TV funny guy Seth MacFarlane will play to his biggest audience yet as host of the 85th annual Academy Awards. Awardscast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron made the surprise announcement Monday.
MacFarlane's name had not been among those mentioned when considering who would get this high profile gig. Indeed, given the background of Zadan and Meron in musicals, speculation had focused on versatile talents like Queen Latifah and Hugh Jackman.
However, MacFarlane is also a multi-hyphenate. He created the animated hit "Family Guy" and gives voice to many of its characters. He has been nominated for 13 Emmys, winning two. He is also a musicmaker with his debut album, "Music Is Better Than Words," vying for two Grammys last year. And his feature film debut, "Ted," which he co-wrote, directed and did the voice of the title character, was a smash hit this summer.
He hosted the 2010 edition of the WGA Awards (see highlight reel below). And, at last Sunday's Emmys, MacFarlane proved he could handle the demands of a live kudocast. When he walked out to present Best Reality Host, he took his place in front of a non-working microphone. He quickly fessed up to his mistake, saying in the voice of "Family Guy" character Stewie Griffin, "This is what happens when you don't come to rehearsal. That's gonna be on YouTube."
For their part, Zadan and Meron said, "We are thrilled to have Seth MacFarlane host the Oscars. His performing skills blend perfectly with our ideas for making the show entertaining and fresh. He will be the consummate host, and we are so happy to be working with him."
MacFarlane said, "It's truly an overwhelming privilege to be asked to host the Oscars. My thoughts upon hearing the news were, one, I will do my utmost to live up to the high standards set forth by my predecessors; and two, I hope they don't find out I hosted the Charlie Sheen Roast."
And academy president Hawk Koch added, "Seth is unbelievably talented. We couldn't be happier with the creative team we've assembled. With Craig, Neil, and now Seth, we're off to a great start."