On Monday, news broke that Seth McFarlane, the creator of “Family Guy” and director of the movie “Ted,” will be hosting the Oscars. My precious Oscars. I’ve been an avid fan of movies as long as I can remember, and the Oscars have always been my favorite night of television because I love the glamour and glitz of Hollywood, but most importantly, I want to see whether or not my favorite films get the awards I want so badly for them.


Just like guys like to play Fantasy Football, I have an Oscar pool every single year where I predict who will win, who should win, and what film will garner the most Academy love. The only problem with my favorite award show is the hosts and the importance the show puts on them. Bob Hope was a beloved Oscar host, running the show for 17 times, starting in 1939 when “Gone with the Wind” swept the show. Hope hosted the show several years concurrently, with a streak of four hosting jobs in the 30’s and the 60’s. Hope’s last hosting gig was in 1977, when “Annie Hall” took the Best Picture Oscar.

Billy Crystal has also been a perennial favorite for the hosting job, being the front man nine times, starting in 1989 and just recently, last year’s Oscars. Recently though, the ratings for the Oscars have been on a slow decline, and most critics point to the host as the blame. Within the past ten years, hosts have included the delightful Ellen Degeneres, the inappropriate Chris Rock, Steve Martin, “The Daily Show’s” host Jon Stewart, Hugh Jackman, and Alec Baldwin. In 2010, the Oscars hit a new low when they tried to energize the show with young actors James Franco and Anne Hathaway taking hosting duties. The show’s ratings tanked, with Franco seeming extremely uncomfortable throughout the entire telecast and Hathaway trying to save face. Billy Crystal hosted last year’s show, and the Oscars’ return to the formula that works seemed to be a little stale. This year, however, the Academy has chosen Seth McFarlane to host the Oscars. Audience members can expect his pop culture-referencing style of humor, with some inappropriate jokes here and there. The question is whether or not the Oscars will allow Seth McFarlane to be Seth McFarlane. In the vane of Rickey Gervais hosting the Emmys a few years ago, the people putting on the Oscar telecast may hope McFarlane brings the added zing of political incorrectness to spice everything up. The other option is whether the Academy will tame McFarlane. I can imagine an Oscarcast with McFarlane singing some sort of old Broadway tune with PG jokes that go over like a lead weight with the audience.

Anyway, the importance of a great host is essential to the ratings of the Academy Awards every year, with critics chomping at the bit to tear apart the show the next day. The Oscars themselves have gotten a little old and almost irrelevant because oftentimes, the best picture (at least in my opinion and some critics) doesn’t always go to the best movie that year. I’ll save my rant about 1998’s Best Picture not going to ‘Saving Private Ryan” or “Crash” winning in 2005 for later, but in order to keep the show relevant and interesting, it shouldn’t just lie on the host’s shoulders only. The performances could be flashier with bigger stars, not just the nominees for Best Song. Maybe the Academy Awards needs to loosen up its tie a little and unbutton the tuxedo jacket, like the Golden Globes. Everything seems a little stuffy, when it should be Hollywood’s biggest party. The Oscars have lost their sense of fun because the Academy takes itself too seriously, year after year. If McFarlane falls flat, it shouldn’t mean the show does.


Whitney Cyr can be contacted at


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