Back in 2007, the last time Ellen DeGeneres hosted the Oscars, things were different. Abigail Breslin still looked like this. Beyoncé was still pursuing her acting career. Martin Scorsese hadn't yet won his Oscar. Before DeGeneres resumes her hosting duties this Sunday, let's revisit her best moment from the last time she hosted.
Ellen as Oscar host way-back-when is exactly what you would expect Ellen as Oscar host to be today. She was good-natured, and seemed to want everyone to be having a good time. That is perhaps most evident in her banter with the folks sitting on the aisle. Take, for instance, her talk with Clint Eastwood.
When she comes up to Clint in the audience, he's eager to chat, even thanking her for a headset someone from her company apparently sent him. That doesn't seem to be part of the the planned joke. Other celebrities seemed to have a similar familiar instinct when talking to her. Mark Wahlberg, for instance, talked about using her bathroom. If part of the Oscar host's job is getting the room to feel comfortable enough to bypass the nerves and self-consciousness to actually have a good time, Ellen aced it. It felt as if we were walking in on private conversations, even though it was very clear that the cameras were there.
And of course there was an element of the interactions that were "bits." She gave a script to good sport Scorsese and asked to take a photo with Eastwood for Myspace. Myspace! Oh, 2007, you rascal. Watch out for the same bit this year, be it for Instagram or Snapchat, and rather than ask Spielberg to take the picture, it'll no doubt be a selfie.
One has to imagine that, come Sunday, there might be a little more pageantry in Ellen's performance. This year's Oscar producers are Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, who have an affection for spectacle as evidenced by last year's Oscar ceremony and NBC's live Sound of Music. Ellen's predilection for dancing will likely be transformed into a production number. Pink will be there. And it's not like Ellen doesn't have the tendency to go broad. She is the woman who made Sophia Grace and Rosie a thing. But Ellen is perhaps best in the quiet moments. We hope she gets to makes some of them this year.