We’re just a few days away from the Oscars, and the arguments about Argo and Lincoln and Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain are only getting louder. At some point or another, the Cinema Blend writers have either campaigned for or against every single Best Picture nominee, but in our personal meetings, there’s actually one debate that seems to crop up more than any other. Will Seth MacFarlane be great or godawful on Sunday?
After dozens of arguments and untold numbers of angry glares, CB scribes Mack Rawden and Kristy Puchko decided to debate it out on GChat. Their (friendlier than expected) conversation is published below. Read it over, scroll to the bottom of the page and vote in the poll to let us know how you think Seth will do on Sunday…
Mack: There are two reasons I can't wait for the Academy Awards on Sunday. First, there's more nominated films I can actually talk about with friends and family members than just about any year I can remember, and second, I am seriously stoked for Seth MacFarlane to host. I expect the ceremony to be one of the funniest and highest rated nights in recent memory.
Kristy: Wow. You make a great point about the nominees. I hadn't thought about it, but even my friends and family who go to the movies like once or twice a year are at least familiar with all the nominees this year...well, maybe not Amour. But I couldn't disagree with you more about my expectations of MacFarlane. I am actually dreading his MCing.
Mack:: What is it about him that you're not sold on?
Kristy: I think his sense of humor is totally wrong for the Oscars. His whole schtick is smug and cynical, and often flat-out sophomoric. I'm all for bringing some humor into the Oscars, but I think he's the wrong person to do it.
Mack: I see where you're coming from, but I actually think he's the exact right person for the ceremony. The Oscars are a formal event and his humor can be a bit sophomoric. I will give you that ,but MacFarlane himself is actually a very presentable guy. He's the gent in the polished tux that orders his steak rare and whispers a dick joke in your ear a few seconds later. That's why I like him in this role. He has the poise and elitism to pass for someone who should be there; yet, he has the wicked sense of humor and aggression needed to cut people down a peg. Someone like Jon Stewart comes across as a comedian trying to class up. I suspect MacFarlane will come across as a formal host who just so happens to have a biting sense of humor.
Kristy: He cleans up nice, I'll give you that. But I have to admit you lose me with your steak and dick joke comment. That just sounds awful to me. I've been against the Academy picking him from the start, feeling he is an obvious attempt to lure younger audience members. That's even a joke in one of his Oscar promos. But having seen the string of ads they've been running that are meant to be funny, I've become more convinced he will be a dud. The jokes in each of the promos feel obvious and dated. In The Matrix one, he makes a Viagra joke. Bad omens.
Mack: James Bond offering aside, those promos have been godawful. To be honest, they've taken me from 95% confidence in MacFarlane to 85% confidence in MacFarlane, but here's what I keep telling myself: almost every promo I've ever seen for Saturday Night Live has been horrible. Lorne Michaels and company have been putting on a live show for almost forty years, and they still can't figure out how to sell a host. So, I can't lose sleep over the fact that the Oscar committee hasn't properly sold Seth. As for the skewing younger thing, I think younger demographics might tune in, but I really don't think he's going to go that lowbrow. What I meant by steak and whispered dick jokes is that I suspect MacFarlane will not come out guns a blazing. I think we'll get a very efficient and clean ceremony with a lot of pace that features occasionally biting comments.
Mack: Are you concerned he's going to turn this into live action Family Guy with a serious lack of taste?
Kristy: I think he has a serious lack of taste. He is low-brow and proud of it. While I think the Oscars need a host that can be playful and silly, I don't think low-brow needs to enter into it. I've seen episodes of each of his TV shows and Ted, so I have zero faith that he'll be expected to do anything less than be a cynical showman.
Kristy: And I detest cynicism.
Mack: I see why you don't trust MacFarlane. Hell, part of me doesn't trust him either. Sometimes his taste level is sketchy, but I have faith in him because I think he's a funny, high class guy who is incredibly intelligent. He's not Peter Griffin. He might appeal to working class seventeen-year-olds, but he's actually an elitist, privileged prick. I truly think he's going to recognize the occasion and alter his sense of humor in order to be a charming, efficient and cunning host with an asshole streak on Sunday. To paraphrase his For Your Consideration debacle, I think he'll go over very well with the "Brentwood Jews".
Kristy: I'd hope he'd do something different from what I suspect he will, but I've seen no evidence to show he won't be a snarky showboat. And that puts me off. The Oscars aren't about the MC, and I don't think MacFarlane will recognize that.