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.

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.