It seems like, ever since the Oscars aired this past Sunday, all I’ve heard are endless complaints about how bad Neil Patrick Harris was as host. Most of these criticisms seem unfair to me, and some are just plain mystifying. How do you think he did?
I thought he was fine, frankly. Was he the best host in Oscar history? No, I don’t think he quite lived up to Johnny Carson’s tenure or Billy Crystal at his prime. I’d even say that Ellen DeGeneres was a little better last year. However, why has everyone suddenly forgotten that unwatchable horrorshow that Crystal hosted a few years ago? Harris was also certainly better than Seth MacFarlane.
Yes, the ceremony ran interminably long, as it always does. Yes, there were far too many pointless production numbers, and the presenters’ banter was all woefully inane, as always happen. None of this is in the host’s control. All the host can do is be personable, and try to keep the mood light and the audience’s spirits up as the show trudges through all the awards and all the bloat mandated by the producers. I think Harris accomplished that.
OK, his opening song was lame, not all of his jokes landed, and the magic act bit was anticlimactic. Fine, I’ll give you that. He wasn’t the best host ever. I still think he did as good a job overall as any person can reasonably be expected to do. Hosting this show is a thankless task, and I have no idea why anyone would ever agree to do it.