Fans of silly voices and dinner theater-level crooning rejoice: Deadline is reporting that Family Guy creator and voice actor Seth MacFarlane, who had a big-screen hit this summer with Ted, will be hosting the next Academy Awards ceremony.
MacFarlane recently hosted the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, which Deadline thinks was an Oscars audition that he nailed, Nikki Finke writing of the performance, "He did well, especially during his standup where he sang and did voices and looked great and was thoroughly entertaining." Which, OK, "thoroughly entertaining" is in the eye of the beholder, we suppose. But regardless of what we think of him, it is undeniable that MacFarlane has loud cheerleaders — Family Guy's fans, as well as American Dad's and The Cleveland Show's, are legion — which surely was a selling point for Oscars producers. Even though, of course, at his second recent TV appearance, presenting at the Emmys, MacFarlane awkwardly stood on the wrong side of the stage and spoke un-miked until he realized what was wrong. Ah well, a little bobble. He ought to be fine hosting a four-hour show.
While this might in theory be good news for some people, we wonder if MacFarlane's biggest fans, meaning teenage boys and their stoner older brothers, are really ever going to get stoked about anything Oscars-related. Is MacFarlane's demo really going to care about this? Ted almost assuredly helped broaden his fanbase, but he's still something of a niche guy, despite his fortune-making success. Seth MacFarlane the Personality is still a relatively new and somewhat untested product. "New," whatever that might mean at any given time, and untested have never been terribly successful at the Oscars, as evidenced by, for example, the Anne Hathaway/James Franco mess two years ago. Still, the Academy needs to find fresh and exciting hosts if they hope to keep ratings up — Billy Crystal was familiar but tepid last year — and, from sheerly a marketing perspective and not at all a creative one, MacFarlane seems like a potentially inspired choice in that vein.
As for all the smug singing and self-promoting voice shtick that MacFarlane seems to like to do when on stage as himself, well, that could get tedious. But he and his writing staff can be good with a stingingly irreverent jab at celebrity and pop culture every now and then, so it could be fun to see all those preening fat-cats in the audience taken down a peg or two. To that end, we should very likely expect some kind of opening song, one that makes fun of Hollywood while, of course, also asking loudly for its acceptance.