Without a host, "the telecast settled into a pleasingly laid-back groove and never left it" once the Oscars started handing out awards, says Matt Zoller Seitz. "This year, we were spared the familiar ritual of half-smiling, half-squirming through an opening monologue (and often, an opening video skit as well) by hosts who either knew how to read the room (Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Ellen DeGeneres) or prided themselves on not trying (David Letterman, Seth 'I Saw Your Boobs' McFarlane). And it was now easier to recognize that committing to a host also meant committing to a series of human-shaped speed bumps that must be surmounted between categories, after ad breaks, and deep into the telecast, when it invariably became clear that things were running long again and that, according to tradition, someone would have to go onstage and make a self-deprecating joke about how things were running long again. Not having to put up with any of that was like being surgically relieved of obstructions that you didn’t realize were making your body work harder than it needed. Call it a host-ectomy. Or maybe a Kevin-otemy?"
Let's never have an Oscars host again: "An Oscar host is like an appendix. Unnecessary at best, a source of searing abdominal pain at worst," says Mary Elizabeth Williams, adding: "Think of even the better hosts. This year's rumored secret host Whoopi. Jimmy. Steve, without Alec. Would any one of them rate more than a solid B- for the entertainment they provided over the course of their respective interminable evenings? The legacy of Ellen DeGeneres's two runs as host is a record-breaking … selfie."
It wasn't as bad everyone expected -- it was worse: "The telecast famously went without a host for the first time in decades, and the result was a convincing case for why a host matters," says Kevin Fallon, adding: "Some might say that the telecast was nicely paced, something owed to not having a host. I’d say it played more like a hectic sprint, and suffered from not having someone there to recenter things, remind us to breathe, maybe make us laugh, and then move things along in way that made sense. Were the lame bits and gags that have made so many previous telecasts insufferable missed? Absolutely not, and in that way the host-less experiment should be a lesson in what we do and do not need from a host. But a host is needed."