Anyone who watched the Oscars last night knows that it was a relative hit. In fact, it was the most viewed Academy Awards show since 2005. How did Ellen Degeneres pull off such success? By sticking to her tried and true formula. Here’s a list of ways Ellen made the Oscars a big, fancy version of her talk show, and a break from the stiff and stuffy Oscars we’re all used to:
1. Audience Participation
Sure, her audience isn’t usually full of Hollywood’s biggest stars, but that didn’t stop her from engaging in some non-scripted back-and-forth with them. Both in her opening monologue and throughout the show, Ellen put a few of the nominees on the spot, leaving some of the comedic content in their hands.
A typical visit to The Ellen Show means that as an audience member, you’re probably going to walk away with some swag. The Oscars were no different. But Ellen is smarter than to think a bunch of celebrities care about a thousand dollar gift card or two. Instead, she showered the antsy actors and starving actresses with pizza, and it was hugely popular.
Any of Ellen’s regular viewers know she’s not afraid to make a fool of herself, with her Halloween costume reveal a popular event every year. And Oscar night, with 40 million viewers, was no different. Shortly after Pink’s rendition of “Over the Rainbow”, Ellen stormed the stage in the closest thing we would see to an Oscar gown, dressed as Glinda the Good Witch.
4. Getting the “little people” involved
Ellen is known for surprising viewers by pulling them on stage, and one of the funniest Oscar moments this year was when she dragged a pizza guy out from backstage to serve the star-studded crowd. The stunt wasn’t staged; Edgar, an employee at Mama and Papa’s Pizzeria in Hollywood, was told he was only delivering for the writers, and had no idea he was going to be on camera. Later, Ellen gave him the over 600 dollar tip she had collected from the stars.
No one missed the massive plugs for Samsung throughout the Oscar broadcast, especially when Ellen used her Samsung phone to take the most retweeted selfie ever. Later, she revealed that Samsung agreed to donate a dollar for every retweet the photo received to two of of Degeneres’ favorite charities. The photo was shared over two million times in just two hours.
And there you have it. While Degeneres’ style of hosting was a breath of fresh air to yearly Oscar viewers, it was a familiar formula to her loyal fans. Somehow, she managed to change things up by sticking with what works.