MacFarlane doesn't mince words at Oscars
Host Seth MacFarlane speaks onstage during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
With jokes about domestic violence, breast-baring actresses, picking up Sally Field and a presidential assassination, Seth MacFarlane certainly didn't go soft during his first turn as Oscars host.
MacFarlane has the good looks and suave manner of a typical show host, but he was a nontraditional choice for the Oscars. His creative calling card is behind-the-scenes work, as maker of the TV show "Family Guy" and movie "Ted." He tried to soften it with self-deprecation, but MacFarlane quickly proved a polarizing choice.
After MacFarlane appeared uncomfortable telling jokes in the opening monologue, he brought on William Shatner via video hook-up for an extended riff on Shatner as a time traveler appearing from the future trying to save MacFarlane from himself.
It sent MacFarlane into some high concept comedy. He was shown in a song and dance routine, backed by the Los Angeles Gay Men's Chorus, naming famous actresses and the films where they displayed their breasts. During a quick cutaway, Charlize Theron — one of the actresses named — did not appear amused.
Actors, from left, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, host Seth MacFarlane and Daniel Radcliffe perform during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
In another skit, scenes from the movie "Flight" were performed by sock puppets. An overly long skit — again designed to illustrate MacFarlane's "bad taste" — showed him wearing a Flying Nun costume in an attempt to pick up Sally Field backstage.
MacFarlane drew groans with a reference to pop stars Rihanna and Chris Brown, back together as a couple four years after a domestic violence incident involving the two.
Talking about the movie "Django Unchained," MacFarlane called it "the story of a man fighting to get back his woman, who's been subject to unthinkable violence. Or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie."
MacFarlane drew more groans from the audience during a discussion of the movie "Lincoln" and actors who had portrayed the 19th Century president.
"I would argue that the actor who really got inside Lincoln's head was John Wilkes Booth," MacFarlane said.
He seemed to anticipate and delight in the response. "150 years and it's still too soon, huh? I've got some Napoleon jokes coming up."