Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Can the Oscars survive Seth McFarlane?
A big pop culture announcement was made this week,with Seth McFarlane being named as the next host of the Academy Awards in 2013.
McFarlane has been making the MC circuit lately,partly due to his big summer movie Ted becoming an overnight cinematic sensation and with the continued popularity of his animated series like Family Guy and The Cleveland Show,he's sure to get some strong viewing numbers.
However,off beat humorists like him tend to have trouble with this gig. For any Oscar host to truly do well,it takes a bit of mass market appeal and let's face it,folks;Seth McFarlane is rather an acquired taste akin to peanut butter french fried guacamole dip. Sure,he has a great gift for voices and can present an amusing musical parody but how well will his antics play on such a big stage?:
Oscar in house audiences can be very sensitive,as Chris Rock found out back in 2005,when he landed that hot spot. Despite being very funny,some of the celebs were a little peeved about some of his jokes,particularly a riff about Jude Law being in every other movie(which he was that year,Sean Penn,so get over it!).
Rock's one time only at the Academy Awards mike didn't stall his career any but the odds of him being asked to do it again are pretty low,a shame in my opinion:
Yet,even an awkward Oscar night doesn't completely rule out a return to the Kodak Theater,as Jon Stewart proved in 2008. His first run at the 2006 Academy Awards had folks both at home and in the audience less than thrilled with him,with ratings to match.
However,with such rich material as the writers' strike that had ended in time for the Oscars to mine,Stewart was able to turn that former bit of TV dross into Oscar gold. However,his workload at the Daily Show probably won't allow him to go for a third grab at that brass ring:
When it comes to the Oscars,there is such a thing as being too nice. Ellen DeGeneres discovered that during her hosting duties in 2007,when her sweet little skits such as vacuuming the red carpet and chatting up the big names sitting in the audience failed to thrill anybody.
She did her level best,no doubt about it. However,what works on a daytime talk show doesn't always hit the same sweet spot with a prime time crowd:
What the Academy really wants is another Billy Crystal,whose nine times as Oscar host made him a household favorite(until his unfortunate remarks last year that put off a lot of people considerably).
Getting someone with enough likeability and good humor who isn't bland to entertain this worldwide crowd,however,is rather a tall order. Seth McFarlane will give it a good shot,I'm sure,but if it was up to me,I would be asking Hugh Jackman to do another repeat performance.
Jackman's stint as the 2009 host was one of the best that I've seen in a long while and granted,his filming schedule may make it tough for him to return,but it certainly would be worth the extra fuss. Audiences and critics loved him that night and even if McFarlane does a bang up job,I highly doubt that he'll be as charming as Jackman was.
So,let Seth McFarlane do his thing come January but next time,perhaps the Academy will wise up and see the wisdom of bringing Hugh Jackman back. He could easily become the perfect go-to guy for the Oscars just as Neil Patrick Harris is for the Tonys,which would make these long shows seem way too short. That would be a real movie time treat to enjoy:
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