Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

What did critics think of Seth MacFarlane’s night as Oscars host?

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

MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS

Was he flat or edgy? Ho-hum or hilarious?

Reactions to Seth MacFarlane's Oscar hosting abilities last night are mixed, with some, including The Globe's Dave McGinn, concluding that his jokes were "offensive and tired," while others, such as Reuters's Steve Gorman, describing his humour as "provocative," "biting" and "edgy."

Many, including The Atlantic, pounced on MacFarlane's off-colour groaners, like his feigned racial stereotyping and his remark that Zero Dark Thirty exemplified "a woman's innate ability to never let anything go."

Story continues below advertisement

"What the jokes were, really, was stupid, boring, and empty: Humour that relied less on its own patently sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. content than on admiration for or disgust with the host's willingness to deliver it," The Atlantic's Spencer Kornhaber wrote. "So much of comedy is about the shock of recognition, of seeing some previously unacknowledged truth suddenly acknowledged, but the only recognition MacFarlane offered was that some people say dumb things about other peoples' gender/racial/sexual identities."

Gawker has even edited them all together in a video headlined, "Here Are All of Seth MacFarlane's Predictable Sexist, Homophobic, and Racist Oscar Jokes."

But for those who love MacFarlane's ribald and squirm-inducing comedy from the television show Family Guy and the movie Ted, the Oscar host was a hit.

"MacFarlane seized the camera Sunday as host of ABC's Oscarcast and proved to its vast audience that he's a ridiculously versatile entertainer, a guy who can be as charming as he is famously irreverent, even polarizing," Frazier Moore of the Associated Press wrote, noting that even though he may have upset some viewers, it was unlikely anyone turned him off.

But then, the bar for Oscar hosts has been set pretty low. Billy Crystal turned heads and stomachs with his blackface routine in 2012. Anne Hathaway and James Franco were widely regarded as having bombed when they hosted the award show in 2011. And even David Letterman, who usually has no shortage of witty remarks, is still haunted by his awkward "Oprah, Uma" moment back in 1994.

Would you care to see Seth MacFarlane host Oscar night again next year?

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. 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… ✨