Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Seth MacFarlane keeps up the Oscar trend of terrible hosts

Oscar host Seth MacFarlane speaks on stage at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Feb. 24, 2013.

MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS

Going in to Oscar weekend, very few people probably would have bet that Seth MacFarlane would be an even worse host than Anne Hathaway and James Franco. But the great train wreck of 2011 seems like the golden times of Bob Hope compared to Sunday's show.

MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy, trades in a brand of humour that combines frat boy toilet jokes, sexism, racism and misogyny. If you wondered if he would avoid these as Oscar host, you got your answer when, during his opening monologue, he sang a song called We Saw Your Boobs.

By the time the bear from Ted, MacFarlane's directorial debut, was trotted out to make a tired joke about Jewish people controlling Hollywood, all the worst aspects of MacFarlane's comedy had been used up and the audience inside the Dolby Theatre could almost be heard groaning.

Story continues below advertisement

The host got off a good early zinger about attempting to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh, but that wasn't enough to establish a rapport with the live audience or television viewers.

MacFarlane's pot shots weren't edgy or controversial; they somehow managed to be offensive and tired.

Take, for example, his joke about Django Unchained. "This is the story of a man fighting to get back his woman, who's been subjected to unthinkable violence. Or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie."

Or his take on Hispanic actors: "We've reached the point where Javier Bardem, Salma Hayek or Penelope Cruz takes the stage and we have no idea what they're saying but we don't care because they're so attractive."

The casual bigotry and overall tenor of MacFarlane's humour seemed even odder in a show celebrating movie music. How the Academy thought they could reconcile juvenile potty jokes clearly intended to win over a youth audience with a show where Barbara Streisand performed The Way We Were and a 76-year-old Shirley Bassey performed Goldfinger is a mystery.

We've now seen three terribly bad Oscars in a row, so it's time to wonder whether or not there is anything the show can do to be either relevant or entertaining. Getting Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to host next year might sound like a good idea, but they probably couldn't recreate the magic of the Golden Globes in a show as staid as the Oscars.

The trophies will no doubt be displayed proudly on mantels across Hollywood; the show itself continues to sink in to an existential crisis.

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More

Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨