Helaine and I sat on the sofa and watched the Oscars last night. I was excited. I’m a big Seth MacFarlane fan.
As far as show biz is concerned he is the total package. He sings, dances, acts and writes. There’s probably more, but isn’t that enough?
It didn’t take more than a few minutes to feel his discomfort oozing out onto the TV. I could feel him worrying he was bombing.
I can tell you from personal experience: you don’t have to bomb, you only have to worry you are. From there it’s a quick downward spiral toward a self fulfilling prophecy.
Worry about bombing and you will! To a large extent that’s what happened to Seth MacFarlane.
I felt bad. I wanted him to knock it out of the park.
Can anyone succeed hosting the Oscars? Today at least, the answer is, “No.”
Last year Billy Crystal came back for a reprise of his killer shots in the 90s and aughts. The Washington Post’s Hank Stuever said:
“[Crystal] seemed to be to be overseeing a cruise ship dinner show designed to appeal to the over-50 travel club. Early on, it hit the rocks and started to list. Almost everyone drowned.”
The year before it was Anne Hathaway and James Franco. Tim Goodman in the Hollywood Reporter wrote,
“In what could go down as one of the worst Oscar telecasts in history, a bad and risky idea — letting two actors host — proved out in spectacularly unwatchable fashion on the biggest of all nights for the film world,”
You see the trend?
In 2010, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. How could they fail?
How? Does it matter? They just did!
From Alan Sepinwall’s review in the Newark Star-Ledger:
These are two of the funniest men on the planet, but they seemed uncomfortable swapping generic one-liners in the opening monologue, then vanished for long stretches of the show.
There’s no point in digging up David Letterman’s reviews. All you need is, “Uma, Oprah.”
In our era of short attention spans the Oscars telecast chews up hosts and spits them out.
Recently MacFarlane himself noted, as the night goes on there are more and more pissed off losers in the theater. Tough crowd!
I asked my dad for the name of a good Oscar host. “Bob Hope,” he replied without missing a beat. Hope’s last Oscar telecast was 1978.
Expectations were different then, though Hope does have the Oscar’s most memorable line from a host.
“Welcome to the Academy Awards, or, as it’s known at my house, Passover.”
That was 1968, 45 years ago!
So, yeah, Seth MacFarlane didn’t do well. He’s in good company.
Maybe Oscar hosting should be graded on the curve?