Oscars 2014: critics give Ellen DeGeneres mixed reviews

The Oscars host seemed a safe choice but critical reaction was mixed, with accusations of 'boring, wince-inducing' moments

• Video: how Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres took star-studded snap

Critics have delivered a decidedly mixed verdict on Ellen DeGeneres' performance as Oscars host. While some praised the comic as a safe pair of hands in the wake of Seth MacFarlane's controversial stint last year, others panned the ceremony as a listless, over-long affair.

The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman delivered an excoriating verdict, with his review's headline describing the broadcast as a "flop". He wrote: "Who would have predicted that [this year's Oscars] would have been so boring, so long, so self-involved and driven sideways into a ditch by, of all people, the beloved Ellen DeGeneres as host?"

"As a television event, [it] was more like an endurance test. It was a turgid affair, badly directed, poorly produced and featuring an endless string of either tired or wince-inducing moments by DeGeneres, who, by the last 30 or so minutes, seemed to have given up entirely and imploded into herself."

Deadline's Lisa De Moraes was roundly in agreement. "When tonight's disjointed show finally ended … DeGeneres had reminded us she's likable as all get out," she wrote. "But her improvised bits did not work so well – Amy Poehler and Tina Fey did it much better at the Golden Globes."

The Guardian was kinder, but also unimpressed: "She was warm. She was funny. She was likable. But, unlike Seth MacFarlane, she was forgettable."

On the other side of the fence, Slate's Willa Paskin described DeGeneres' performance as "a low-key reaction to MacFarlane and even Hathaway-Franco and the Academy's every other year interest in going in a riskier direction". She added: "Ellen is not an offensive persona; she is safe hands. And if her performance was surprisingly, maybe even overly sly, she made sure to camouflage it very well. She started slowly – opening with literally a joke about the weather – and then, from a certain perspective, proceeded to affably spend the night changing costumes and ordering famous people pizza, while never taking a clear shot at anyone other than Liza Minnelli."

Finally, USA's Today's Robert Bianco delivered a firm thumbs up. "It was the second time hosting the Academy Awards for Ellen DeGeneres, whose first stint as host in 2007 was one of the decade's best," he opined. "It was the second time producing for Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, who had a slightly bumpy start last year thanks to an off-key hosting job by Seth MacFarlane.

"And there's the lesson. Choose a better host, you get a better show. Choose a really good host, as DeGeneres proved to be Sunday, and you get the best Oscar broadcast since, well, the last time she hosted."


Ben Child

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Ellen DeGeneres and Oscars stars give pizza delivery man $1000 tip

Ellen DeGeneres leads whip-round that nets large sum for man who unknowingly delivered food for celebrities on live TV

Ben Child

04, Mar, 2014 @10:41 AM

Article image
Oscars 2014: Ellen DeGeneres hints at Academy racism in opening monologue

The Oscars host ended her monologue by saying there were two possibilities in today's ceremony – that 12 Years a Slave wins best picture, or that 'you're all racists'

Catherine Shoard

03, Mar, 2014 @1:57 AM

Article image
Ellen DeGeneres' Oscars selfie smashes Obama retweet record on Twitter

Host of 86th Academy Awards sees what she calls the "best photo ever" – an image costarring Hollywood's finest – soar past president's Twitter record

Caspar Llewellyn Smith

03, Mar, 2014 @4:05 AM

Article image
Ellen DeGeneres: The Oscars host who came out of the cold

The US talkshow host and comedian has overcome adversity to become a bona fide American superstar and a household name

Ben Walters

01, Mar, 2014 @3:33 PM

Article image
Oscars 2014: Ellen DeGeneres' selfie and the best of the rest
After Ellen DeGeneres sent Twitter into meltdown with her all-star selfie, here are the pick of the holding-up-mobile-phone pics of Oscar night

03, Mar, 2014 @10:35 AM

Article image
Oscars 2014 critics' reaction: 'Maybe it's churlish to expect bangs, whizzes and fireworks' – video review

A sleep-deprived Xan Brooks, Catherine Shoard and Henry Barnes comment on an Oscars night that went exactly as predicted and felt a little flat

Xan Brooks, Catherine Shoard and Henry Barnes

03, Mar, 2014 @10:44 AM

Article image
Ellen DeGeneres to host Oscars in 2014

This will be second time hosting for the daytime talkshow star who will follow on from Seth MacFarlane's savaged 2013 stint

Amanda Holpuch in New York

02, Aug, 2013 @4:59 PM

Article image
Cate Blanchett wins best actress Oscar for Blue Jasmine

Cate Blanchett has won the Oscar for best actress for her role in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine

Xan Brooks

03, Mar, 2014 @4:44 AM

Article image
James Franco: I invented Oscars selfie

Actor-director claimed he got there before Ellen DeGeneres, taking multiple selfies during 2011 co-hosting session

Andrew Pulver

18, Mar, 2014 @8:53 AM

Article image
Matthew McConaughey wins best actor Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey has won the best actor Oscar for his role as a dying cowboy in Dallas Buyers Club

Xan Brooks

03, Mar, 2014 @4:51 AM