TV Review: 86th Annual Academy Awards

ABC aired the 86th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday, March 2, at 8:30 p.m. ET. Ellen DeGeneres returned as host of the Oscars for the second time—first hosting in 2007. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

“In that respect, DeGeneres felt much like a throwback to the old days – when Bob Hope or Johnny Carson handled those chores – relying on the movies, and whatever spontaneity the recipients could muster, to make the show memorable or (more often) forgettable.”
—Brian Lowry, Variety

“Since this year everybody seemed to predict the exact same Oscar winners, ruining office pools and Oscar parties across the country, you might think there would be no surprises at the 86th annual Academy Awards. But you would be wrong. Who would have predicted that it would have been so boring, so long, so self-involved and driven sideways into a ditch by, of all people, the beloved Ellen DeGeneres as host?”
—Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

“It was a long, disjointed ceremony, and what was fun and likely to endure came entirely from the winners and their speeches, like Lupita N'Yongo telling the audience, ‘No matter where you're from, your dreams are valid,’ or even improvised bits of introduction, like Bill Murray paying tribute to his late, often-estranged collaborator Harold Ramis.”
—Alan Sepinwall, HitFix

“As a TV show, last night’s was not an exciting Academy Awards. It was not very risk-taking or memorable, and I’d have a hard time coming up with a line from the host you’re likely to remember and quote in years to come, or maybe even tomorrow.”
—James Poniewozik, Time

“The preternaturally congenial DeGeneres was so intent on establishing herself as the anti-Seth to the live audience — ‘let's try to make this all about you,’ she said early with more sincerity than sarcasm — that she seemed to forget she was at the helm of a famously unwieldy live television show."
—Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times