After considering her hosting a self-titled show for over ten years filled with phenomenal ratings, one would not think that Ellen DeGeneres would feel apprehensive about hosting the Academy Awards. According to an article published in UK’s The Telegraph, however, DeGeneres’ performance counted towards more than just her own reputation as a comedian.
Prior to the Awards, which aired Sunday, March 2, the Academy struggled to decide in which direction they wanted to take the show. The last several years have been a fight to increase viewership with Anne Hathaway and James Franco falling flat in 2011, Billy Crystal lacking his usual charm the following year, and Seth MacFarlane insulting anyone and everyone with his crude humor last year.
The instant DeGeneres began her opening monologue, though, it was clear she was taking a different approach than her predecessors. By offering subtle digs at several of the “untouchables” in the audience (Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt, June Squibb), taking star-studded selfies, and even ordering pizza for everyone in the first several rows, DeGeneres humanized the celebrities who normally appear enclosed in the Hollywood bubble.
Her efforts did not go to waste as she garnered 43 million viewers, according to Rolling Stone.
I will be the first to admit that I live for awards shows like the Oscars to provide me with an opportunity to peek into my favorite celebrities’ lives. Without someone to artfully guide my fellow audience members and me through the spectacle, though, the three hours of presenting can tend to drag.
Ellen kept me thoroughly entertained throughout the Academy Awards and provided the perfect mix of cringe-worthy and just pure hilarious jabs. I also think she is probably the only woman besides Angelina Jolie who could ask Brad Pitt to pass out paper plates to his fellow hungry audience members. Congratulations to the Academy for selecting a wonderful host this awards show season.