“I don’t know that my family nor my soul could take it,” Neil Patrick Harris told The Huffington Post about hosting the Oscars. “It’s a beast. It was fun to check off the list, but for the amount of time spent and the understandable opinionated response, I don’t know that it’s a delightful balance to do every year or even again.”
Neil Patrick Harris is the latest casualty tossed to the hungry beast – the wonderful modern invention of having a whole bunch of people tucked neatly behind their computer screens given the opportunity to have their collective opinions known. This has become an annual tradition that only a few hosts have managed to escape from unscathed. It is not too far off from how the Romans used to entertain the crowds in that each time some poor soul is tossed in the ring and subsequently savaged by a hate-united choir.
Some celebrities enter the ring willingly, lapping up every drop of attention, negative or otherwise. The Kardashians come to mind. They really don’t seem to mind that people are saying nasty things about them continually – as long as they are being talked about. I’d put all of the contestants of The Bachelor in that category. Keep the hate coming, folks. Gwyneth Paltrow has become the object of united hatred for being — um — successful at her job and maintaining her body to the tune of two hours of hard core exercise a day. The only upside to being the object of scorn? At least people don’t feel sorry for you. Once that happens, the hate-choir ceases and the defense pieces begin, as I guess I’m doing right this minute with Neil Patrick Harris.
Ellen DeGeneres did not too badly last year with her hosting. Part of that was the ratings jump. She was funny and the show was an exciting one. With a boring show like this year’s where the winners are so ho-hum you have nothing left to do but start attacking the host. DeGeneres’ biggest crime, apparently, was her willing endorsement of some phone product creating the Selfie of the Year, giving rise to a slew of those kinds of selfies. The horror, the horror.
Remember poor old whatshis name, Seth MacFarlane who incurred so much scorn that I’m pretty sure it also sunk his pretty funny A Million Ways to Die in the West. The worm had turned on MacFarlane after the Oscars.
I’m also fairly certain that the Anne Hathaway hate began around the time she hosted the Oscars. James Franco, the pink dress, the tunes – it was kind of a catastrophe as I recall but it’s hard to remember back that far.
Hugh Jackman did okay in one of the better received Oscars — at least I don’t remember any vicious hate spewing his way after that. Who ever knows why the worm turns and the crowd starts throwing tomatoes. Is it that people secretly hate and resent celebrities anyway? Is it that we all wish they would fail miserably like the rest of us? Is it that we can’t wait for them to get fat and get old and be unfunny and embarrass themselves because then that means we’re a little bit better off. With their fancy cars and their fancy houses and the parties and the pretty clothes and the money and the yachts and the supermodels and the …you get the picture. We love them. We hate them. We throw them away. We hold on to them desperately. We shame them. We celebrate them.
I don’t know who has the stones anymore to be next year’s Oscar host. Who would want to risk that kind of embarrassment in front of a judgmental, cruel, nit-picky, hungry beast? Harris will emerge fine from it all, I hope, I think. So far no one’s career has really been totally ruined. They just have to stand there while the apes and the monkeys fling the shit for a while until they feel better.
Okay, so maybe I’m being a tad dramatic. Maybe it doesn’t read as so horrible from the inside out. Harris did say this about the telecast:
I didn’t keep up with it obsessively, but it was interesting to see just what people thought landed and didn’t. It’s so difficult for one who’s simply watching the show to realize just how much time and concession and compromise and explanation has gone into almost every single thing. Every joke. Wording of joke. Placement of joke. Canceling of joke. Embellishment for just one line. And I’m not saying that to defend everything I said as if it was the absolute best choice, but it’s also an award show, and you’re powering through 14 acts filled with 20 plus awards. So my job was to try and keep things as light and specific to this year’s set of films as possible. And if people are critical of that, it’s a big giant platform, so I would assume that they would be.
I was glad we got through it, and I thought that those in the audience at the Dolby [Theatre] seemed to be enjoying themselves more as the show went on, when I was told that the opposite would be true. I was told that as the room fills, with you know it’s four-fifths of the room didn’t win, and you get further into the award giving they get less enthusiastic and less excited. And I felt while we were doing it that people were enjoying themselves more and more, so for that I’m happy.