The good news: 12 Years A Slave won for Best Picture. Luipta won for Best Supporting Actress. (Unfortunately that spawned headlines that read “Slave Actress Lupita Nyoung’o Wins.” People, please think before you type.) Matthew McConaughey perhaps finally banished the shadow of Woodner with his Best Actor win, and Frozen‘s “Let it Go” got Best Song. The bad news: Ellen hosted again.
I want to state up front that I do not hold last night against Ellen Degeneres. After her initial rejection by the American public in the early 1990s, Ellen has made her career comeback on the premise that she is innocuously pleasant. Rosie was “the Queen of Nice” on her talk show. Ellen is “The Queen of Pleasant.” After the horrific disaster that was Seth MacFarlane last year, the Oscar producers were looking exactly that. Ellen delivered, in spades.
The problem is, it made for a boring introduction monologue. Safe jokes about the Dern family. Safe jokes about Jennifer Lawrence tripping. (It’s a good thing J.Law did not win tonight. The backlash against her and her klutzy persona started to bubble up last night.) Then there was an extremely questionable joke about Liza as a transsexual. Not to mention a borderline bad taste joke that Somali sounds like Sommelier. It may not have been in bad-bad taste, but it was certainly not one that played well outside the room, reminding us all that these are the 1%.
At the very end of the nine minutes, Ellen suddenly remembered that to be funny, jokes had to have bite. So she tossed off a pair, and then raced off stage left before anyone could think about them too much.