There's a lot of people ragging on Seth MacFarlane today after hosting the 2013 Oscars, so I felt the need to write about my personal opinion. I don't have a lot of time, so I'll keep this short, include bullet points, won't be linking to sources and may have typos. First off, I'm not a huge Family Guy fan because I find the violence against women jokes deplorable. That said, I think MacFarlane and the team behind last night's Oscars did a magnificent job of not only hosting the show and staying classy, but also updating it for the next generation. The production included small touches that constantly uplifted the industry, while playing to the audience as film fans.
Some of my favorite touches:
- Trading in hot models handing out the awards for international film students was a brilliant way to honor the next generation of filmmakers;
- The comedic addition of the Jaws theme to "play them off" was a killer move, and I loved it;
- The not-so-subtle reminders of blockbuster film stars that didn't get nominated was absolutely hilarious and honest. Blockbusters are a huge part of the economy and need to be recognized;
- The Von Trapp Family Singers bit tickled my entire being. I'm insulted by anyone criticizing that sketch today;
- A dance number with Seth MacFarlane, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe? I giggled like an adorable little Japanese schoolgirl.
In all honesty, there were only two parts of the show I wasn't really impressed with; the Bond tribute, and the ode to Musicals. My reasoning:
- Bond music tribute: I was surprised how they wasted time with the intro montage, which was way too heavy on VFX and managed not to credit any of the composers. At first I thought they weren't crediting anyone because it was mostly John Barry (RIP), but then they played "Live and Let Die" by Paul and Linda McCartney with no mention of their names either. I also thought that Shirley Bassey was amazing, but felt like they could have done a lot more with her and the idea that this is a tribute to 50 years of Bond music. What were Nancy Sinatra, Tom Jones, and Duran Duran doing last night? Wouldn't it have been great if they did a montage of the greatest themes, with the montage video playing in the background and ended the tribute with a grand finale of Adele's Skyfall performance? Not a great use of time.
- Musical tribute: This was an even worse use of time than the Bond tribute. They felt the need to show loooong intros of every film and then FINALLY went into a performance from that film. I felt this could have been easily condensed with MUCH shorter intros and shorter versions of the songs, or even a creative weaving of the songs from the different musicals leading up to Les Misérables. Again, it just needed to be tighter.
All in all I think they did a fantastic job making an entertaining award show that got away from the stagnant old self-gratifying white guy Oscars of the past. This is exactly what the industry needed and MacFarlane did a wonderful job. It pleased me as a film buff and it touched me as someone working in the industry.