DeGeneres Joins Long List of Comedians Who Have Hosted Academy Awards
By Tuesday Knight
It started with George Jessel at the 9th annual Academy Awards and hasn't stopped since. From Bob Burns to Bob Hope, Jack Benny to Jack Lemon and everyone in between, it seems comedians have become the host of choice for the Oscars. And why not? After all, awards presentations can be a little stuffy and it certainly helps to have a comedian to move things along.
This year's host has had something of a career resurrection. Since her sitcom Ellen was cancelled, Ellen DeGeneres's career seemed to be over, or at least out of the public eye. She then landed on the talk show circuit, where her self-depreciating and quirky humor has quickly made her a daytime television fan favorite.
And so we wait with baited breath to see if this year's Oscars will be as funny as last year's, where Chris Rock kept things lively with commentary on many of the stars in attendance. The Academy Awards producers wanted to take the show's comedic bits into the 21st century, and Rock more than met their expectations.
In one particularly hilarious part of his monologue, Rock asked the audience, "Have you ever seen a movie so bad that you questioned the star's finances? Saw this movie Boat Trip the other day and I immediately send Cuba Gooding a check for $80." This was followed shortly after by a commentary on holding out for the right actor, such as Denzel Washington, in order to make a successful film. "Denzel's a fine actor. He would never make Pootie Tang. After Denzel saw "Pootie Tang" he sent me a check for $80."
The change was a stark departure from the other comedians hosting the show over the last decade, namely Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg. While their comedy was appropriate for the show, many felt it was a little on the tame side.
Whether this year's show keeps that tradition alive, or as with last year, stays a little more cutting edge, is anyone's guess. DeGeneres is a brilliant comedienne who commands an audience quite well. She can be sharp while seemingly subdued. If her previous standup performances are any indication, it should be an interesting night.
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