The lead up to last year’s Oscar ceremony wasn’t an easy one for The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It started with their announcement that director Brett Ratner would be producing the show, with his Tower Heist star Eddie Murphy hosting. While most were interested enough in how Murphy would do in the hosting role, Ratner himself has built up a lot of hatred with the online press so there was much grumbling about how stupid his version of an awards show would look, and much celebrating when some off color comments got him fired from the job, leading to Murphy stepping down as host.
The celebration didn’t last long, however, as the Academy ignored online campaigns to install Jim Henson’s felty creations, The Muppets, as hosts, and instead went with a tired old choice who we’ve all seen head the show a million times before in Billy Crystal. The criticisms that the Academy and the Oscars were old, out of touch, and unable to let go of past success poured in, and questions of how much longer the show would remain relevant were raised.
Well, this year the Academy seems to have taken some of those criticisms to heart, because they’ve not only hired a fresh face to host the awards, they’ve hired the guy who directed probably the best-loved comedy of the summer, Ted, and is most famous for creating one of the raunchiest shows on television, Family Guy. In a press release sent out today, it became official, Seth MacFarlane is going to be the host of the 85th Annual Academy Awards.
This is a strong choice for a number of reasons. Not only is MacFarlane the edgy sort of comedian who likes to push buttons (a format that’s worked great for Ricky Gervais and the Golden Globes) and will generally feel more dangerous on stage than Crystal’s tired music montages, but he’s also a creator whose work has always shown an obvious affection for musicals and stage shows, and has always been infused with the pomp and circumstance of old Hollywood. The Academy seems to have found, at the same time, a face that will feel modern to younger audiences and a host who has a love for awards shows the way they’ve always been done.
This year’s co-producers, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, said of the hire, “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. He will be the consummate host, and we are so happy to be working with him.” This sentiment was followed up by Academy President Howard Koch, who said, “Seth is unbelievably talented. We couldn’t be happier with the creative team we’ve assembled. With Craig, Neil, and now Seth, we’re off to a great start.”
Great start may be debatable, but they’re certainly in better shape than that time they thought it was a good idea to let James Franco host the Oscars…
CUT TO JAMES FRANCO SNIFFING GLUE BACKSTAGE WHILE ANNE HATHAWAY FRANTICALLY TAP DANCES
In typical fashion, McFarlane made his own announcement about his new job in the form of a wacky video [found via ComingSoon]. It can be watched below.