Movie Talk

Seth MacFarlane is hosting the 85th Academy Awards: The pros and cons

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Seth MacFarlane at this year's Emmys (Photo: John Shearer/Invision/AP, file)

Seth MacFarlane, perhaps most famous as the creator of the animated show "Family Guy," will be hosting the Academy Awards show early next year, the Academy announced on Monday.

And he is pumped. "[I am] ecstatic. I was surprised. I have done a fair amount of hosting in the past but nothing of this magnitude. I was very, very pleasantly surprised," MacFarlane told Deadline Hollywood.

This comes off the heels of the success of his foray onto the big screen with the comedy "Ted," about a foul-mouthed, talking teddy bear -- also starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis. The film, which cost $50 million to make, has brought in $217.8 million in the U.S. and $420 million total (worldwide).

MacFarlane provides the voice of many of his non-human characters including Ted, Peter Griffin ("Family Guy"), Stan Smith ("American Dad") and many more. He got his start in animation working for Hanna-Barbera and then became an animator and writer at the Cartoon Network, working on "Dexter's Laboratory," "Cow and Chicken," "I Am Weasel," and "Johnny Bravo."

If you're thinking MacFarlane is a left-field choice for one of the most-watched live televisions shows on the planet, here are some facts that build a strong case in his favor:

Seth can sing. He was actually nominated for two Grammys last year: One for his debut album "Music Is Better Than Words" and the other for a Christmas-themed song he co-wrote for "Family Guy."
He is popular with young people. The Academy has tried and failed in the past to reach a younger demographic (*cough* Anne Hathaway and James Franco). Since MacFarlane has a proven track record on live T.V. (Remember when his mic wasn't working at the Emmys last week and he came out smelling like a rose? He also did pretty well as a recent "Saturday Night Live" host.) -- he could have that magic ingredient to pull it off this time.
America thinks he's funny. A lot of people were holding their breath as MacFarlane tested his ever-growing small-screen appeal on the big screen with "Ted." For a first-timer movie director-writer-actor, he pretty much nailed it.

There are also some forces that could work against MacFarlane:

His humor is typically raunchy. If MacFarlane's irreverent style of humor goes too far or puts a bad comedic taste in people's mouth, it will literally be heard -- and criticized -- around the world. I'm sure past awards-show-hosting gaffes made by the likes of David Letterman and Ricky Gervais will be held up as examples of what not to do.
He is a non-tested entity. Unlike Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, the late Bob Hope and Johnny Carson -- who have hosted the Oscars multiple times with moderate-to-great success -- MacFarlane hasn't done it before. The pressure will be on.
His face is not famous. All other hosts who have graced the Academy Awards show stage -- whether film or T.V. stars -- have been instantly recognizable. While a lot of people know MacFarlane's animated shows and his film, audiences are still becoming familiar with his actual face.

"It's truly an overwhelming privilege to be asked to host the Oscars," MacFarlane said [via the Academy's press release]. "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."

In terms of his hosting game plan, MacFarlane, who noted the late Johnny Carson is his favorite Oscar host, said it's still too early to tell, but that, "The trick is really going to be to make it as funny as I can and true to what I do but at the same time respectfully adapting the tone for this event which is a very different event than I have been a part of in the past." [via Deadline]

Methinks you will be seeing a lot more of MacFarlane's mug leading up to the big event on February 24th.

Now that we know MacFarlane is hosting the Oscars, the "Family Guy" intro seems to take on new meaning:

More MacFarlane-related video:
MacFarlane talks hosting 'SNL' season premiere 'Ted' Insider Access: Ted Talks 'Ted' Insider Access: Dirty Minded MacFarlane talks 'Ted'

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