EXCLUSIVE: I’ve just learned that the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences will announce today that TV, film, stage, and singing star Seth MacFarlane will host the 85th Academy Awards. The Emmy-winning TV animation mogul was chosen in large part for mastermindng Summer 2012′s huge R-rated comedy motion picture Ted: the $420 million worldwide box office hit was MacFarlane’s feature directorial debut, and he co-wrote and produced and voiced the title character, too. The success of the pic gave him street cred with the snobby film community. And it now looks as if MacFarlane’s hosting stint September 15th on Saturday Night Live‘s fall season premiere was a tryout for Oscar telecast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. He did well, especially during his standup where he sang and did voices and looked great and was thoroughly entertaining.
Of course during the Emmys he didn’t find his mark and stood on the stage awkwardly when he was a presenter. But that, too, showed he could roll with the punches and he made a joke and continued. All in all, it’s an inspired choice by the Academy and seems certain to bring in younger demographics which is what the telecast needs desperately to boost ratings. Also MacFarlane is that rare multitalent: actor, voice actor, animator, screenwriter, comedian, producer, director, and singer. He is best known as the creator of Family Guy (1999–present) and as co-creator of American Dad! (2005–present) and The Cleveland Show (2009–present) — all shows syndicated overseas which also should help with international Oscar viewership. MacFarlane will host Hollywood’s biggest night on February 24th, 2013, for ABC live at the Dolby Theatre.
UPDATE: The Academy has confirmed MacFarlane’s selection. Here’s the official release:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – 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.”
“It’s truly an overwhelming privilege to be asked to host the Oscars,” said MacFarlane. “My thoughts upon hearing the news were, one, I will do my utmost to live up to the high standards set forth by my predecessors; and two, I hope they don’t find out I hosted the Charlie Sheen Roast.”
“Seth is unbelievably talented,” said Academy President Hawk Koch. “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.”
MacFarlane made his feature directorial debut this summer with the box office success “Ted. “He also co-wrote and produced the film, and voiced the title character. “Ted” has brought in over $420 million worldwide, making it one of the highest-grossing films of the year.
MacFarlane is the creative force behind the television series “Family Guy” and co-creator of “American Dad!” and “The Cleveland Show. “In September he hosted “Saturday Night Live” for the first time, for the show’s 38th season premiere. An accomplished live performer, MacFarlane has played to sold-out audiences at London’s Royal Albert Hall and New York’s Carnegie Hall. In 2011 he released his debut album, “Music Is Better Than Words,” which earned two Grammy® nominations. He also has earned 13 Emmy® nominations and won two for his work on “Family Guy.”
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2012 will be presented on Sunday, February 24, 2013, at the Dolby Theatre™ at Hollywood & Highland Center®. Don Mischer will direct the telecast for the third consecutive time. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.