Critics Give Macfarlane Tepid Approval
Critics gave Oscar host Seth MacFarlane OK reviews for his work Sunday night, , which, unlike his predecessors, left him attracting neither passionate raves nor slams. Typical was film critic Mick LaSalle's take in the San Francisco Chronicle. In an 889-word summary of the night's proceedings, he devoted just 36 words to MacFarlane's performance: Seth MacFarlane turned out to be a respectable Oscar host, anarchic and occasionally quite funny, and yet urbane in a way that somehow feels necessary for this show. But he was probably not to everyone's taste. Likewise, Hank Steuver remarked in the Washington Post that MacFarlane did a fairly middle-of-the-road job as host on a fairly middle-of-the-road telecast. ... What you got was a combination of sicko and retro, an Oscar show hosted by someone who waited until Oscar night to discover that he's only so-so at stand-up comedy. But Tim Goodman in the Hollywood Reporter thought that MacFarlane -- an unknown to most of the public -- emerged from the telecast unscathed. I'd argue that with the deck stacked very much against him, MacFarlane did impressively better than one would have wagered, he wrote. The AP's Frasier Moore gave MacFarlane his best review. MacFarlane seized the camera Sunday as host of ABC's Oscarcast and proved to its vast audience that he's a ridiculously versatile entertainer, a guy who can be as charming as he is famously irreverent, even polarizing, he wrote. Power blogger Nikki Finke, who trumpeted that she would be live-snarking the Oscar telecast, gave MacFarlane his worst review: As the show began she wrote. Uh-oh. Seth MacFarlane opens the show with a lame joke. No one laughs. He does an impression. No one knows who he's imitating. Does this guy even have any experience doing standup? Obviously not. This is one of the lamest show openings I've ever watched. ... Thank God, William Shatner (as Capt. Kirk) is saying what I'm thinking; 'The show is a disaster.' And I agree with that newspaper headline [Captain Kirk is looking back on the show from the future], 'Seth MacFarlane Is Worst Oscar Host Ever.' But Robert Bianco concluded in USA Today: If MacFarlane's act was often flat and self-conscious, he did at least put obvious thought and effort into it. That's more than can be said for, say, James Franco, just in case MacFarlane really is worried that the 'Worst Host Ever' joke headline he put on screen might actually come true. 'Best ever' may be out of reach, too.