By Jaime Weinman - Monday, February 18, 2013 - 0 Comments
Will the Oscar-hosting gig be the Family Guy creator’s stepping stone to onscreen superstardom?
Many performers have hosted the Academy Awards, but Seth MacFarlane, host of the 85th annual show, is something different: he’s not known for performances where he’s actually seen. As a TV creator and producer, MacFarlane became one of the most powerful people in show business thanks to the success of Family Guy, for which he also does many of the voices; he followed that up with two other animated series, then transitioned into live-action filmmaking by writing, directing and voicing Ted, one of 2012’s most popular comedies.
You wouldn’t think he had anything left to prove— being the highest-paid writer in TV with a reported salary of $33 million a year, and having influenced many other cartoons, such as Robot Chicken, a pop-culture parody created by Family Guy voice actor Seth Green. But recently, MacFarlane has been trying to get out in public—he hosted Saturday Night Live and sang at London’s Royal Albert Hall before landing the Oscar hosting job. It’s part of his attempt to go from animator to live-action star—and his colleagues think he can do it. “Watch this guy go,” says Family Guy and American Dad composer Ron Jones. “He will astound everyone.”
The transition from cartoonist to performer isn’t quite as strange as it might sound. Van Partible, creator of Johnny Bravo, the Hanna-Barbera cartoon where MacFarlane achieved early success as a scriptwriter, says, “the best cartoonists need to have a working knowledge of acting so that they can get their characters to perform and emote in a believable way.” Because of that link, many other writer-creators from the ’90s animation boom, such as Mike Judge (King of the Hill), are also vocal actors. But these other creators don’t usually try to separate themselves from the cartoon characters they play. Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park (who have bashed MacFarlane’s work on their show) accepted starring roles in the movie BASEketball after South Park took off. But the film bombed, and the pair settled for an offscreen role for their next project, achieving live-action success writing but not starring in the musical The Book of Mormon.
By Brian D. Johnson - Wednesday, January 14, 2009 at 9:00 AM - 7 Comments
Just when it seemed the award show couldn’t get worse, Hugh Jackman is chosen as host
As if we needed further proof that the Great Depression 2.0 is upon us, the producers of Hollywood’s most opulent showbiz extravaganza have decided that wit is a luxury item they can no longer afford. After two decades of hiring comedians to MC the Oscars, in a bid to revive plummeting ratings the Academy has chosen a hunk over a humorist. This year’s Oscar host is Wolverine. Or, as the multi-taloned X-Man is known outside his superhero franchise, Hugh Jackman.
Last year, the Oscars’ TV ratings sunk by 24 per cent to an all-time low. This should surprise no one. The TV audience is fragmenting. And by the time the Oscars roll around, we’ve seen so many trophies handed out—from the Golden Globes to the People’s Choice Awards—fatigue has set in. The Oscars may be the only awards that matter, but the show has become a pageant of robotic efficiency. The stars are so carefully coutured that no one makes wardrobe mistakes anymore, and spontaneity has been scripted out of existence. But instead of blaming the show’s lifeless production values, military pacing, and morbid tributes to the living dead, the Academy has ditched Jon Stewart—the sharpest MC it’s had in a while—and replaced him with a vapid pretty boy.