Why Ellen Was the Best Oscars Host Since Billy Crystal

Originally posted on Variety:

Ellen DeGeneres will go down in history as the first Oscars host to Tweet a group selfie on the job, but she was also acted like she was among friends inside the Dolby Theatre on Sunday night. After last year’s disastrous emceeing from Seth MacFarlane (who outraged viewers and Academy members with a song about boobs), DeGeneres followed the Billy Crystal — and before that, Johnny Carson — template of staging wholesome hijinks at Hollywood’s annual celebration of movies.

More relaxed than when she hosted the Oscars seven years ago, DeGeneres was a natural at not only delivering zingers, but also keeping the audience awake throughout the lengthy telecast. A lot of her best material dealt directly with the in-house audience. Her decision to feed the actors with a surprise pizza delivery wasn’t just a slapstick gag, although the hit worked on that level. It was also a useful bribe to get the crowd on…

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