The Oscars ran long last night, lasting just past midnight EST, but that’s not something that can be blamed on first time emcee Seth MacFarlane, who by and large is getting high marks for his Academy Awards hosting duties in Los Angeles last night. Seth, creator of “Family Guy” among others, was called a “triple threat” as he danced, sang and told jokes throughout the telecast to an enthusiastic crowd. MacFarlane did manage to make some questionable quips, but it never slowed the 39 year-old down. Meanwhile the winners in the major Oscar categories were for the most part as predicted.
Seth started off the Academy Awards ceremonies with a video screen interaction with William Shatner, reprising his role as Captain James T. Kirk from the “Star Trek” series. The Shatner premise was that he’d traveled back from the future to warn MacFarlane of his impending bad reviews as host.
Shatner as Kirk predicted that MacFarlane would be dubbed the “worst Oscars host ever”. “Your jokes are tasteless and inappropriate, and everyone ends up hating you”, he forewarned. That launched the writer and actor into a series of song and dance routines aimed at saving himself.
Seth opened with a song, called “We Saw Your Boobs”, an edgy homage that called out actresses who have appeared topless on the big screen. MacFarlane then dressed as a flying nun in another taped skit with “Lincoln” star Sally Field, which ended with the two embroiled in a passionate kiss.
“I honestly can't believe I'm here”, MacFarlane joked, adding, “It's an honor that everyone else said 'no', from Oprah all the way to Ron Jeremy”, according to CBS News.
Taking a jab at the Oscars themselves, Seth said of “Argo” that, “The film is so top secret that the film's director is unknown to the Academy”, to resounding applause, adding, “They know they screwed up”.
It’s common knowledge Ben Affleck was snubbed for directing “Argo” as he went on to win most every other major directing award leading up to the Oscars. Thankfully, the Academy, or should we say voting members, made up for the snafu by giving him the big win of the night for best picture, announced by First Lady Michelle Obama live from the White House.
Seth mocked how winning an Oscar can lead to a successful career, noting, “Last year Jean Dujardin won best actor for 'The Artist' - and look now he's everywhere”.
When MacFarlane brought up Quentin Tarantino's violent film, “Django Unchained”, he joked that Chris Brown and Rihanna would just call it “a date movie”. That liner garnered Seth some sneers.
MacFarlane reminded viewers that actor Raymond Massey was nominated for an Oscar for 1940's “Abe Lincoln in Illinois”, saying “I would argue that the actor who really got inside Lincoln's head was John Wilkes Booth”. Some jeers prompted the funny man to add, “A hundred and 50 years later, and it's still too soon”?
According to CNN, other major winners included Christoph Waltz for supporting actor in “Django Unchained”. Supporting actress went predictably to Anne Hathaway for “Les Misérables”.
Best director went to Ang Lee for “Life of Pi”, which nabbed three other Oscars throughout the evening, in cinematography, visual effects and original score.
The leading actress nod went to Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook”, who unfortunately tumbled completely to the ground while negotiating her flowing gown up the stage stairs. She recovered by telling the standing audience that they only came to their feet because they felt sorry for her falling, but thanked them just the same.
Daniel Day Lewis made history as the only actor to win three Oscars in the leading actor category when he won for “Lincoln”. He gave a truly wry and entertaining acceptance speech. Daniel even told the audience that he only played Lincoln due to a swap out, as he originally was set to play presenter Meryl Streep’s Margaret Thatcher.
Other musical highlights of the ceremonies include Dame Shirley Bassey reprising her 1964 James Bond theme for “Goldfinger”, this being the iconic UK singer’s first performance at the event.
Barbra Streisand gave a rousing tribute to friend and composer Marvin Hamlisch of “The Way We Were”, following the “in memoriam” portion of the program. Adele also wowed the crowd with her nominated song for “Skyfall”, which she won her first Oscar for later. Now all of her Grammys and others have strong company.
In the week leading up to the ceremony, Macfarlane told The Associated Press about hosting the Oscars, “It's a balance between not being completely dismissive of the ceremony, but at the same time, injecting a little bit of a lighter sensibility than maybe we've seen in the past.
“The Oscars does have a history of taking itself so deadly seriously. And while it obviously is a ceremony that's important to the people involved, you know we're not curing cancer here”, Seth said.
Way to go Seth! What do you think of his performance?