This was a tough year to host the Oscars. It was a year when all the favorites won and when there’s no surprises, we viewers look to the rest of the show to stay entertained. And if we looked there, what we saw would have been lacking.
This year’s Oscars weren’t as bad as the Anne Hathaway/James Franco hosted debacle of a few years back, but I don’t know if that was because this year’s show WAS better or if it was Ellen DeGeneres’ inherent likability that made it seem like it was. But a lot of Ellen’s bits were soft. But then again, when your killer running gag was ordering pizza for the superstars audience, you didn’t have much to work with to start with.
Ellen’s other “celebrities as regular people” gag that worked much better, was the group selfie. Hosts taking camera phone pictures with the celebrities in the audience has become old hat, but Ellen’s kicking it up a level was one of the highlights of the show. You had the elite of Hollywood, owners of Oscars, nominations and/or great box office receipts–and Lupita Nyong’o’s date–all contorting to try and get in the picture. I groaned when the bit began, but was charmed by the time it ended.
But on the whole, the telecast was bumpy and poorly produced. One noticeable area the show was painful to watch was during the repeated vocal stumbling coming from presenters throughout the whole show. It got to such a point that viewers on social media jokingly wondered if the flubs were cause by bad teleprompters or a good open bar.
But neither a bad teleprompter or a good open bar could excuse the worse flub of the night, John Travolta’s complete and utter mangling of Idina Menzel’s name:
Jazz Traveltini, as I will be calling Travolta from now on, knew he completely whiffed on the name. But that isn’t enough to garner sympathy from me. It’s not like they don’t rehearse these things. If Jazz just spent ten seconds going over the script instead of doing whatever he was doing, he wouldn’t have introduce Menzel as “Adele Dazim,” a name I hope Idina uses to check into hotels anonymously for the rest of her life.
While that was the nadir of the show in my opinion, the highlight was for me was Bill Murray’s tribute to Harold Ramis during his presenting the award for Best Cinematography. When all the nominees were announced, Murray quickly added, “Oh, we forgot one. Harold Ramis for Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, and Groundhog Day.” It was a tribute that brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye, and was another reason why the legendary status applied to Murray is justified.
Another high point of the show was that we got to see another member inducted into exclusive EGOT club. When Robert Lopez won the Oscar for Best Song for “Let It Go,” he became the twelfth member of the club, adding his Oscar to the Emmys (which he won for The Wonder Pets), Grammy (which he won for the original cast recording from Book of Mormon) and Tonys ( which he won for Avenue Q and Book of Mormon) already had won. The other members of the club? Richard Rogers, Helen Hayes, Rita Moreno, John Gielgud, Audrey Hepburn, Marvin Hamlisch, Jonathan Tunick, Mel Brooks, Mike Nichols, Whoopi Goldberg, and Scott Rudin. Pretty heady company.
But overall, the show wasn’t the best that could have offered us. The bad, in my opinion, outweighed the good.