Seth MacFarlane announces film student search for 2013 Oscar presenters

Bryan Enk
Movie Talk

Here's a way you can go to the Oscars before you're even out of college ... and even hold one of the coveted golden statues, at that.

Seth MacFarlane looks to be bound and determined to lighten up the notoriously stuffy Academy Awards by bringing something of a "student film" vibe to the 2013 ceremony.

The "Family Guy" creator, who was announced as the host of next year's Oscars in October, is spearheading the Academy and mtvU's "The Oscar Experience College Search," a nationwide hunt for college students to be Oscar presenters at the 2013 ceremony. MacFarlane announced the exciting news during a surprise visit to a film course at the University of California Los Angeles on Friday morning.

"In re-imagining what we want the Oscar show to be, we wanted everyone appearing on that stage to feel a deep commitment to film and its legacy, and most importantly, its future," said Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. "That was the impetus in creating this special honor for young film students who will inspire a new generation to create the films that will be honored in the future."

MacFarlane himself expressed what an amazing opportunity this is for the students who will be selected. "For a film student to go to the Oscars and be a part of presenting is a huge break," he said.

This contest is right in line with what appears to be a revisionist approach to next year's Oscars. The annual awards ceremony has often been criticized for being run by Academy members who refuse to take any risks and are hopelessly behind the times, giving accolades to "safe," inoffensive films rather than those that truly test and push the boundaries of the craft. That template will probably never change, but choosing the guy who made this summer's raunchy "Ted" as host is a step in the right direction in at least making the Oscars a bit more, well, fun (if not relevant), and the Oscar Experience College Search shows evidence of some more than welcome outside-the-box thinking.

Film students can enter the contest on the Academy's Facebook page, which asks hopeful participants how they would contribute to the future of movies. The search will end on January 19 (four days after the Academy Award nominees are scheduled to be announced), after which at least six winners will be chosen as Oscar presenters.

The 85th Annual Academy Awards ceremony will take place on February 24.