Critics Grouch Over Oscar

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Sunday night's Oscar telecast received about a B-minus grade from TV critics. The Associated Press's Frazier Moore called host Ellen Degeneres "pleasant company" and the telecast itself "easygoing, comfortable and reliably unsurprising. That is, when it wasn't just dull." Tom Shales in the Washington Post applauded DeGeneres for "doing a crisp and unpretentious job" but remarked, "Virtually everything about the Oscarcast, except for a few mercifully brief features, was entirely, punishingly too long." Robert Bianco in USA Today also faulted the production for being "exceedingly pokey," but added, "A general aura of good feeling pervaded the evening, and much of it stemmed from the night's unfailingly sunny host, Ellen DeGeneres." Likewise, David Bianculli commented in the New York Daily News: "Ellen DeGeneres brought an easy, breezy informality to the show that turned out to be one of its biggest assets. When pacing seemed slow and every good new element was offset by a bad one, DeGeneres was a reliable, likable constant." Alessandra Stanley wrote in the New York Times: "The Academy Awards are the one night when Hollywood struts and preens as if nothing is bigger or more powerful than the movie business. Yet the selection of Ms. DeGeneres, the first daytime talk-show host to serve as the master of ceremonies, was a reaffirmation of television as the dominant water-cooler medium."



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