A night to remember
Posted on Mar 05, 2013 in News
“It was a night of surprises and competitions,” said Alessandra Stanley, a writer for The New York Times, but it was not the awards that kept audiences across the country on the edge of their seats.
Seth MacFarlane, creator of the hit Fox television show “Family Guy,” hosted the 85th annual Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 23. Since then, he has encountered mixed reactions for his “risky” humor dispersed throughout the event, with women’s, Jewish, and family organizations at the forefront of the criticism.
Among the jokes labeled overly offensive included a song and dance number entitled “We Saw Your Boobs,” in which MacFarlane listed several topless women depicted in various Hollywood films. A few of the women mentioned were Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Anne Hathaway, Halle Berry, and Scarlett Johansson.
However, some people, especially younger members of the audience, were fine with the song.
“I loved the boob song; I thought he was great,” said Jennifer Lawrence in a backstage interview, while still holding her Oscar for best actress in a leading role.
Two more jokes receiving substantial criticism were ones in which MacFarlane took a shot at the Chris Brown and Rihanna domestic violence case and the assassination of former President Abraham Lincoln.
“For Rihanna and Chris Brown, a couple with a history of domestic abuse, the super-violent Django Unchained was a date movie,” said MacFarlane, who would later say, “despite brilliant impersonations by Daniel Day-Lewis and Raymond Massey, the actor who really got inside Lincoln’s head was John Wilkes Booth.”
After an immediate mixed reaction from the audience about the President Lincoln joke, MacFarlane sarcastically remarked that even after 150 years, it’s still too soon.
“I like the Rihanna and Chris Brown joke,” said Cherryl Hall, a current UAB theater professor.
“I understand the John Wilkes Booth joke, and I don’t find it funny. Please don’t confuse that with being inappropriate or disrespectful, which I don’t think it is… It’s clever, not humorous,” she includes.
Another controversial moment in the show came when MacFarlane used his hosting status as an opportunity to advertise his recent movie, Ted, by briefly acting in character as the trash-talking teddy bear who advised Mark Wahlberg that “it’s best to become Jewish and donate to Israel if you want to work in Hollywood.”
“It wasn’t funny. It was ugly,” said Abraham H. Foxman director of the Anti-Defamation League.
The Parents Television Council also did not approve of MacFarlane’s performance on the national stage and have even begun circulating a petition to keep the Academy from inviting him to host again next year, according to E! News.
Although the Academy has not commented on the current petition created by the PTC, it did release a statement defending its choice in this year’s host, stating that the Oscars are “about creative freedom.”
They further supported their choice in MacFarlane by pointing to the Nielson Ratings, which revealed that the program drew approximately 40.3 million viewers, a three percent increase compared to the 39.3 million viewers last year.
Regardless of how everything plays out, MacFarlane stated the next night on his Twitter account that he enjoyed hosting the Oscars, but he will not return next year even if he gets invited back.