Oscars confirm irrelevance with Seth Macfarlane as 85th host
You'd think a milestone (or millstone) like that would call for a heritage host, but instead, the powers that be have gone with the voice of Family Guy.
From the Academy's official announcement via Deadline: "Seth MacFarlane will host the 85th Academy Awards®, telecast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. This will be MacFarlane’s first appearance on Oscar’s stage. The 85th Academy Awards will be broadcast live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, on the ABC Television Network. “We are thrilled to have Seth MacFarlane host the Oscars. His performing skills blend perfectly with our ideas for making the show entertaining and fresh,” said Zadan and Meron. “He will be the consummate host, and we are so happy to be working with him.”
For those not in the know, Zadan and Meron are behind the big screen musical revival (producing Chicago and Hairspray) as well as the Broadway-centric series Smash. Given that, and the fact that Macfarlane released a big band record recently, the Hollywood Magic 8 Ball of grim inevitabilities points towards an all-singing, all-dancing Oscars in 2013.
Long-time readers of this blog will be aware of my feelings when it comes to the Academy's previous attempts at "freshening up" cinema's night of nights.
Here's what I said back in 2011 when the Academy tried to youth it up with hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco: "Given that the Academy Awards fete films that are the very antithesis of youth culture (case in point: the excellent but decidedly grownup The King's Speech), what's the point of trying to hook in an audience who, upon tuning in, won't find any of their favourites being celebrated anyway? The kids have the MTV Movie Awards and the VMAs and the AMAs and the ARIAs and the Brits and the Kids' Choice. Can't we just leave something for the adults?"
Then, this year, following the last-minute disaster that was the sacking of both Brett Ratner as producer and Eddie Murphy as host, a return to the good-old-bad-old days with an uncharacteristically stodgy Billy Crystal effort: "If you follow, even casually, the industry news from the States, you'd be aware that the studios are desperate to lure people back to cinemas. [...] So, instead of, say, lowering ticket prices and doing away with ridiculous things like the "3D tax" that pushes tickets beyond $20, they decided to make the theme of the 84th annual Academy Awards "Let's go to the movies" (they left the ", please!" off the end of it for space's sake).
And yes, you may remember that Crystal "really did revive his Sammy Davis Jr impersonation from 1998 and, prior to that, his SNL days four decades ago. Nostalgia! Blackface! Let's go to the movies!"
So, what can we expect from next year's ceremony? Maybe some stellar hosting material like this?
Zing! Macfarlane, yer killin' me!
Look, there's enough time between this announcement and the show itself that Zadan and Meron will be able to come up with a killer show. But my main concern with importing someone with as much of a personal brand to uphold as Macfarlane will be that there's the possibility they will just approach the Oscars like it was another instalment of their own show(s).
And we all know how well it goes when that happens:
The 85th Academy Awards will roll out on February 24th, 2013.