Monday, June 17, 2024

“SNL”: Ariana DeBose Won Her Oscar Last Night Hands Down, James Austin Johnson Emerges as a Star


Well, Ariana DeBose won her Oscar last night hosting “SNL.” She was a killer in all her sketches, particularly singing with Kate McKinnon. This is maybe the best Oscar campaign in years. DeBose is going to sweep in and take Best Supporting Actress for “West Side Story” with such ease, I can’t even recall the names of the other candidates. She’s organized better than all of Disney for this movie!

Meanwhile, James Austin Johnson, who just became a father, has exceeded all expectations. He should be elevated to regular now. Has anyone ever been this ready for prime time? He came in with a few others this season, and he’s left them in the dust. His Joe Biden isn’t perfect, or mannered, but he’s got the essence of it, just as he does with Trump and his other impersonations. JAJ is a keeper.

Jack Antonoff was a fine musical guest, but he sold not one record as a result of his appearance. He was also wearing contact lenses or couldn’t see because he eschewed his usual spectacles. Next week we get former cast member Will Forte as host, plugging the Lorne Michaels-produced “MacGruber” TV series. “SNL” is clearly struggling still to book hosts and musical guests because of the pandemic. Love Will Forte, but how many former cast members are hosting this season?

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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