Oscars overindulged this year, as if it had all the time in the world

03.03.14 4 years ago


Oscars overindulged this year, as if it had all the time in the world
“By reverting to basic awards-show conviviality and glamour,” says Hank Stuever, “the show got slightly more classy, but it also overindulged in its reverential Hollywood worship – weighing down the first half with meaningless clip montages, telling us about budding filmmaker awards and taking care of other industry-supporting business that the Academy likes to conduct but nobody likes to watch. At 31 / 2 hours, the show ran about as long as usual; it just seemed much longer. The orchestra appeared to have given up on rushing acceptance speeches with wrap-it-up cues. It was a show that spent the night acting as though it had all the time in the world – tacking on Bette Midler singing 'Wind Beneath My Wings' after the 'In Memoriam' reel instead of during it; the perfect song to accompany the show”s sense of bloat.”

Ellen flopped, and the Oscars became an endurance test
“As a television event, this year's Oscars was more like an endurance test,” says Tim Goodman. “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.”

It was the best Oscar broadcast since the last time Ellen hosted
“DeGeneres's task was not an easy one,” says Robert Bianco: “An Oscar host has to entertain viewers at home, many of whom want to see stars mocked – along with the actors in the hall – most of whom don't want to be mocked. Go too far pleasing one side, and you lose the other. That's a tough balancing act, but DeGeneres has mastered it. The key is that she both exudes and creates goodwill. The crowd stays with her because they know that while jabs will be thrown, no blood will be drawn.”

The Oscar telecast is “un-screw-upable”
“The Academy Awards telecast was too long,” says Matt Zoller Seitz. “It didn't spend its time wisely. The repartee was weak. There were too many montages and too many moments where the stars, the host included, seemed full of themselves. And it was still awesome. Why? Probably because the Oscars telecast is by its nature un-screw-upable.”

Ellen seemed to be doing an “SNL” Kate McKinnon impression of herself
She really fell in love with her cuteness as the night went on, says David Wiegand. “She gathered a bunch of stars to take a group selfie, whose retweets then crashed Twitter,” he says. “She ordered pizza for the audience and spent time collecting money for it in Pharrell Williams' hat. As the hour grew later and later, she became the living, boring embodiment of overstaying one's welcome.”

Ellen made the Oscars cool again with her Twitter-breaking selfie
“Thanks to the record-breaking Oscar picture that temporarily shut down Twitter,” says Marcus James Dixon, “people are talking about the Academy Awards in a way they haven't done in years, even decades. Our nation's youth obviously had a lot to do with it, as they immediately began tweeting and Facebooking the superstar photo to friends, followers, family members and everyone in between, making it the most shared picture in Twitter history by the time the final credits rolled.”

Ellen was a throwback to Johnny Carson and Bob Hope
Ellen, says Brian Lowry, “is in many ways one of the few talents suited to this sort of steadfastly middle-of-the-road take on the Oscars – able to joke around with celebrities from June Squibb to Liza Minnelli to Jennifer Lawrence, without ever coming across as mean-spirited. That”s as it should be, since there”s certainly enough nastiness and snark to go around. Let the Twitter-verse buzz about Kim Novak, John Travolta”s garbled introduction of Menzel or Midler”s clipped comment after her performance. Inside the Dolby, let the good (OK, maybe just inoffensive) times roll.”

Producers “over-corrected” for Seth MacFarlane
“The preternaturally congenial DeGeneres was so intent on establishing herself as the anti-Seth to the live audience – 'let's try to make this all about you,' she said early with more sincerity than sarcasm – that she seemed to forget she was at the helm of a famously unwieldy live television show,” says Mary McNamara.

Claim: Ellen”s pizza joke took up 12 minutes and 54 seconds of the Oscars
That”s according to Rainn Wilson, who apparently timed it. PLUS: Did the pizza guy get the tip, and was the pizza any good?

Was Ellen doing a Stephen Colbert impression?
Like Colbert does to Republicans, Ellen seemed to be casting herself as an Oscar believer and insider who was subtly mocking the whole event.

The whole broadcast was like a party-sized order of cheese pizza
“You weren”t going to go to your grave craving it,” says James Poniewozik. “It was a little bland. But nobody actively hates it, and at least there was a lot of it. A whoooooole lot; while the broadcast ran an unfortunately standard three and a half hours, it felt slack and slowly paced by the producers.”

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