Ellen Degeneres to Host the 86th Academy Awards


Ellen DeGeneres chosen to host the 86th annual Academy Awards for the second time. Image: abcnews.go.com

Michael Williams

The biggest movie stars gather annually to celebrate the past year’s achievement in film. Amongst all of the red carpets, beautiful gowns and scandalous after-parties, there are awards given out somewhere in between. The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, are the most prominent during the awards show season.

Audiences have grown more anxious during the past years to find out the ceremony’s host rather than the actual Oscar nominations. It was announced on Aug. 2 that Ellen DeGeneres, daytime talk-show host and comedian, will be hosting the 86th Annual Academy Awards on Mar. 2, 2014. This will be her second time hosting the Oscars, as she also hosted back in 2007.

Savannah McCauley, a sophomore at the University, exclaimed, “I love Ellen! She kicks butt and shows that being an entertainer is more than just being super glamorous.

Another sophomore at the University, Greg Mooradian, agrees. “Ellen is an incredible choice to host the Oscar’s. Her brand of humor is universal- I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who doesn’t find Ellen freakin’ hilarious.

University students love DeGeneres, but this is only a portion of the demographics that The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences attempts to entertain each year. The host of the highly-anticipated Oscars has an impact on the demographics of the ceremony’s viewers, which makes choosing the host even more important.

The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences has not selected family-friendly and audience-approved hosts for the past couple of ceremonies. Last year was comedian Seth McFarlane, whose infamous comments garnered him widespread criticism. In one of the several absurd comments he made, he described the Oscar-nominated film Django Unchained as “the story of a man fighting to get back his woman, who’s been subjected to unspeakable violence — or, as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie.”

McFarlane continued the night with an array of sexist jokes that did not settle with audiences at home. In a musical number titled, “We Saw Your Boobs”, he named actress after actress who has done nudity in film including Meryl Streep in Silkwood, Anne Hathaway in Brokeback Mountain and Kate Winslet in Titanic, The Reader and Little Children. He failed to grasp however, that this was done in the art of acting. The sexist comments were McFarlane’s main material for the night, and they definitely got out of hand.

University sophomore Savannah McCauley described McFarlane’s humor as “harsh and unnecessary”.

On the contrary, Greg Mooradian, also a University sophomore, said, “Seth McFarlane is an incredible comedian. However, I feel his audience is more limited than Ellen’s.”

During the 85th annual ceremony, Captain Kirk, portrayed by William Shatner, explained to McFarlane from a futuristic point of view of all the things he was doing wrong and would regret when the Oscars hit the newspapers in the morning. Captain Kirk was right. McFarlane would have been better off hosting the 85th Annual Academy Awards behind a teddy bear named Ted.

In 2012, Billy Crystal hosted the Oscars. He was good, but as this was his tenth time hosting, audiences have grown tired of his hosting routine. In 2011, the unlikely duo of Anne Hathaway and James Franco hosted and also received a lot of criticism from audiences. Between the outrageous changing of outfits and no emotion resonating from Franco, the two did not have a positive hosting gig.

Jamie Rose Bukowski, a University junior, stated, “I couldn’t be more excited to have Ellen hosting! I think everything she touches is gold! I won’t lie, I didn’t like Seth McFarlane… I did enjoy Anne Hathaway and James Franco though. I like the variety in hosts because I feel like it keeps things fresh.”

The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences has not gotten consistent positive reviews in the last couple of years. For the 86th Annual Academy Awards, they are bringing back DeGeneres who hosted the Oscars back in 2007. She is a comedian like Seth McFarlane, but hopefully her lighter take on comedy will resonate with audiences better.

There is projected to be a lot of diversity this year at the Oscars, especially in the ‘Best Actor’ category with possible nominations for Forest Whitaker in The Butler, Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave and Michael B. Jordan in Fruitvale Station, all of whom are black actors. As DeGeneres is openly-gay, hopefully she will be able to embrace and truly understand the diversity in this year’s upcoming ceremony, while still making it an enjoyable evening.

“Choosing a host is always hard because it’s how they [the Academy] want to “perceive” the show as that year,” explained University student McCauley. “I think that’s also tough because each year it’s different especially when it comes to the movies and the feel of the whole ceremony.”

Mooradian, another University student, concludes, “I think the Academy has been successful in choosing hosts and that they will continue to pick incredible hosts!”

Be sure to tune into ABC on Sunday, Mar. 2, 2014 for the 86th Annual Academy Awards.