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Oscars 2013: Seth MacFarlane opens show with safe jokes, William Shatner, and song

But, hey, he made Tommy Lee Jones laugh

By Kate Erbland Feb 24, 2013 7:48PM
Oscar host Seth MacFarlane opened the award show with a well-received crack about making Tommy Lee Jones laugh. Almost unbelievably, he did. Congrats, Seth! You've already beat the Golden Globes and the show hasn't even been on for ten minutes!

MacFarlane continued his opening monologue with jokes about the portrayal of Hollywood in "Argo," how all those big Oscar wins for "The Artist" last year didn't spell instant stardom for leading man Jean Dujardin, Daniel Day-Lewis' Method tricks on the set of "Lincoln," and even a Rihanna/Chris Brown joke that drew groans and laughs from a surprised audience.

Bing: The Academy Awards | Seth MacFarlane

And then, well, William Shatner showed up on a video screen, in costume as Captain James T. Kirk, to warn MacFarlane about becoming "the worst Oscar host ever." With a direct line to "the future," Shatner bemoaned the fact that the awards couldn't be hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and tried to call MacFarlane off from performing a song presumably titled "We Saw Your Boobs." Through the magic of television, the entire song-and-dance number was on display, even as we tried to trick ourselves into believing it was a failed endeavor from the future. In that sense, it strangely succeeded. 

To stave off "Boobs" humor, MacFarlane trotted out Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum to perform an unexpectedly lovely and skilled choreographed dance to "The Way You Look Tonight." For anyone convinced that MacFarlane can't do class, that little ditty might have turned at least a few heads.

Shatner then showed MacFarlane (and, well, us) his next "future" trick - the movie "Flight" reenacted with sock puppets. Captain Kirk might have hated it, but the skit played like gangbusters. Jacked up on his newly found class, MacFarlane brought out Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe for another song and dance number, because why not?

The back-and-forth continued, with Shatner subjecting us to a skit involving MacFarlane dressed up as The Flying Nun, "disrespecting" nominee Sally Field. She said she was uncomfortable, and we were, too. MacFarlane's counter? More song-and-dance, this time to "Be Our Guest." Okay, okay, we get it - there is going to be a ton of singing this year.

The newbie host's monologue started off relatively safe, peppered with the kind of jokes most people have been making on Twitter and Facebook for weeks now, but the "Family Guy" creator ratcheted it up as he wound on, and the Shatner bit was unexpectedly smart and MacFarlane played to his (often forgotten) singing strengths. For months, people have wondered if MacFarlane would sink the show, and his willingness to poke fun at himself was greatly appreciate and surprisingly fun. And, hey, singing and dancing!

For all your Academy Awards needs, head on over to MSN Movies' full Oscar coverage.

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Feb 24, 2013 11:08PM
Seth did a great job. Period. Who cares if some people can't move on.
Feb 25, 2013 12:28AM
Women shocked at "We saw your Boobs"? Come on ladies you do. So don't be offended by a song over something you do in the movies. Far as the hosting it was great. It didn't drag. Shirley Bassey was awesome. The talent in the show was fantastic. Nice to hear people that can really sing. Shatner was a great touch. One of the better Oscar shows I have seen in a long time.
Feb 24, 2013 11:04PM

He was kind of vanilla; I was surprised.  But he was not the worst host by far.


Feb 25, 2013 9:19AM

I think he is gorgeous, witty and willing to poke fun at his own flubs. I am sure he was a bit nervous, even seasoned performers get nervous when they are live before a BILLION people... but it wasn't dull and actually seemed to move rather quickly especially since it ran over by almost an hour.


I laughed till I cried at the sock puppet version of "Flight".  All said and done, I think it was better than most and a lot better than some.... oh yes, and he has a great singing voice as well.

(And all the actresses were in on the joke about the boobs, so no harm, no foul, I was more offended by the "p" comment opening up the James Bond segment.)

Feb 25, 2013 8:46AM
I love how the story reads as though Macfarlane NEVER had any class at all and has never done anything worth while and that we should all be suprised that he did so well. The truth is, those of us not living under a rock or bucket or some other mental fortress of solitude all know to well how talented and classy this individual is. I'd be willing to bet that the reporter has no idea about Seth's AMAZING music carreer. He's got a voice like Sinatras, and he really knows how to use it!
Feb 25, 2013 9:12AM

For the first time in a number of years, I turned the broadcast off.  Seth's likeable enough and he clearly has talent...but his opening material just didn't work very well. 


I came back to watch later in the broadcast and he was doing fine...because he was hosting and not performing. 


It's a tough gig, after all.

Feb 26, 2013 10:02AM
Joke about Jean-Dujardin  wasn't funny at all. He is well-known in France and is making movies, including  'Mobius' that was just released some days ago. Not making movie in America doesn't mean he sucks or that  no one after the Artist wants him!! Anyway Mr.Seth should have done his home-work better since  Dujardin  was cast for Martin Scorsese movie, The wolf of wall street, with Dicaprio that was filmed last year. He will also be in a George CLooney movie    'The Monument'. By the way  movies takes time to make, so it would be difficult to make a movie per month and be seen everywhere to then be counted as famous and everywhere!!!  How many American oscars winner last year have been making lots of movies that you see them everywhere?!! Viola Davis, O.Spencer, M.Streep, they might be making movies, but I didn't hear much about them the whole year either. So, that 's why his joke on Dujardin was a bit mean and not funny at all. I think he was funny certain times, but not this one. 
Feb 25, 2013 7:44AM
Enough tasteless jokes (in Lincoln's head and his orgy comments while doing Ted) that it killed an otherwise decent night for me.  Guessing from his comment that Ben Affleck felt the same way.  Perhaps he'll be more polished when he gives up his toilet joke career and decides to hang with regular adults.
Feb 24, 2013 9:37PM
Billy Crystal was waaaaaaay better........but Seth wasn't too shabby!!!
Feb 24, 2013 9:51PM
I thought Seth was corny..and judging from some of the disgusted looks on some of the women's faces in the audience ... the  " I saw your boobs" skit was a FAIL, it wasn't funny at all, but was quite juvenile.
Feb 24, 2013 11:18PM
Please bring back Whoopi or Billy Crystal!! MCFarlane sucked!! He is an arrogant, tacky, no talent ****!!!  He totally ruined the oscars!!!!  PLEASE DON"T HAVE THIS ****  HOST NEXT YEAR!! TAKE HIM OFF!!! PLEASE!!
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