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In a press release earlier today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that Seth MacFarlane, creator of hit animated shows Family Guy and American Dad, has agreed to host the 85th Annual Academy Awards. MacFarlane will work alongside first-time telecast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (previously producers on musicals like Chicago and Hairspray) and third-time director Don Mischer.
Generally known for his work on television, MacFarlane made his feature-film directorial debut this summer with Ted, which has turned into an international box-office smash (over $420 million grossed worldwide). MacFarlane is also quite comfortable with performing live; besides hosting the season premiere of Saturday Night Live just a few weeks ago, he has played to sell-out audiences at Carnegie Hall and London’s Royal Albert Hall.
The choice of MacFarlane immediately conjures up images of last year’s intitial hiring of Brett Ratner as telecast director last year, though he ultimately quit the gig. It wouldn’t be the first time that the Academy, desperate to get younger and hipper, reached out to the nearest popular under-50 celebrity regardless of how that choice meshed with the steadfastly old-fashioned sensibility of the Oscars (everyone, unfortunately, remembers the James Franco incident).
But the man behind Peter Griffin might be a better fit than it first appears. Family Guy viewers will know that MacFarlane has a weakness for song-and-dance routines, which obviously goes right along with Zadan and Meron’s musical experience. Best-case scenario, the Academy is probably hoping for an edgier version of Billy Crystal. In any case, you can bet that Mark Wahlberg and a certain CGI teddy bear will be on hand to present at least one award come February 24, 2013.