Show tough on hosts, but MacFarlane surprised us

  • By Ellen Gray Philadelphia Daily News
  • Monday, February 25, 2013 6:33pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

I’m old enough to remember when hosting the Oscars wasn’t the showbiz equivalent of the Ironman, requiring a singing, dancing funnyman (or woman) who could somehow bring freshness to a tired format while not upsetting anyone too much.

Bob Hope and Johnny Carson never dealt with the instantaneous judgment of Twitter and Facebook, much less had to follow Billy Crystal, who raised Oscar hosting to an Olympic sport in which even David Letterman and Jon Stewart failed to medal.

So maybe we should start by acknowledging that the otherwise scarily talented Seth MacFarlane never really had a chance, even if he had done the entire show in the voice of Stewie Griffin.

Yep, I’ve taken almost as long starting this column as he did starting the show.

MacFarlane’s opening — punctuated by second-screen shtick by William Shatner as Capt. James T. Kirk, calling from the future — had its moments, but none of them funny enough to justify the long opening.

Worth the time: MacFarlane’s singing “The Way You Look Tonight” as Charlize Theron and, yes, a fully clothed Channing Tatum danced.

MacFarlane, a science geek who sings like a ’40s crooner, can’t, it turns out, dance a lick. Which is kind of a relief.

Known best for his taste-pushing humor and less for his singing voice, MacFarlane kept himself reasonably in check for most of the evening.

But this is a show that was never really meant to be about the host, and if you hung in there long enough, you got to hear Barbra Streisand capping the In Memoriam with a tribute to Marvin Hamlisch that I sure hope wasn’t lip-synced.

As always, there were a few awards that even a 12-hour show probably wouldn’t have gotten to:

Least-prepared winner: Claudio Miranda, the cinematographer who won for “Life of Pi.” “Oh my God, I can’t even speak” is not what you want to hear from someone shows no signs of stopping .

Best use of “Jaws” theme since “Jaws”: To play off those talkative winners.

Red-carpet charmer: Kristin Chenoweth, who endeared herself to short women everywhere when she kicked off her shoes to demonstrate just how short she is.

More in Life

‘Last Jedi’ is the best ‘Star Wars’ movie since the first one

This instant-classic popcorn movie makes clever references to the past while embracing the new.

Jesse Sykes brings her evolving sounds to Cafe Zippy in Everett

She and Phil Wandscher make a return trip to a club that she values for its intimacy.

Red wine usually costs more, but you can still find bargains

Here are five good-quality reds that won’t drain your grocery budget.

Beer of the Week: Skull Splitter and Blood of My Enemies

Aesir Meadery of Everett and Whiskey Ridge Brewing of Arlington collaborated to make two braggots.

Beer, wine, spirits: Snohomish County booze calendar

Ugly Sweater Party and Canned Food Drive at Whitewall: Marysville’s Whitewall Brewing… Continue reading

Student winners to perform concertos with Mukilteo orchestra

This annual show is a partnership with the Snohomish County Music Teachers Association.

‘Ferdinand’ a modern take on the beloved children’s story

The lovable bull is back in an enjoyable but spotty animated film from the makers of “Ice Age.”

Dustin Hoffman accused of new incidents of sexual misconduct

A classmate of Hoffman’s daughter says the actor exposed himself in 1980 when she was 16.

Art mimicks reality in engrosing ‘On the Beach at Night Alone’

The Korean film tells the story of an actress recovering from an affair with a married director.

Most Read