Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Ellen Degeneres is hosting The Oscars

Hang on. They aren’t until March. Right?

Sat, Aug 3, 2013, 18:47


The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences really have, this year, decided to generate Oscar chatter absurdly early. We all know what to say about the choice of likeable Ellen Degeneres for the prime hosting job in MovieLand. The decision does look a lot like an apology for that whole Seth Macfarlane controversy. It was a silly situation. Ampas hired Seth to do what he does. When he then did what he does, all kinds of people pressed their hands to their cheeks like the distraught subject of Edvard Munch’s The Scream. There’s no point hiring Seth is you don’t want a few jokes that rattle one’s decent liberal sympathies.

Now best know in the US as the host of a soft-ball daytime chat-show, Degeneres — who did a very decent job in 2007 — will pacify viewers right across the socio-political spectrum. As a standard bearer for gay Hollywood, she is unlikely to meander into the borderline-racist, borderline-misogynist territory within which Seth Macfarlane operates. As a slightly cosy figure, she is unlikely to do the sort of “blue” material that so enrages Republican America.

So, that’s all straight forward enough. Here’s the question that nags at me. What the heck are the authorities doing announcing this news now?  Macfarlane was unveiled in October. Billy Crystal, host in 2011, was revealed as host in November. And, coming our way on March 2nd, the Oscars are arriving later than in any year since 2009.

What seems to be happening is that Ampas are doing their best to extend Oscar season into late summer. I am not the only person playing along. Here’s Rope of Silicon’s predictions for the Oscar nominations. What are you up to, Rope? There are some wise words here. But Bruce Dern as best supporting actor for Nebraska? I have seen Nebraska and there is no way that Paramount are going to promote Dern for best supporting actor. He’s inked in for a lead nomination. And he could well win. I mean…

Oh Lord.  I am into this already. I can only apologise. Anyway, well done Ellen.