For the third time in her career, Ellen DeGeneres was asked to host a Hollywood awards ceremony after a tragedy — this time the tragedy being Seth MacFarlane’s Hollywood-savaging Oscars hosting of a year ago. Ellen hosted the twice-delayed Emmy Awards after the September 2001 terrorist attacks and, four years later, after Hurricane Katrina. Tonight she hosted the first Academy Awards since MacFarlane opened the Oscars with “We Saw Your Boobs” and followed it up with a crack about John Wilkes Booth (rather than nominee Daniel Day-Lewis) being the actor who best got into President Lincoln’s head.
“For those of you watching us around the world, it’s been a tough couple of days for us. It has been raining. We’re fine – thank you for your prayers,” DeGeneres joked as she opened tonight’s ABC broadcast — a nod to her deft hosting of the aforementioned Emmy broadcasts, including that twice-postponed ’01 Emmys, which she’d opened with the observation: “What would bother the Taliban more than seeing a gay woman in a suit surrounded by Jews” to gales of laughter.
Related: OSCARS: Deadline’s Live Blog
When tonight’s disjointed show finally ended, a minute or two into Monday morning for about a third of the country’s TV viewers who live on the East Coast, DeGeneres had reminded us she’s likeable as all get out, but her improvised bits did not work so well – Amy Poehler and Tina Fey did it much better at the Golden Globes. She’d called Liza Minnelli “sir”, complimented “him” on his great Liza Minnelli impersonation; shamed Harvey Weinstein into putting $200 bucks into Pharrell’s hat, which she was passing around to collect money to pay for the product-placement pizza she ordered for the A-listers in the front rows; pocketed and used best supporting actress winner Lupita Nyong’o’s pizza-collection contribution (a lip gloss); and maybe crashed Twitter shortly after piling about a dozen celebrities into one selfie during the broadcast in an attempt to break the record for most re-tweets (it was pushing 2 million by the time the trophy show was over, causing the Motion Picture Academy to apologize for contributing to the Twitter traffic jam).