Despite an increase in ratings (34% in the 18-34-year-old male demographic), and a welcome back invitation by 2013 producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, Seth MacFarlane tweeted fans yesterday that he is too busy to host the Oscars again.
Seth does have a lot on his plate; a new TV show, Dads, a western comedy, A Million Ways to Die in the West, starring Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, and Sarah Silverman, a sequel to the 2012, $395 million grossing comedy, Ted, are all in the works. Who needs the extra sleepless nights, or the potential of bombing on such a high-profile gig? At some point, the risks simply outweigh the rewards.
The LA TIMES quoted Alec Baldwin, who co-hosted the 2010 Oscars with Steve Martin to ho-hum reviews, as saying, “Everyone who has hosted the Oscars lately has been crucified. They’re not going to be able to get anybody who is reasonably talented or special to take a chance anymore.”
Though MacFarlane’s audience was 21 million viewers larger than the 2013 Golden Globes, hosted by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, many, if not most, critics had little positive to say about the Family Guy creator. MacFarlane’s song and dance number “We Saw Your Boobs” landed with a thud, with Jane Fonda and Jamie Lee Curtis among those voicing outrage. Perhaps tongue in cheek, MacFarlane suggested Joaquin Phoenix – who famously lambasted the awards show prior to this year’s event.
When the LA times asked Tina Fey if she’d be willing to take on the Oscars, Fey was reluctant. “It’s really a difficult room. High levels of stress are shooting out of everyone there. The Golden Globes are much less pressure. It’s an exhibition game for the real season.”
Seth MacFarlane isn’t the only comedian who has ruffled feathers at the Oscars. Jon Stewart, David Letterman, and Chris Rock all found the effort was not particularly worth their trouble. “The prestige is enticing,” said James Franco (co-host with Anne Hathaway in 2011), ‘”but if you don’t host the way they think you should, the critics never stop talking about it.”
The Academy may have struggled to find consistency recently, but that hasn’t always been the case. Billy Crystal has managed to please the critics, hosting the Oscars nine times from 1990 to 2012. Johnny Carson never failed to delight the audience, hosting 5 times from 1979 to 1984. Bob Hope hosted and co-hosted 14 times with high praise.
So who are the early candidates for 2014? Amy Poehler has not yet given a definitive no. Jimmy Kimmel is being considered, as is Jimmy Fallon, Neil Patrick Harris, Queen Latifah, and Justin Timberlake.
The 86th Academy Awards are scheduled for March 2, 2014.