Rookie Oscar host Seth MacFarlane lives up to provocative image
By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rookie Oscar host Seth MacFarlane casually slung a string of zingers at some of Hollywood's biggest names, including a musical tribute to female frontal nudity in the movies, as he launched the Academy Awards show on Sunday on a decisively provocative note.
In an opening monologue and package of song-and-dance numbers obviously calculated to live up to, and even lampoon, his own reputation for pushing the boundaries of taste, MacFarlane put his biting, edgy brand of humor front and center.
He started off joking that best-picture front-runner "Argo," about a real-life clandestine CIA operation to rescue American hostages from Iran, was "so top secret that the film's director is unknown to the Academy."
The barb was a not-so-subtle jab at members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for failing to nominate Ben Affleck as best director for the critically acclaimed film.
"They know they screwed up," MacFarlane added, as the camera panned to a shot of Affleck, looking somewhat uncomfortable in his seat. "Ben, it's not your fault."
The edgy quotient quickly escalated as MacFarlane described another best-film candidate, "Django Unchained," as the slavery-era "story of a man fighting to get back his woman who has been subjected to unthinkable violence - or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie."
The punch line reference to the physical abuse involved in the relationship between the two R&B singers - Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting Rihanna in 2009 - drew an audible groan from the star-studded Dolby Theatre audience.
"Oh, no, that's what we were afraid he would do," MacFarlane dead-panned. Continued...