It may take some time to assess how Seth MacFarlane’s stint as Oscars host ranks against his predecessors, though initial reaction appears to suggest the ‘Family Guy’ man did a pretty solid job of steadying a ship rocked by James Franco, Anne Hathaway and the returning Billy Crystal in recent years. For now, the critics, celebrities and general movie enthusiasts have spoken and it appears Seth gets a moderate thumbs up – think slightly better than Steve Martin though perhaps not quite as good as Jon Stewart.
The rookie Oscars host certainly lived up to his controversial billing, making early quips about Chris Brown’s violent tendencies, Mel Gibson’s reputation and Ben Affleck’s surprising exclusion from the Best Director category. His brand of provocative humour was off-set by various safe song-and-dance numbers, though MacFarlane remained a divisive host.
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William Shatner – who formed part of MacFarlane’s opening routine – tweeted, “Well I'm upset at @SethMacFarlane . He lured me to Hollywood tonight saying he had a part for me in the new Star Trek movie! Liar!” while star of the US version of ‘The Office’ Rainn Wilson said, “Truly, @SethMacFarlane did a great job. Funny, self-deprecating and surprisingly fresh.” It was an opinion shared by broadcaster Piers Morgan, himself a polarising television personality. “Amused by Twitter indignation to @SethMacFarlane cracking bad taste jokes. He created Family Guy, not Glee. #Oscars,” he told followers.
Twitter buzzed into life when MacFarlane showcased his vocals on a song titled ‘We Saw Your Boobs’ – an ode to the bare on-screen breasts of Hollywood’s leading ladies. Kristen Stewart, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lawrence were all given the Seth treatment, with Charlize Theron looking less than pleased at her mention.
It was all a little too much for Tim Molloy of The Wrap, who wrote, “He delivered the Oscars producers pretty much exactly what they signed up for, because it felt an awfully lot like a ‘Family Guy’ episode—a few jokes, some 'zany' pop culture references, some music, and a gay-panic joke.” Steve Gorman of Reuters agreed, suggesting, “MacFarlane put his biting, edgy brand of humour front and centre,” though ultimately welcoming the comedian’s fresh approach to helming the biggest event on the movie calendar.
Whether the 39-years-old’s performance is enough to secure a return in 2014 remains to be seen (whispers around Hollywood suggest Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are a shoo-in). Oscars performer and ABC red-carpet correspondent Kristin Chenoweth appeared to have the final say on the matter, tweeting, “I had a blast tonight singing with @sethmacfarlane. He KILLED it! So good!”
Watch Seth MacFarlane's 'boobs' song: