Last year, the Association of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAA) tried to make the annual Oscar telecast "hip" and "edgy" by hiring Eddie Murphy and his Tower Heist producer Brett Ratner to take over the ceremony. That arrangement didn't last long, however, as Ratner was forced to resign – taking Murphy with him – after making crass and offensive jokes, sullying the good name of the Academy by association. The decision to hire 'Family Guy' creator Seth MacFarlane to host this year's ceremony can therefore be seen as a clarification of standards: it's okay to be crass and offensive provided so long as that's what you're famous for in the first place. And, admittedly, when you're actually funny in the process.
Hollywood Reporter's announcement that Seth MacFarlane – who also directed, co-wrote and starred in Ted, the summer blockbuster about a raunchy teddy bear – would emcee the 85th Annual Academy Awards was accompanied by a short film in which MacFarlane broke the news to his father, who has something else altogether on his mind.
It's a good natured, mildly amusing clip, but it's also "Oscar" humor: droll and extremely accessible to family audiences. These are not the qualities MacFarlane is best known for. Will his Oscar telecast have any of MacFarlane's trademarked acidic and non sequitor humor, or is this video to be interpreted as an assurance that he'll play the Academy's game and tone it down for the old folks in the audience? Our suspicions are raised by a quote from the telecast's producers, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who, after complimenting the performer by saying that "performing skills blend perfectly with our ideas for making the show entertaining and fresh," then make a specific point of stating, "He will be the consummate host."
Seth MacFarlane is a very strong choice to host the Oscars, given his rabid fan base (attracting young crowds), populist sense of humor and the recent success of Ted. Whether you loved the film or not, it seems especially appropriate that a writer/director/producer/actor will emcee Hollywood's biggest awards ceremony. Maybe next year they'll consider giving the hosting duties to Woody Allen.
Speculation aside, if there's one thing we know for certain, it's that with Seth MacFarlane taking the stage, the 85th Annual Academy Awards will have plenty of musical numbers. Sigh…
CraveOnline will be back with more Oscar news after we thank the Academy.