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

This beefy ex-cop has a delicate hobby: intricate paper-cut art

You can see Tom Sacco’s creations at the upcoming Everett Art Walk.

Slow-roasted vegetables make sumptuous sauce for pasta

Make the basic but good spaghetti with red sauce blissfully better with this recipe.

Mocking meatloaf: One man’s loaf is another man’s poison

Some don’t like it and some do. Here are six meatloaf recipes to try.

Roasted Brussels sprouts can be the apple of picky eater’s eye

Toasted sesame seeds and diced apple add flavors that compliment the sprouts’ earthiness.

Arlington eagle fest wants your nature-themed artwork, haiku

Local residents of an artistic bent are invited to submit… Continue reading

Dylan Farrow says she wants to bring down Woody Allen

The 32-year-old said in an upcoming interview that she is telling the truth about him abusing her.

Kendrick Lamar, Sam Smith and U2 added to Grammys performance roster

Also unveiled is a performance by pop star Miley Cyrus and superstar piano-rocker Elton John.

Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman listens to a guide at the Sci-Tech Complex in Pyongyang, North Korea, last summer. Rodman was arrested Saturday on suspicion of DUI in Southern California. (Kim Kwang Hyon / Associated Press file)
Rodman checks into rehab after DUI arrest

His agent says he’s dealing with his longtime struggle with alcoholism.

Hau Tran sings as Vietnamese seniors eat at Homage’s Center for Healthy Living on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 in Lynnwood, Wa. Each weekday the center offers its room for various cultures to get together for activities and lunch while speaking their native languages. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Seniors of four cultures gather for food, fitness and fun

Homage’s Center for Healthy Living offers a venue for programs in the seniors’ native languages.

Most Read