Oscars 2013: Seth MacFarlane's Monologue Features William Shatner, Dancing and Chris Brown (Video)
The first-time host took shots at Rihanna's controversial boyfriend and the Academy's snub of Ben Affleck, then got some help from a "Star Trek" legend.
For a first-time Oscars host, Seth MacFarlane didn't seem the least bit nervous.
The Family Guy creator and Ted director opened with a joke about trying to make best supporting actor Tommy Lee Jones laugh -- pulling off the rare feat of squeezing a smile out of the veteran actor in the process. He then launched into a monologue.
On Argo's Ben Affleck getting snubbed for a best director nomination: "The film is so top secret that the film's director is unknown to the Academy. They know they screwed up."
On Hollywood's shell companies and funky fiduciary reports: "Studio accountants have never had to work harder to prove nothing made a profit."
On the benefit (or lack thereof) of winning an Oscar: "Jean Dujardin won best actor for The Artist, and now, he's everywhere."
To Daniel Day-Lewis: "You were 100 percent in character as Lincoln, 24/7. … So if you saw a cell phone, would you have to be like, 'Oh my God, what's that?' If you bumped into Don Cheadle on the studio lot, did you try to free him?"
The plot of Django Unchained: "This is a story about a man fighting to get back his woman who has been subjected to unspeakable violence. Or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie."
Also this: "A lot of controversy about the use of the N-word in the film. I'm told the screenplay is based on Mel Gibson's voicemail."
On Jennifer Lawrence, who earned some flak for a joke she made when accepting a Golden Globe. "She told me whether she wins or loses, she told me it's just an honor that Meryl Streep wasn't nominated."
Another 2013 Globes reference: "Tonight's ceremony is being watched by over a billion people worldwide. Which is why Jodie Foster will be up here later to ask for her privacy."
All of a sudden, William Shatner -- squeezed into his old Star Trek uniform -- appeared on a video screen to stop MacFarlane in the midst of his monologue. From there, it got meta and self-referential, in a classic Family Guy sort of way.
"The show's a disaster," Shatner said. "I've come back in time from the 23rd century to stop you from destroying the Academy Awards. … Your jokes are tasteless and inappropriate, and everyone ends up hating you. Why couldn't they just get Tina [Fey] and Amy [Poehler] to host the show? You sing an incredibly offensive song that offends all the actors in the audience."
The gag was that Shatner would show something inappropriate that MacFarlane did, then display the subsequent angry news headline. He'd then give him a better idea, which improved the headline. It was like a self-aware Back to the Future without the charm of Michael J. Fox.
Shatner threw to video of MacFarlane singing a little show tune called "We Saw Your Boobs," singling out the top actresses and the films in which they dropped their tops. This, the erstwhile Capt. Kirk said, would earn him the title of worst host ever. And so, upon Shatner's advice, MacFarlane went more positive with his next song, belting out "The Way You Look Tonight" and inviting Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron onstage to ballroom dance.
From there, there was a sock puppet re-enactment of Flight -- Shatner said that was a disaster -- and another dance number between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Daniel Radcliffe, which he gave the thumbs up.
It just kept going; next came a segment that saw MacFarlane sexually harass Sally Field, and another musical number in which the host crooned that he was there "to put your patience to the test," which might have been the most on-point moment of the entire monologue.