Saturday, September 09, 2006

Ellen vs. Jon

Ellen DeGeneres was just chosen to be the host of the 2007 Oscars. This follows what many critics said was a poor job last year by Jon Stewart, the host of the Daily Show. Among the many criticism of Mr. Stewart was that he was not political enough. I fail to see how Ellen solves that problem.

Among the many problems the Oscars telecast has, is its length. But the host has very little control over that. He or she can't whisk Halle Berry or Gwyneth Paltrow away when they start on their 12 minute long crying jag. The host can't give the hurry-up sign to the President of the Academy when their speech indicates why they are the President and not someone who is actually reguarly in front of the camera. There are 6, and only 6, awards the general public wants to see: Best Actor and Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Director, and Best Film. All the others are just filler until those names are read.

I thought Jon Stewart did a fine job last year, but his problem may have been what attracted the producers to him in the first place: his sardonic wit. Look, no one likes to be made fun of, especially Hollywood stars who are being "honored" during an awards show. But you have to laugh at yourself sometimes. How many times during last year's broadcast did the camera cut to Joaquin Phoenix to see him staring there stoically? See Steve Martin and his hosting performance a few years ago. See Chris Rock too. Steve Martin got asked to host twice, Rock only once, and both weren't exactly cuddly (Martin took potshots at Russell Crowe his first time hosting).

So Ellen is the safe host. She's cute and nonoffensive. I love her stand up, and I can't comment on her talk show, as I haven't seen enough of it. Chances are funny dances will be had. The Academy really wants to go back to the days of Billy Crystal and Bob Hope, people who have wide mass appeal and no hope of ever being nominated. Will I watch this year's Oscars? Sure. Will I laugh? Absolutely. But the Academy, who can't even seem to get the right movies nominated sometimes, has to be less schizo. Either you want cutting edge or you want safe. And you can't damn one and praise the other when one side doesn't work out.

Hopefully, you can find the link to the press release below:
Oscars Press Release


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