While the ratings increased three percent to 40.3 million—including an 11 percent uptick in the coveted 18-49 demo—for the telecast of the 85th annual Academy Awards, a pair of Oscar nominated actresses with deep Hollywood ties are none too thrilled with Seth MacFarlane’s performance as host.
Two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda (Klute, Coming Home), the daughter of Oscar winner Henry Fonda, fired the opening salvo, penning a recap of her Oscar night for her official website. After praising the song-and-dance skills of Charlize Theron, Channing Tatum, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, as well as Shirley Bassey’s towering rendition of “Goldfinger,” she launched into a harsh critique of MacFarlane—in particular the “We Saw Your Boobs” song he performed, which name-checked past Oscar nominees’ topless turns (including Jodie Foster’s during a gang-rape scene in The Accused), as well as a pretty tasteless jab he took at 9-year-old nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), joking, ““it’ll be 16 years before she’s too old" for George Clooney.
“What I really didn’t like was the song and dance number about seeing actresses boobs,” wrote Fonda. “I agree with someone who said, if they want to stoop to that, why not list all the penises we’ve seen? Better yet, remember that this is a telecast seen around the world watched by families with their children and to many this is neither appropriate or funny. I also didn’t like the remark made about Quvenzhane and Clooney, or the stuff out of Ted’s mouth and all the comments about what women do to get thin for their dresses. Waaaay too much stuff about women and bodies, as though that’s what defines us.”
And Jamie Lee Curtis, the daughter of Oscar nominee Tony Curtis (The Defiant Ones) and Janet Leigh (Psycho), penned an op-ed for The Huffington Post that was very critical of MacFarlane’s performance as well—especially the “We Saw Your Boobs” number.
“I was offended last week,” wrote Curtis. “As an Academy member, as the child of former Academy members and as a woman, I expected more from the best that the movie business has to offer. The Oscars are about honoring art and artists. It is not supposed to be a cheesy vaudeville show. The ‘boob’ song, as it will be known in perpetuity, may go down as the highest-rated Oscar number in history, but at what cost? I'm sure public executions would get big ratings too, but is that what the Oscars are truly about? Ratings? When did they turn into a ‘roast’? At least at a roast you know what's in store. What if actors and actresses stopped attending the Oscars because it was deemed open session to ridicule and parody them? Would the Academy be so cavalier then?"
She continued: “What we will be talking about is Seth's lack of class and a 14-year-old boy's derogatory word for one of the most beautiful, motherly and literally nurturing parts of the female form.”
MacFarlane’s performance has also come under fire from numerous culture critics, as well as two California state lawmakers.
Whether you loved him or hated him, MacFarlane won’t be returning to host again, he admitted last week on Twitter. And the rumor is that late night host Jimmy Kimmel is being courted to host the 2014 Oscars ceremony.
Don’t worry, ladies: he’s come a long way since co-hosting The Man Show.