Ellen DeGeneres brings pizza and deadpan affability to Oscars

Mon Mar 3, 2014 2:13am EST
 
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comedienne and talk show star Ellen DeGeneres returned as Oscar host on Sunday, bringing her deadpan affability, and free pizza, to the 86th Academy Awards show while still poking fun at Hollywood royalty.

In a back-to-basics approach to a live, 3 1/2-hour telecast that largely eschewed sophisticated clip montages and lavish song-and-dance productions, DeGeneres displayed her flair for playing informality for laughs.

Shrugging off complaints from some critics that the breezy levity of her first Oscar stint in 2007 was at odds with the Academy Awards' traditional sense of decorum, DeGeneres forayed into the Dolby Theatre audience several times during Sunday's show to mingle with the film industry elite, as she did seven years before.

She handed a faux consolation prize - a pair of lottery tickets - to "American Hustle" star Bradley Cooper after he lost his bid for best supporting actor; took a "selfie" snapshot with a group of nominees that was swiftly re-tweeted more than 2 million times during the show; and even ushered a pizza delivery guy into the auditorium to hand out slices to the stars, then called on producer Harvey Weinstein to pay the tip.

"No pressure, only a billion people are watching, whatever you feel is right," she shouted.

While mostly veering away from the ribald streak that marked Seth MacFarlane's widely panned, and far more provocative, stint as emcee last year, DeGeneres showed she was not above mocking the movie industry's biggest stars.

She zeroed in on supporting actress nominee, and last year's best actress winner, Jennifer Lawrence, recalling that the star famously tripped on the stairs to the stage on her way to accepting her Oscar in 2013.

DeGeneres also alluded to how Lawrence, 23, nominated for her role in "American Hustle," stumbled again on the red carpet on Sunday.   Continued...

 
Host Ellen Degeneres stands on stage at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson