So last Sunday the 85th Academy Awards happened, and they were marvelous. All you people who take the higher moral ground and refuse to watch the Oscars, you totally missed out. The show was ridiculous and cringe-worthy and hilarious. Honestly, it was by far more entertaining than actual movies I’ve seen this year. (Ahem, The Watch.)
But don’t worry. I’m not about to go through a play-by-play of Meryl Streep’s attempt to free her wedgie on national television or Jennifer Lawrence’s face plant, though they definitely were some of the show’s finer moments. Another highlight was the tacky use of the Jaws theme song to boot chatty Oscar winners off stage, especially when the crew who won Visual Effects for Life of Pi were trying to bring awareness to the plight of overworked and underpaid VFX houses. Well done, time wranglers.
And though it sounds like I’m just another hater, I do it because I care. Really. I love the Oscars. I loved Christoph Waltz’s classy acknowledgement of his fellow nominees. I loved Jennifer Hudson’s crazy awesome – and live! – performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” (Sorry, Catherine Zeta-Jones, but the jig is up.) And there wasn’t a single moment of Daniel Day-Lewis’s acceptance speech that I didn’t adore. Can he just win every year?
But what I’m beginning to realize is that the Oscars broadcast isn’t the real entertainment. It’s the scathing next-day review of whatever celebrity had the unfortunate honor of hosting it. And apparently singing a truly rousing rendition of “We Saw Your Boobs” is not enough to endear Seth MacFarlane to the Oscar-viewing public. Who knew?
Um… Anyone who has ever watched even five minutes of Family Guy, that’s who. People, this is the man who wrote a film about a beer-guzzling, pot-smoking, girl-ogling stuffed teddy bear. And guess what? That movie has grossed more than $200 million in the United States alone. So it should come as no surprise that MacFarlane would come to the Oscars with his finest and crassest jokes in tow.
Since that memorable performance, I’ve seen numerous headlines calling MacFarlane sexist, misogynistic, a rape glorifier… Seriously? Instead of pointing fingers at the guy who simply called out the fact that some actresses bared their breasts on camera, why not question the filmmakers who felt that seeing those breasts was necessary to conveying their stories? Talk about shooting the messenger. Not to mention the fact that those actresses were likely paid handsomely for their roles. Not to mention x2 that if you look closely at MacFarlane’s bit, the cutaways to Naomi Watts, Jennifer Lawrence, and Charlize Theron show them in attire different from what they wore to the Oscars. Meaning, they taped it ahead of time. Meaning x2, those women were in on the joke. Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.
So can we all just lighten up a bit? Look, I’m not saying that singing about women’s breasts is the creative choice I would have made had I been hosting the Oscars. And given the high esteem in which the Academy Awards are supposedly held, it did seem rather odd to do a song and dance number about boobies. I can only imagine what Fred Astaire or Audrey Hepburn would have thought had they been in attendance. That said, I have no doubt that those who were in attendance were more than happy to swap out their indignation for their $50K goody bags and call it a night.
What I don’t get is why people keep signing up for this gig. With the exception of the fabulous Ms. Fey and the magnificent Ms. Poehler – because obviously they can do no wrong – most celebrities get destroyed by the public after hosting an awards show. I don’t think that Seth MacFarlane is misogynistic, though he may very well be masochistic.
Whatever floats your boat, Seth.
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