Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres will host the 86th Academy Awards next year on March 2, 2014. The pick is a natural fit. DeGeneres is popular, likeable and experienced, having previously hosted the ceremony in 2007.
But more important, her presence will appease women and gays while dousing the Academy’s reputation as “an old white man’s club.” And that’s not the opinion of some stodgy conservative group – it comes right from the The Hollywood Reporter’s awards analyst.
According to Scott Feinberg of Hollywood Reporter (THR) the Academy’s going back to DeGeneres is calculated: “What better way could there be for the Academy to distance itself from offensive comments about women and gays than to hire the world's most famous and popular lesbian entertainer to be its public face to millions of people around the world?”
DeGeneres rose as an attractive pick not only because she comes across as “funny,” “safe,” “familiar,” and “savvy” but also because she, “helps to counter the perception,” The Hollywood Reporter noted, “that the Academy is a club of old white men.”
In other words, Seth Macfarlane fell short of an ideal host last year. As Feinberg wrote, Macfarlane “behaved in a way that many felt was misogynistic,” from chanting about Oscar-nominated actresses in a “We Saw Your Boobs” song to suggesting that 9-year-old best actress nominee Quvenzhane Wallis would one day have sex with George Clooney.
Just a year before that, Oscars producer Brett Ratner ran afoul of Hollywood sensibilities when he resigned from the production of the 85th Academy Awards after making inappropriate gay remarks.