The Academy made the rare choice this year of having ceremony host Seth MacFarlane also announce the Oscar nominees, giving viewers a taste of what's to come February 24. And that taste elicited some laughs, some wariness, and a lot of genuine discomfort from all around the world of Hollywood. In the pre-6 a.m. hour this morning, MacFarlane came out swinging with jokes about actresses having sex with Harvey Weinstein and the relationship between Amour, a quiet movie about a dying woman, and Hitler.
"Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein," he said after announcing the nominees in the supporting actress category. There were laughs, and audible groans.
After he and actress Emma Stone unveiled the foreign language film nominees, MacFarlane said: "I read Amour was co-produced in Austria and Germany, right? The last time Austria got together and co-produced something it was Hitler, but this is much better." Oy.
Ken Tucker at Entertainment Weekly wrote that MacFarlane was "smug, condescending" but added "I can't wait for him to host the show itself — it may be one for the ages." Implication: it may piss off a ton of people. Which could make for good entertainment, à la Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes. Tim Goodman at The Hollywood Reporter and Piers Morgan certainly looked at it that way:
Not that, given MacFarlane's body of work, his material will be all that hard to predict:
"Hi, I'm Oscars host Seth MacFarlane and this reminds me of the time...[cut to montage of Hanna-Barbera jokes and Hitler references]"— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) January 10, 2013
Certainly some on Twitter now have a sense of trepidation heading into the awards:
Here's hoping MacFarlane's Oscar material is better - even marginally - than his Oscar nominating material. (Hitler joke? Oh groannnnn.)— vernejgay (@vernejgay) January 10, 2013
Seth MacFarlane has already made a Hitler joke. The Academy must be wondering what they've gotten themselves into...— Ravi Hiranand (@RaviCNN) January 10, 2013
Predix: Oscar trainwreck w asshat MacFarlane making bad jokes re: humorless actors (Jones, DeNiro, Phoenix, Day-Lewis, Washington, Chastain)— Logan Hill (@loganhill33) January 10, 2013
I really can't wait for 2.5 hours of watching Seth MacFarlane make his post-joke smugface over and over and over again.— Jessica Coen (@jessicacoen) January 10, 2013
The folks over at Twitchy were also none too happy, but don't say MacFarlane didn't warn us:
Just a heads up, @stonenobrien, I'm a cranky bastard at 5 a.m.— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) January 10, 2013
And let's not forget MacFarlane is actually up for an award: he wrote the lyrics for "Everybody Needs A Best Friend," from his movie Ted.
Update: People has MacFarlane's first promo for the show.