LOS ANGELES — If Seth MacFarlane was using Thursday's Academy Awards nominations announcement as a test-run for his Oscar show hosting patter, he might consider changing directions. Fast.
Early reviews of MacFarlane's jokes were strongly negative, with many critics saying the "Ted" and "Family Guy" maker favored insults over insights and belittled entire swaths of the creative community.
Rather than MacFarlane's coming across as amiable, the naysayers found him arrogant and nasty.
Twitter reaction was equally harsh. (MacFarlane is the only Oscar host to read the nominations since Charlton Heston in 1972.)
"Wow, after seeing Seth MacFarlane's smug, condescending presentation of the Oscar nominations this morning with Emma Stone, I can't wait for him to him to host the show itself — it may be one for the ages," wrote Ken Tucker on the Entertainment Weekly website. "David Letterman, you can probably stop making jokes about how much the movie industry disliked your host gig; a new winner in that category may reveal itself on Oscar night."
On The Atlantic Wire, Esther Zuckerman said many of MacFarlane's jokes landed with a thud, including remarks he made about the women nominated for supporting actress and a joke about Hitler: "I read 'Amour' was co-produced in Austria and Germany, right? The last time Austria got together and co-produced something it was Hitler, but this is much better," was MacFarlane's quip.
Said Zuckerman of MacFarlane's tactics: "It may (anger) a ton of people. Which could make for good entertainment, a la Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes."
On New York magazine's Vulture blog, Jesse David Fox wrote, "You could see MacFarlane struggling to figure out how to seem like the guy whose show had a baby putting horse semen on his cereal, but not actually offend the more conservative Oscar audience."