Beleaguered Oscar host Seth MacFarlane made no secret leading up to the show that this year’s gig was a one-and-done proposition. So Tuesday’s tweet to a follower’s inquiry about a return engagement -- “No way. Lotta fun to have done it, though” -- wasn’t a surprise.
If anything, it could be seen either as MacFarlane’s way of washing his hands of the Academy and its deadly serious awards show or reassuring haters that they wouldn’t have him to kick around anymore. “Do me a favor and don’t read the press tomorrow,” MacFarlane told guests at a West Hollywood after-party following the show. “They’re going to do to me what they did to [2011 co-host James] Franco.”
Of course, MacFarlane had been predicting the bad reviews long before his opening monologue time-travel bit with William Shatner. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he joked that Golden Globes co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler would run the Oscars next year and receive adoring reviews. MacFarlane followed that prediction by telling CNN that critics love everything about Poehler and Fey. “If I had one review for anything in my career as good as their worst review, for that I would be a happy man,” he said.
After the Oscars, obviously, MacFarlane will have to keep trying for that particular shining review. This, even though he did (or helped do, anyway) exactly what the Academy hired him to do: bring in younger viewers. Ratings this year were up 11% in the 18 to 49 demographic, the group advertisers dig the most.
So will the Academy follow MacFarlane’s advice and go after Fey and Poehler? It’s an obvious call, perhaps too obvious in the sense that pursuing them would all but admit that the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. had, once again, put on a better show this year.
A Fey-Poehler combo might also be unlikely because of the time commitment involved in hosting the Oscars. Blocking out multiple months on the calendar to devote to planning, writing and rehearsals is problematic for one top talent, much less two. Finding a host with an open work window, not to mention a willingness to come under intense media scrutiny, makes the Academy’s annual job hunt a difficult task.
Perhaps, then, we should offer just three words of advice -- Neil Patrick Harris -- so we can all move on, get an early start and right the wrongs of this year’s show.