Hype has surrounded this year's Oscars host funnyman Seth MacFarlane, much as it would any first-time host. The brains behind TV animation hit Family Guy has comedy chops, good looks and celebrity pals behind him, but it has to be tough following awards show veteran Billy Crystal of last year's Oscars, or dynamic duo Tina Fey and Amy Poehler of this year's Golden Globes.
Still, MacFarlane came out swinging, working the stage like he's been doing this for years. Proving he's the right host for the job, he provided witty repertoire and good-natured ribbing. Some of it drew cringes, but most of them hit their mark as he elicited laughter. He has said that he wanted to liven up the usually monotonous awards show. Do you think he did?
Here are five good reasons why his Oscar stint was a success.
1. Eye candy
Let's face it; Billy Crystal can't quite match Seth MacFarlane in a suit. MacFarlane is not usually in front of the camera, but tonight he looked the part of a leading man - quite appropriate since he is the face of the 85th Academy Awards. The oft-scruffy star cleans up nice, and he was donning his best suit today. It's too bad his stunning girlfriend Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones wasn't with him onstage, but at least for tonight, MacFarlane was pretty enough in the spotlight for both of them.
2. Opening zinger
"Welcome to the Oscars. The quest to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh begins now," MacFarlane said.
One may say it is only the first line, but the first words an Oscars host utters set the tone for the entire night. Fortunately for MacFarlane, his were funny, inoffensive and met with hearty chuckles, even from the zinged himself. The camera panned to Jones, who actually laughed good-naturedly. The famous actor was known for keeping a deadpan face all throughout this year's hilarious Golden Globes.
3. Musical numbers
No one needs a musical number, but it sure perks up the crowd. This year, MacFarlane tapped other young, talented celebrities to perform with him in song-and-dance numbers. Along with Joseph Gordon Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe, he took to the stage armed with a song about actresses baring their breasts onscreen. The subject may be a tad inappropriate for some in the audience - Charlize Theron did not look particularly amused - but most appreciated the hilarity. Not to mention it is always a treat to watch MacFarlane, Levitt and Radcliffe sing and dance.
4. Star Trek
MacFarlane displays his inner geek by accepting some help from William Shatner as Captain Kirk from Star Trek. The veteran actor appeared onscreen from the future, telling the Oscar host he will be declared the worst host of the prestigious awards show, ever. MacFarlane proceeds with hosting duties to prove he is not. After all, even if he bombs this golden opportunity, it's hard to imagine him doing worse than James Franco.
5. A good mix of oddity
Sock puppets, make-out sessions with Sally Fields, jokes at Chris Brown and Rihanna's expense - not all are entirely tasteful, but it provides the 85th Oscars night with some controversy. MacFarlane seems to understand the right mix of scandal onstage: enough to make headlines, but not too much that it totally crashes the prestigious event.
One thing's for sure, if there's a tally of winners and losers in this year's Oscars, there should be room for Seth MacFarlane in the winner's circle.
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