Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane has been named as host of the 2013 Academy Awards, to be held February 24 in Los Angeles. Producers hope the raunchy adult-cartoon mogul can draw big ratings from a younger audience. But is he qualified to host the prestigious event? Here’s what you should know.
Singing numbers are a staple of good Oscars hosts (think Billy Crystal), and Seth has the chops. His 2011 big-band-style album Music is Better than Words (basically, he does his best Sinatra) drew two Grammy nods.
MacFarlane is no stranger to being the ringleader of high-profile ceremonies, but he’s usually tearing a new one for Charlie Sheen or David Hasselhoff, not catering to the snobs at the Academy Awards. There’s no denying he’s comfortable on stage.
3. He’s Coming off a Cinematic Success
MacFarlane is fresh off his first foray onto the big screen, Ted. It’s not exactly a best-picture candidate, but his directorial debut feature a chick-banging, pot-smoking bear was a box-office success.
4. He Brings a Young Audience
MacFarlane’s animated TV hit Family Guy hits the 18-34 demographic that every ad exec is desperate to target. The Academy is hoping MacFarlane will drag his legions of fans to a grown-up awards show.
5. The Academy’s Last Attempt at Using Hip, Young Hosts Sucked
The Academy hopes Seth will draw a younger audience and boost ratings. But in 2011 they had the same thought with co-hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco. It bombed, with brutal reviews, and ratings bottoming out at 37.6 million. They hope MacFarlane has the combination of youth appeal and slick delivery to appease the older set.
6. He’s a Big Fan of Steve Martin
Steve Martin has hosted the Oscars three times, including a joint-hosting with Alec Baldwin in 2010. MacFarlane calls Martin’s 1979 comedy The Jerk his favorite movie.
7. He’s the 1st Solo Host Since 1935 to be a Behind-Camera Guy
Most hosts are movie stars known for being on camera. Seth is primarily famous as a voice and not a face, with success coming as a creator and producer. The last such host was Frank Capra (in 1935), a three-time winner of the Oscar for Best Director.
8. Oscars Producers Call Him the “Consumate Host”
Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron released an official statement expressing their joy at landing MacFarlane:
We are thrilled to have Seth MacFarlane host the Oscars. His performing skills blend perfectly with our ideas for making the show entertaining and fresh. He will be the consummate host, and we are so happy to be working with him.
At the recent Emmy Awards, MacFarlane was on-stage as a presenter and famously went to the wrong side of the stage, where he spoke for a while before realizing he wasn’t mic’ed. Then he went to the right mic and cracked a joke in the voice of Family Guy character Stewie. Good save, Seth.
10. He Should Have Died on 9/11
Seth was scheduled to be on American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston to L.A. on September 11, 2001. He had a hangover, missed the plane, and avoided a fiery death when the plane crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.