Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres will host the 86th Academy Awards next year on March 2, 2014. The pick is a natural fit. DeGeneres is popular, likeable and experienced, having previously hosted the ceremony in 2007.
But more important, her presence will appease women and gays while dousing the Academy’s reputation as “an old white man’s club.” And that’s not the opinion of some stodgy conservative group – it comes right from The Hollywood Reporter’s awards analyst.
According to exit polling of the 2012 election, just 5 percent of voters who turned out were gay. Yet voters said their states should legalize same-sex marriage by 49 percent to 46 percent. Indeed, social issues like gay marriage and the media-concocted “war on women” probably gave President Obama his margin of victory.
Consider another figure: According to a May 2011 Gallup poll, most U.S. adults “estimate that 25 percent of Americans are” gay or lesbian. In reality, the number of people who identify themselves that way is just 3.4 percent, according to a Gallup survey released in October 2012. But it’s understandable that so many people might overestimate the number.
The PBS broadcast of the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize on October 30 was a festival of tributes to Ellen DeGeneres – which is fine, since she is quite talented comedically. But it wasn’t so much a tribute for the comedy as it was for her pioneering work promoting homosexuality.
For laughs, consult top producer Cappy McGarr, who insisted Ellen wasn’t picked for political reasons: “The Kennedy Center is apolitical. We have had so many people who have their own brand and type of humor. We don’t pick winners because of any advocacy they do. It is all about funny and a funny life.”
Tuesday’s Washington Post honored lesbian comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres for“A comic’s courage” to come out of the closet. So did the Kennedy Center people who selected her to win the Mark Twain Prize. She did not disappoint the liberals.
On the awards show (taped for PBS), she made a “sly nod toward Mitt Romney’s sentiments” with the joke, “Thank you, PBS. I’m so glad to be part of your final season.” She also told Politico Romney made her “very, very scared” for women for many reasons (on which she apparently didn't have the "courage" to elaborate):
Funny things that little kids say is one part of the mix of the Ellen DeGeneres show. On Thursday, she brought on young Rainer Muuss and his even younger brother Atticus to discuss presidential history. Rainer knows more about presidents than your usual kindergartner. Atticus was just on to be cute. He really loves President Martin Van Buren -- for the sideburns.
But Ellen's favorite part was undoubtedly young Rainer expressing his hope that Barack Obama wins re-election because Obama "said that men and men can marry each other and woman and woman can marry each other and I think that’s right." Thunderous applause and approval from DeGeneres followed. "I really like you," she said to laughs: (video and transcript below)
On this weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show, the Huffington Post's Howard Fineman actually said the most powerful and "unifying" media figures in the country today are "the daytime women talk show hosts. It's Oprah, Ellen and The View" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
For several decades, Hollywood has shown its overt support for homosexuality. Brokeback Mountain was nominated for Best Picture for its unabashedly sympathetic portrayal of a doomed gay relationship. Newt Gingrich’s half-sister officiated at a gay wedding on “Friends” in the 1990s. More recently, late night talk show host Conan O’Brian officiated at an actual gay wedding.
During an interview with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres on Tuesday's NBC "Today," co-host Ann Curry asked: "If you're standing up and saying things, no matter what people may say or what some people may judge, then why are you so popular and successful?" DeGeneres replied: "Beats me. Like they do know I'm gay, right? Like, I'm gay, and yet, you know, we can't pass a vote to have marriage equality."
Curry touted: "During the five months in 2008 when same-sex marriage was legal in California, Ellen tied the knot with her girlfriend, actress Portia DeRossi." Later, Curry said of DeGeneres: "...this she does know, there is too much judgment in the world. And buried within her humor is a lesson of acceptance."
Robert Wright, president of NBC from 1986 to 2007, has joined a list of Hollywood notables -- including Melissa Etheridge, David Geffen, Anne Hathaway, Jane Lynch, Eric McCormack, Mya, Martin Sheen, Lily Tomlin, and "Ellen & Portia DeGeneres" -- in signing a letter to President Obama urging his public support of federal recognition of "gay marriage."
We ask you now for your leadership on ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage -- an exclusion that harms millions of Americans each day. Whether to end discrimination in marriage is a question America has faced before, and faces again today. With so many Americans talking it through in heartfelt conversations, it is a question that calls for clarity from the President.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper's increasing crusade against any negative usage of the word "gay" is now reverberating in Hollywood. In an appearance Thursday on the talk show of Ellen DeGeneres, Cooper expressed astonishment that anyone would use "gay" with a negative connotation, and he'd even seen a movie trailer (which he didn't name) that committed this offense. E! Online reports:
Universal Studios executives have decided to replace a trailer for Vince Vaughn's new comedy, The Dilemma, after CNN newsman Anderson Cooper blasted it for its negative use of the word "gay."
"The teaser trailer for The Dilemma was not intended to cause anyone discomfort," the studio statement said. "In light of growing claims that the introduction to the trailer is insensitive, it is being replaced. A full trailer, which has been in the works for some time, will post online later today."
The offending line is Vaughn selling an electric muscle car: "Ladies and gentlemen, electric cars are gay. I mean, not homosexual gay, but you know, 'My parents are chaperoning the dance,' gay." It's a lame line. But it's hardly grist for the suicide hotline.
During a web-only interview with CBS's Katie Couric to promote her new role on "American Idol," comedienne Ellen DeGeneres went on a rant about our sexist culture that demands women look more attractive than men.
There's just one problem: DeGeneres is the face of Proctor and Gamble's famous makeup line CoverGirl. In fact, she even appeared in a well known commercial saying, "Inner beauty is important -- but not nearly as important as outer beauty."
Too bad a serious journalist like Couric didn't think to ask if DeGeneres's fans might get confused. Then again, The Perky One would have had to confront her own complicity in flouting short skirts on network news programs and giving condescending interviews to women like Sarah Palin.
Without regard to the obvious hypocrisy, Couric teed up the subject by asking if DeGeneres was concerned for women who "are so obsessed and worried and spend so much time thinking about their bodies." DeGeneres used the question to accuse American culture of a sexist double standard (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
On Dec. 4, the Australian actress Portia de Rossi, wife of Ellen DeGeneres, appeared on both ABC's "Good Morning America" and "The View" to promote her ABC sitcom ‘Better off Ted" ... well, supposedly. In reality, ABC simply offered de Rossi a soapbox to rant about gay rights.
During his interview with de Rossi, GMA correspondent Bill Weir called DeGeneres and de Rossi a "beautiful couple" and gushed, "Every time we see you two together the affection is still so obvious."
Weir then asked de Rossi a long-winded question about legalizing gay marriage, which included a prophecy of his own.
"And you're a testament for this sort of thing," Weir began, "and - I don't want to get too political on you but there probably will be a day when this is not a novelty - but when you see sort of the votes that happen - some setbacks politically - how do you think about that in your house?"
After much mocking by Ellen Degeneres about Chris Matthews' dancing abilities on his last appearance on her syndicated show, the "Hardball" host chatted with Degeneres, on Thursday's show, about the election of Barack Obama and actually grabbed a shot glass to toast his win with Ellen (audio excerpt here):
ELLEN DEGENERES: Amazing! And you must be thrilled? I mean what, what a moment.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well I am thrilled!
MATTHEWS, picking up shot glass: To Barack Obama!
DEGENERES, toasting: Yeah. To Barack Obama!
A little later in his interview segment, Matthews also took a different kind of shot, the verbal kind, against the outgoing administration:
In an interview with Victor Balta of Comcast.net, openly gay talk show host Ellen DeGeneres effusively praised Keith Olbermann's November 10 special comment denouncing the passage of Proposition 8 in California, maintaining the traditional definition of marriage:
I thought Keith Olbermann was so eloquent and so brilliant. I just thought that what he said is all that needs to be said. It really is just about following your heart and people paying attention to what the right thing is. (The movement) needs for people to not be ignorant.
It needs for people to open their minds and understand that it is a fundamental right: people need to be allowed to love who they want to love and marry who they want to marry. I don't know what it's going to take, but I have faith that people will realize that this is wrong.
DeGeneres has convinced herself that her on-air activism for homosexuality isn't "political" at all. When asked about any negative feedback for her activism, she declared:
While co-host Harry Smith described a Texas school allowing teachers to carry guns as "a controversial decision" on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, he teased an upcoming segment on Ellen DeGeneres marrying actress Portia de Rossi as simply exciting celebrity gossip: "And we have the wedding pictures from the marriage of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi. That happened over the weekend."
The Early Show covered the DeGeneres-de Rossi wedding on Friday and Monday as well, with no suggestion of it being controversial at all. On Monday, Chen declared: "And wedding bells. Comedian and talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres, ties the knot with her long-time partner. We'll have details about the wedding." Correspondent Michelle Gillen then reported: "The DeGeneres-de Rossi wedding is perhaps the highest profile same-sex marriage since California legalized such unions just over three months ago... In 1997, Degeneres became the first television star to come out publicly on her sitcom ‘The Ellen Show.’" At the end of Monday’s segment, Smith wondered: "The thing I'm curious about, she's been so public about it. Then why would you keep the ceremony so private?" Chen replied: "So you can sell it to People magazine for $4 million."
Is there something in the water at NBC that gives its TV talent restless leg?
MSNBC's Chris Matthews is the latest journo to bust a move, on the March 19 "Ellen DeGeneres" show.
Looks like colleague David Gregory has some fresh competition, but I'm confident the NBC White House correspondent has what it takes. After all, he can get down to anything from Hilary Duff to Mary J. Blige.
According to an email I've received from her campaign, the intrepid Hillary is venturing into the lion's den, with TV appearances scheduled tonight on Letterman and September 4 on the Ellen DeGeneres show. Daring stuff!
In any case, according to the email:
Ellen is soliciting questions from her viewers to ask of Hillary, and we want to turn it around on her. So if you have a question for Hillary to ask Ellen, submit it here.