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Tom Tangney

Seth MacFarlane tapped to host Oscars for musical talents, not snark

The organizers of Sunday night's Oscars have been extraordinarily tight-lipped about this year's show. So few details have slipped out about the ceremony, that a lot of attention has fallen on first-time host Seth MacFarlane.

MacFarlane is the funnyman behind the crazily popular animated show, "Family Guy." Not only does he write the show, he also famously does four of the characters' voices - Stewie, the baby, Peter the no-count Dad, Quagmire, a loser neighbor, and Brian, the dog.

"Family Guy" exhibits a wicked sense of humor and a love of all things pop culture, two traits that should serve him quite well as an Oscar host.

In fact, he's already skewered hundreds of celebrities including a number of actors and actresses nominated for Oscars this year, like Best Actor nominee Bradley Cooper.

MacFarlane's particularly enjoyed going after Ben Affleck in the past, a man who expects to have a big night on Sunday. He even has a version of how Affleck preps for a role.

In another Family Guy episode, Matt Damon is seen slaving away on the script for Good Will Hunting while Ben Affleck only lays around on the couch smoking pot and eating ice cream. Affleck and Damon, of course, shared an Oscar for the Good Will Hunting screenplay.

Given that he's also hosted a number of blistering Celebrity Roasts, of people like Charlie Sheen and Donald Trump for instance, MacFarlane must have been hired by the Oscars for his snarky wit, right?

Well, as it turns out - only partly. His mostly hidden talent is music and that, according to a story out in the March 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter, is really why the Oscar producers tabbed him. He's a heckuva singer.

MacFarlane, who idolizes Frank Sinatra, released an entire album of standards a couple of years ago and is a nominee for Best Song for his movie "Ted."

The producers say it was important that their host this year not only be funny - lots of hosts have been funny - but also be musically adept. And why? The Hollywood Reporter says Sunday's Oscar show will be first and foremost a celebration of music in the movies. And Seth MacFarlane will be our Music Man.

In keeping with that theme, there will be a number of musical firsts - Shirley Bassey will sing on the Oscar stage one of the most iconic theme songs of all time, "Goldfinger." And Adele will complement that with the first live version of her own Oscar-nominated James Bond song, "Skyfall."

You can't do a "music in the movies" show without Barbra Streisand who's booked to perform at the Oscars for the first time in over three decades. The producers also promise a tribute to the Broadway musical on celluloid by bringing back Oscar winners Catherine Zeta-Jones and Jennifer Hudson along with the chorus from Les Miserables.

One final musical wrinkle: Instead of ending the show with the Best Picture Oscar and a quick roll of credits, this year the show's close will be a big song and dance number starring Kristen Chenoweth and yes, Seth MacFarlane.

I can practically hear Stewie's review: "A horrid, horrid thing." But let's hope Stewie wrong.

Tom Tangney, KIRO Radio Host, Film & Media Critic
Tom Tangney is the co-host of The Tom and Curley Show on KIRO Radio and resident enthusiast of...everything. As the film and media critic on the Morning News on KIRO Radio, he espouses his love for books, movies, TV, art, pop culture, politics, sports, and Husky football.
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By day, you can hear Tom on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, and by night, he sits in the dark, making snide comments about what he sees on the silver screen.

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