Seth MacFarlane gets the Oscars started with "We Saw Your Boobs." (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
"Tonight, for the first time, the Oscars have a theme," Seth MacFarlane said at the start of this year's Academy Awards, adding that Sunday night's show would be celebrating the marriage of film and music. Moments later, the host was cavorting around the stage singing a song that seemed pulled from the writers room at his animated series "Family Guy" rather than one built for the regal Oscar proceedings.
"We saw your boobs," MacFarlane cheerily sang, a performance William Shatner, who was dressed as Capt. James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise but acting more like he was playing a parody of himself on "Saturday Night Live," promised would offend "a lot of the actresses in the audience."
One by one, MacFarlane checked off actresses and the films in which they have gone bare. Naomi Watts in "Mulholland Drive," Anne Hathaway in "Brokeback Mountain," Charlize Theron in "Monster," Jodie Foster in "The Accused." Kate Winslet in "whatever you're shooting right now."
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Some looked more game to the routine than others. Lead actress nominee Watts gave a frozen stare that's already been immortalized in .gif form, while her competitor in the category, Jennifer Lawrence, gave a heroic arm pump after MacFarlane sang, "We haven't seen Jennifer Lawrence's boobs at all."
Theron didn't look pleased either, but it was clear that all was forgiven -- or that she was at least in on the gag -- when she appeared onstage moments later with MacFarlane and Channing Tatum to gamely dance while the host sang the 1936 Oscar-winning "Swing Time" song "The Way You Look Tonight."
MacFarlane, who himself released an album of jazz and swing traditionals with 2011's "Music Is Better Than Words," has peppered his series "Family Guy" with references to classical musicals, albeit with a sardonic twist. Songs such as "This House Is Freakin' Sweet!" have been compared to productions in "Annie," while animated barbershop quartets have delivered such news as "You Have AIDS."
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MacFarlane's opening attempted to strike a similar balance between reverence and the profane. In addition to the word "boobs," the opening also included MacFarlane, Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a gamely trio singing and dancing to "High Hopes," from 1959's "A Hole in the Head." Fun fact: Both "High Hopes" and "The Way You Look Tonight" were sung by Frank Sinatra.
There was also a bit with Sally Field that poked fun at her days in "The Flying Nun," and in which MacFarlane declared that Adele would soon be "shouting at the audience." It all came to a close with an Oscar-referencing rendition of "Be Our Guest."
There was plenty of music in this opening monologue, but coming after months of the film academy promising fans and viewers that this year's show would take music seriously -- not since 2009, for instance, have five songs been nominated for original song -- all this really proved is that MacFarlane is in tune with "boob" jokes.
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