres selection as a sign of progress. DeGeneres is by far one of the most recognizable lesbians in Hollywood but there’s no shortage of openly gay comedians in show business for the Academy to choose from. DeGeneres is a Hollywood insider and any claims of progress inside the Academy gates pack less of a punch because DeGeneres has hosted the show before. 

The real question is weather or not she can spice up an Oscar telecast that has grown increasingly longer and more droning in the past five years. For now, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. This year’s Oscars will be held on my birthday, so I for one hope it’s a good show. If things get boring, DeGeneres can always bring Sophia Grace and Rosie over for a visit. And if things don’t go her way, DeGeneres will just keep swimming her way onto her next gig.

Reach Staff Reporter Kate Guarino here.



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