What a thankless job it is to host the Academy Awards. An honor, sure, but to hear how crappy you were the next day must be disheartening. It seems no one ever lives up to the hype. What’s the gold standard? Billy Crystal? Bob Hope? To me, as long as you are enthusiastic, look good on camera, don’t stumble through your lines, and don’t stumble across the stage, you’re fine.
I can’t say I am a fan of Seth MacFarlane’s humor (don’t care for family guy), but the fact of the matter is, he passed the test. Sure, there were some jokes in bad taste, but not many. And if you hire MacFarlane to do the job, shouldn’t you expect that? The host has to put in a lot of time, not just getting ready and knowing the cues, but that’s a long time to spend on stage. And your performance is being critiqued by professional actors. I saw somewhere he was criticized for self-promotion (talking about “Ted”), but shouldn’t this also be expected? After all, it was up for an Academy Award for Best Song.
Think about the presenters themselves. As much as I love Harrison Ford as an actor, he’s an awful presenter. Truly terrible. Dry and humorless as can be. Luckily, he was not on stage Sunday. Kristen Stewart looked like she was on drugs. I still can’t believe she played Snow White. Very few laughs from the presenters all around the other night. I can’t recall any funny skits like those in the past done by Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller. And I bet the host is unfairly judged on that as well. I mean, it was a fairly lackluster night as whole, but again, it’s not MacFarlane’s fault.
There is only one host I found truly awful, and that was Whoopi Goldberg. Her schtick is to come out on stage, stand there for awhile and look at the crowd with that “Look at me, I’m Whoopi” expression, nodding her head. And it gets a laugh. Not from this guy. Or how about when she wore giant Hobbit feet on stage? It was funny, because Whoopi wouldn’t do that, right?? Well, guess what? Neither would Elijah Wood or Sean Astin if they weren’t acting in the movie, so no, it wasn’t funny.
Let’s go easy on the hosts. I know I couldn’t be up there for so long and stay enthused. Heck, I thought even Letterman was fine. Change it up next year? Sure, why not. But you don’t have to say it was because Seth sucked. He was fine. Try walking in his shoes. Or Hobbit feet.