By Curt Wagner, @ShowPatrol
9:15 PM CST, February 24, 2013
Everyone seemed to be talking about what Seth MacFarlane would do as host of the Oscars. On Sunday night, MacFarlane kept that dialogue going, making Hollywood's big night all about Seth MacFarlane.
The "Family Guy" creator opened the 85th Academy Awards ceremony with a flurry of jokes ranging from very inside Hollywood to funny to Ricky Gervais-style mean. (Chris Brown still is an easy mark.)
MacFarlane got in jabs about Ben Affleck's Best Director snub for "Argo" and Daniel Day-Lewis' attempt to always stay in character during the filming of "Lincoln."
Of Quentin Tarantino's excessive use of the N-word in "Django Unchained" he said, "I believe the screenplay is loosely based on Mel Gibson's voice mails."
And he made Tommy Lee Jones laugh. (You had to have seen this year's Golden Globes to get that one.) But after the initial monologue he kept the focus firmly on himself, even though he got help from famous friends.
William Shatner was the first big surprise. (See video below.) Dressed as Capt. Kirk from "Star Trek," Shatner appeared on a screen above MacFarlane, claiming to have come from the future to prevent MacFarlane from ruining the ceremony.
"Why couldn't they just get Tina and Amy to host the show?" Shatner asked, referring to Globes hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
Shatner proceeded to show MacFarlane the skits and filmed bits that led him to being called the "Worst Oscars Host Ever." With this set up, MacFarlane was able to have his cake and eat it, too. He mixed crass with class for the rest of the opening.
He celebrated nudity in film with the production number "We Saw Your Boobs," then performed a lovely version of "The Way You Look Tonight" featuring dance partners Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron.
He did a sock-puppet re-enactment of the movie "Flight," then did a soft-shoe version of "High Hopes" with Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. (MacFarlane can sing, but he just can't dance.)
He donned a "Flying Nun" costume and hit on Sally Field, then sang an Oscars-themed version of "Be Our Guest."
The intro, which at about 17 minutes was almost as long as a "Family Guy" episode, was all over the map. It's as if he couldn't decide what opening to go with, so he went with all of them. By doing so, he was assured that something would work.
MacFarlane was hit and miss throughout the rest of the night, too, scoring when he teased Affleck and getting groans with a joke about John Wilkes Booth shooting Abrahan Lincoln. No one seemed to notice, however, when he basically called Adele fat by mentioning critic Rex Reed, who commented on Melissa McCarthy's weight in a review of her film "Identity Thief."
So was he the worst Oscars host ever? I think that might still go to James Franco and the unforturnate Anne Hathaway in 2011.
Want more? Discuss this article and others on Show Patrol's Facebook page.
Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC