Like many others, I was a little concerned how Ellen DeGeneres would do as host of the Oscars last night.
After all, Ellen is more of a television personality than one you normally associate with film (granted, yes, there was that star turn in Finding Nemo and let's not forget about Mr. Wrong), but I thought that the talk show host did a fantastic job last night. Dressed in a gorgeous red velvet pantsuit (accented with some white shoes), Ellen reminded the assemblage that they were there to celebrate the nominees, for whom this was a "make or break" evening. "I cannot imagine what you people are going through," she deadpanned.
Oscar host is not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination, yet I felt that Ellen kept it entertaining and engaging and the laughs coming. (Loved the bit about the diversity of the night, including Steve Carell.) She was affable, witty, and self-effacing, and her opening monologue was not only hysterical but put the focus on the affair at hand. No movie-style montages in which she inserted herself, no Oscar night song medley featuring the names and titles of the nominees.
No, Ellen did what she does best: talk. Her gift of gab was a welcome addition to the proceedings and a reminder of, yes, the diversity of the evening itself. What other show can proclaim a lesbian host, nominees from around the globe, Latinos, African-Americans, and Asians all coming together? (Hell, what other show would feature a rousing standing ovation for Al Gore?)
Hosting the Oscars may have been a dream come true for Ellen (the second woman ever, after Whoopi Goldberg, to host the Academy Awards), but it was also a dream come true for me: to actually sit and enjoy the award show for the first time in years.
And, in the end, doesn't that make us all winners?
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Jace is an LA-based television development and acquisitions junior exec who watches way too much television for his own good and would love a TiVo for every room in the house. (He’s halfway there.) His blog, Televisionary, can be found at televisionary.blogspot.com.