Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

It's odd that comedians are so anxious to accept Oscar hosting duties, thus making themselves the figurehead of a show that's always brushed off as lugubrious, overlong, and never terribly entertaining. My A.V. Club colleagues and I laughed our asses off at Jon Stewart's fine performance last year, but woke the next morning to find withering reviews from most of TV critics. Ellen Degeneres seems like a fine choice—funny, self-deprecating, not controversial but not unrespected, either—but I'm sure she'll get razzed no matter how well she does.

Errol Morris' interviews with all the nominees is crisp and funny. I look forward to the eight-hour DVD that shows each individual entry in full. Morris supposedly worked up to the last possible second putting it together, but it's a nicely structured and vivid acknowledgement of the honorees.

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Ellen doesn't seem inclined to mock this self-congratulatory, indulgent ritual, which is a little unfortunate. She keeps it safe, save maybe for acknowledging that Al Gore won the popular vote. Such diversity— Steve Carrell! I wish these jokes were memorable in some way, but I think the intent behind hiring Ellen was to not be memorable, if that makes any sense.

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