Well, that didn't work.
Despite the valiant efforts of Adele,
And we had such hopes. The choice of
Then the show began.
Or tried to begin. After a few jokes that carefully pushed a few buttons — the story of
Here's the thing about making a joke about bombing at the Oscars: For the joke to work, you really need to avoid doing that. As expected, MacFarlane was occasionally crude and mildly offensive; unfortunately, he wasn't very funny. Which is a pretty big problem for a comedian and one not at all mitigated by playing up the possibility of being named the worst host in history.
His opening included three song and dance numbers (one simply a musical list of female performers who have bared their breasts called "We Saw Your Boobs") and an adaptation of the film
Oh, wait a minute, those two hosted already, with mixed results; maybe if they did it together this time.
Never as entertaining as the Tonys, and recently in danger of being eclipsed by the Grammys or even the
So it isn't fair to blame MacFarlane entirely for the slog much of Sunday night proved to be. From the moment producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced that this year's show would be "a celebration of music," storm clouds murmured uneasily over the Dolby. Yes, everyone wanted to hear Adele sing her nominated song
But just because Zadan and Meron also produced "Chicago" and "Smash" is no reason for the show to be interrupted halfway through by a "tribute to Hollywood musicals" that consisted of "Chicago's"
So consumed were the producers with the arrangement of all the musical numbers (including a closing number by MacFarlane and Kristin Chenoweth) that Zadan and Meron forgot the essential truism of their business: It's all in the timing and the presentation. The decision to introduce the best picture nominees in groups of three throughout the show forced the presenters to deliver laundry-list descriptions of each, which leeched the drama from the film clips and made even
Much was made of reassembling the cast (minus Thor and Black Widow) of "The Avengers," but the five guys who showed didn't have much to do. In fact, the writing for the presenters was so bad that even
Surprisingly, however, many of the winners came through with touching and/or funny speeches. The below-the-line folks are invariably the best prepared, and Adele, mercifully brief in thanking those behind the song "and my man," was a treat. This time around some of the big winners came through as well, notably
Actually, he'd make a decent enough host for next year. If Amy, Tina and the sock puppets can't do it.