NEW YORK – The love-him-or-hate-him reaction to Seth MacFarlane’s turn as Academy Awards host is evidence that one of the most high-profile jobs in show business is becoming one of its most thankless.
The “Family Guy” creator and first-time Oscars host seemed unusually preoccupied with his reviews both before and during Sunday’s show.
He predicted he’d be ripped apart and he was, particularly on social media. He also had his fans, with many suggesting the academy got precisely the kind of performance it expected and wanted in hiring someone known for his subversive, even crude humor.
As is often the case with the Oscars, the major awards themselves – “Argo” as best picture, Daniel Day-Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence as top actors – hewed closely to preshow predictions.
The host’s performance is the most unpredictable element, and it seems the negative experiences have the most mileage.
David Letterman’s awkward 1995 turn is well-remembered, most of all by him. Chris Rock tried to bring some edge in 2005 and fell flat. James Franco and Anne Hathaway’s snoozefest in 2011 is still being talked about.
The Oscars returned last year to the tried and true – eight-time host Billy Crystal – and faced criticism that the reliable had become the stodgy.
To some ears, MacFarlane’s material – which included a song-and-dance number about breast-baring actresses, a domestic-violence joke involving Rihanna and Chris Brown, and references to Mel Gibson’s racial slurs – didn’t make the grade.
“If you’re going to the edge, you have to be funny,” said comic Joy Behar on “The View” Monday. “To me, I love Seth, but it wasn’t funny enough.”
Behar’s colleague, Whoopi Goldberg – a four-time Oscars host – had a bit more empathy, noting that people in MacFarlane’s position have a tough line to walk.
The Oscars can’t force a younger audience to be interested just by hiring a younger host, she said, and a younger host has to know the audience that is out there.
The Nielsen Co. said an estimated 40.3 million people watched the Academy Awards on Sunday, up 1 million from last year and the first time since 2010 that the show topped the 40 million mark. More importantly for ABC, ratings for the 18-to-49-year-old demographic were up 11 percent over 2012. That’s the age group upon which ABC bases its advertising rates.
Jackson married in secret once again
NEW YORK – Janet Jackson knows how to keep a secret: The singer has been married since last year.
A representative for Jackson confirmed Monday that the musician and Wissam Al Mana wed last year.
This is Jackson’s second secret marriage. She secretly married Rene Elizondo Jr. in 1991. They separated in 1999.
The 46-year-old Jackson first tied the knot when she was 18 to singer James DeBarge, which lasted three months in 1984.
In a joint statement to Entertainment Tonight, Jackson and Al Mana said their wedding was a “quiet, private and beautiful ceremony.”
The couple also said they would like privacy and “are allowed this time for celebration and joy.”
Hammer says he got bad rap from arresting officer
DUBLIN, Calif. – A sheriff’s department spokesman in Northern California says a police officer stopped and then arrested MC Hammer because the ’90s rap star was driving a car with expired registration and refused to get out of the vehicle.
Lt. Herb Walters of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Monday that Hammer was “very argumentative” during the traffic stop late Thursday. He said it’s unclear who owns the car.
Hammer eventually came out of the car and was arrested for investigation of obstructing an officer in the performance of his duties.
Hammer, who was born Stanley Burrell, has offered a different account, suggesting he was the victim of racial profiling. He tweeted on Saturday that the officer asked him if he were on parole or probation and tried to pull him out through the car window.