Oscars Host Ellen DeGeneres May Calm Waters After Seth MacFarlane
After Seth MacFarlane’s polarizing performance as this year’s Oscars host, producers are calling on a reassuring presence for the 2014 telecast, naming Ellen DeGeneres emcee of Hollywood’s biggest night.
DeGeneres, a syndicated talk-show personality with a huge following, also hosted the Academy Awards in 2007. She’s expected to bring a steadying hand to a telecast that faced heavy criticism in 2013. Though total viewership reached its highest point since 2010, MacFarlane drew a backlash from those who said that bits such as a parody song titled “We Saw Your Boobs” were offensive.
The selection of the openly gay DeGeneres will no doubt register as a sign of progress at a time when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is pushing for greater diversity. Earlier this week the group elected its first-ever African American board president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs. The deal for DeGeneres is believed to have come together quickly in recent days, though it is unclear how much Boone Isaacs was involved in the decision.
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DeGeneres broke the news Friday morning to her millions of Twitter followers. “It’s official,” she wrote. “I’m hosting the Oscars! I’d like to thank The Academy, my wife Portia and, oh dear, there goes the orchestra.”
She later quipped in a release from the motion picture academy that “I am so excited to be hosting the Oscars for the second time. You know what they say — the third time’s the charm,” echoing a joke she made in the 2007 telecast in which she told eight-time nominee Peter O’Toole that “third time’s the charm.”