Ellen DeGeneres dishes up jokes, jabs (and pizza) at the Oscars

Image: Ellen Degeneres.
Ellen Degeneres takes the stage to host the show at the start of the 86th Academy Awards.Today

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By Ree Hines

Record-breaking, star-studded selfies; jokes, jabs and a few costume changes — Ellen DeGeneres delivered it all Sunday night at the Academy Awards.

In her monologue, DeGeneres, who hosted the show once before in 2007, reminisced about her first stint as emcee, recalling then-nominees Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio — "so different," she said as she looked out at the familiar faces.

The biggest laughs in the opening banter came with DeGeneres predicted the outcome of the evening.

"Possibility No. 1, '12 Years a Slave' gets best picture," she said. "Possibility No. 2, you're all racists."









But one early joke fell flat with some in the audience.

"I have to say one of the most amazing Liza Minelli impersonators is here tonight," she said as the camera panned to the real Minelli. "Good job, sir," DeGeneres added to groans.

DeGeneres got Oscars' online audience in on the fun by sharing a show-time selfie — #blessed and #blurry, as it was.



After Jared Leto took the best supporting actor honor, she even made sure the night's other favorite for the award didn't go home empty handed. She passed a couple of scratch-off tickets to Bradley Cooper, along with a quarter.

"I'm going to need that back," she said of the coin.

Later, she took out her phone for more photos. First she sidled up to Minelli for a friendly post-jab shot, then she really went for it with what turned out to be the moment of the evening — the ultimate selfie.

What started out as an attempt to get a record breaking amount of retweets for a selfie featuring record-breaking 18-time nominee Meryl Streep turned into a group shot for the ages, featuring Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Lupita Nyong'o and more.



The retweets are still racking up, but DeGeneres might have set a record for breaking Twitter. The site suffered a momentary outage after the photo went live.

After that, the host hoped to help her A-list pals with some hunger-busting pizzas she ordered. Pitt helped by passing out paper plates, while Kevin Spacey (and a delivery guy) kept busy distributing the grub. There was just one problem.

"I don't have any money," DeGeneres said. "Who here has money? Sandy (Bullock), you have money? Where's Harvey Weinstein? Harvey? No pressure, only a billion people watching, whatever you feel is right."

Eventually she found another way. 

"So I borrowed Pharrell's hat, and I thought I'd pass it around to get money for the pizza," she said.

Even when she wasn't on-stage dishing up laughs (and pizza), DeGeneres was rubbing elbows with the stars backstage.





By the end of the long night (which wasn't quite as long as DeGeneres' nearly four-hour Academy Award broadcast in 2007), the laughs really added up. But the wisecracks from DeGeneres actually started long before she took the stage at the Dolby Theatre Sunday night. When her hosting gig was first announced last year, she quipped, "I am so excited to be hosting the Oscars for the second time. You know what they say — the third time's the charm."

The truth is the first time was a charm for the talk-show titan. After receiving critical praise for her 2007 duties, she went on to get an Emmy nomination for Oscar efforts. The second time? It seems to have worked out just fine.

Oscar watchers will just have to wait and see if she really gets that third opportunity.