As you may have realized by now, I am a movie nerd; and because I love movies so much, I have a special place in my heart for the Oscars. Every year, I order pizza and sit on my couch in my frumpy sweatpants to watch the Academy Awards. Because watching richer and more beautiful people starve themselves just to wear an expensive Oscar del la Renta gown before they get a ridiculous amount of recognition for their already famous movie seems like a good way to make my accomplishments feel completely worthless.
So you can imagine my excitement when I read the announcement this morning that Seth MacFarlane (creator of Family Guy, American Dad, The Cleveland Show, Ted) would be hosting the 85th Annual Academy Awards. Now, some of you might be saying BFD, but seriously…you don’t know how huge of a deal the Oscar host is. Let me explain…
Why This Is a Big Deal
For the last few years, the ratings for the Academy Awards have not been great. In fact, they’ve been slowly nosediving. Whether that’s because people don’t care about the nominated movies and actors or the whole Oscar tradition, I don’t know. But the point is that ABC and the Academy Awards NEED this show to gather some attention again because it’s a huge event in Hollywood (We’re talking the presidential election for celebrities. I mean, for God’s sake, they campaign for the awards), as well as a gigantic advertisement cash-cow for the cable network. And it’s the 85th year. Any time the year lands on a zero or a five, the shit is going to be big.
Last year, Eddie Murphy was supposed to host the Oscars. Honestly, I thought this was such a good idea because, let’s face it, Eddie Murphy needed it for his similarly nosediving career. Minus the success of the Shrek films, Eddie Murphy hasn’t had a good movie in years. Norbit? Dreadful. Meet Dave? Shit. Tower Heist? Shittier shit. And the producers of the Academy Awards knew that he could help them just as much as they could help him. Eddie Murphy could’ve brought some comedy back to the Oscars—comedy that I don’t think we’ve seen since Jon Stewart hosted in 2007. But when Brett Ratner resigned as co-producer (*cough* FIRED), Eddie Murphy left with him as a symbol of good loyalty (and utter stupidity). So what happened? They brought in Billy Crystal, who has hosted many times before. Now, Billy Crystal is a funny actor, but he is also a safe comedian. He doesn’t make jokes that people will talk about for YEARS after the Oscars. And that’s exactly what the Oscars need right now.
Enter Seth MacFarlane…
The Pros and Cons of Seth MacFarlane
I personally think Seth MacFarlane will be a great host. Although he’s typically a voice actor, writer, producer, billionaire, pop culture genius, etc., the man can do musical numbers, host Comedy Central roasts, and perform on live shows (like SNL and the Emmys). That being said, I also think there are concerns with him being a host.
Seth MacFarlane is multi-talented. Any time an actor can act, sing, and dance, it means writers and producers have a great base of talent from which to draw. which in turn provides for a better, more encompassing show that can reach a mass audience’s tastes. Although not nearly as comedic as previous shows, Hugh Jackman’s 2008 hosting was charming and entertaining because the man could act, sing, and dance (not to mention look damn good in a suit).
Seth MacFarlane is riding on the success of Ted. Whenever an actor/comedian has a film that does really well (both financially and socially), it means that their fan base is large and will continue to grow. By bringing in someone whose name people will correlate with that film, the Oscars could see a spike in their viewer numbers.
Seth MacFarlane is known for his hilarious and sometimes controversial pop culture jokes. Have you ever watched Family Guy? Dear God, there’s enough material in all of the seasons of that show to fulfill an entire lifetime of hilarity. Plus, that material is filled with current pop culture and political satire, which pretty much always guarantees a success in comedy (as long as it’s not overdone). What makes this more exciting is that when you get an actor/comedian who is not afraid to make those jokes and put them on a live show, you’re going to have press—and it won’t matter if it’s good or bad press because press is press. Basically, the Academy Awards and Hollywood have just handed him a goddamn can of gasoline and some matches and said “Have at it!” He could rip on everything and everyone in the way that Ricky Gervais couldn’t with the Golden Globes. Why? Because he’s got a shit ton of money and has made a huge name for himself in both American films and television—a reputation that won’t be tarnished if he blows this gig.
Seth MacFarlane has three TV shows and a film on the market, so his jokes could get old. I have noticed lately that American Dad and The Cleveland Show have just been sucking something awful. I don’t know if that’s because the writers for those shows aren’t as experienced (or talented) as the Family Guy writers, or if it’s because Seth MacFarlane is strung between so many projects that he’s losing vision. But with so much saturation in entertainment, it’s very possible that him being the host and using the same jokes from his shows could wind up seeming like old news.
Seth MacFarlane’s fan base might not be the type to watch the Academy Awards. The Oscars aren’t for everyone. Some people find it incredibly dull because watching someone accept an award on a show where there’s no sex or explosions (Sorry, Michael Bay) isn’t their cup of tea. And I worry that a huge chunk of Seth MacFarlane’s fan base is like that. I hope that there are more people in his fan base like me—and by that I mean adults with a very inappropriate sense of humor who also appreciate the magnificence of filmmaking—because if there are, then he should be fine. But you never know until those ratings come in.
Seth MacFarlane might cause problems with the FCC. I read somewhere once that Seth MacFarlane keeps some ungodly amount of money set aside for FCC fines with all of the jokes he makes in his TV shows—which, quite frankly, is hilarious because it just shows you how far ahead he thinks when he’s writing. But if the Academy Awards producers get some wild hair up their asses and decide that they’re going to worry about the FCC after they already hired a host who is known for being inappropriate, then the comedy might seem a little lackluster.
I guess we’ll see how all of these pros and cons plays out come February 24th, 2013.
What are your thoughts on Seth MacFarlane as the host of the 85th Annual Academy Awards?