Seth MacFarlane

The nation approves of the first lady as an Oscars award presenter

Actress Olivia Munn arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Actress Olivia Munn arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

The 2013 Oscars have come and gone, and were relatively devoid of surprises.

Seth MacFarlane managed to offend half of the women in Hollywood with his lovely “We Saw Your Boobs” chorus (with the exception of Jennifer Lawrence, who took all of MacFarlane’s jokes like the champion that she is).

"Argo" won best picture, and Ben Affleck gave everyone a taste of his speed-speaking skills. Anne Hathaway gave the same teary-eyed, cheesy acceptance speech she has managed to trademark this awards season.

Things were pretty predictable all night, but there were a few welcome surprises.

Apparently, Charlize Theron can ballroom dance? Who knew Seth MacFarlane could sing? Catherine Zeta-Jones is indeed still alive, and can still rock a black bob haircut as Velma Kelly. And Steven Spielberg of "Lincoln" lost the award for Best Director to Ang Lee of "Life of Pi."

If the award for Best Picture is going to continue to be given by the first lady, or by any other political figure for that matter, the audience needs to be alerted in advance. Nobody was prepared to watch Michelle Obama’s bangs deliver the award for Best Picture to "Argo."

But hey, awards season can get a little monotonous. So thanks, Mrs. Obama, for mixing it up a bit for us.

Next time, how about a guest appearance from the president himself? It’s the Oscars, after all. Anything goes. 

Director/producer Ben Affleck accepts the award for best picture for "Argo" during theOscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Photo Credit: AP Exchange | Daily Texan Staff

This live blog was written during the 2013 Academy Awards.  It is a live, slightly snarky feed of everything that happened and did not happen at this year's Academy Awards. 

11:01 In the most annoying way possible, the 2013 Academy Awards end with the ever grating Kristin Chenoweth and Seth MacFarlane. They sing some horrible song which reminds us only of how horrible things were before they started awarding the good statues. 

10:54 The Oscar for BEST MOTION PICTURE is awarded to ARGO presented by Michelle Obama. These producers are all strange men who don't know where to stand. Oh, except best beard George Clooney who's looking great.  Ben also has a beard. He could be nominated. He makes Jennifer Garner cry, and all of us cry, and even himself cry a little. 

10:52 Jack Nicholson announces Michelle Obama on screen from the White House. Rocking her bangs and a beautiful silver dress, Michelle deserves this honor. She should probably win. She plugs how important arts are to our country, and she is right.

10:45 Meryl Streep arrives in a very sparkly dress to present the award for BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE. The Oscar goes to Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln over Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook, Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables, Joaquin Phoenix in The Master, Denzel Washington in Flight.  He is the first actor to win three Oscars in the BEST ACTOR category. There is a standing ovation, and he looks so happy he almost looks miserable. Unlike our girl Lawrence, Day Lewis has his speech together. He thanks Abraham Lincoln.

10:40 The Oscar for BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE goes to Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook over Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty, Emmanuelle Rivera for Amour, Quvenzhane Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Naomi Watts for the Impossible. She almost falls in her hurry up the stairs and receives a standing ovation. "This is nuts," she says, and nuts it is. Every Oscar pool is ruined by this point. Jennifer Larence looks incredible, Bradley Cooper looks so proud. Lawrence is totally scattered and has no speech. She was obviously not expecting that. 

10:32 Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas arrive to present the Oscar for BEST DIRECTOR to Ang Lee for LIFE OF PI for their FOURTH Oscar of the night. Lee thanks the movie god and thanks the 3,000 people who worked with him on Life of Pi. 

10:26 BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY is awarded to Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained. Tarantino is a total bozo. He's rambling about character choosing, and calling himself awesome for his casting choices. He "peace out"s the audience.

10:22 Seth. Please stop. Dustin Hoffman and Charlize Theron arrive with a massive height disparity to present the award for BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY goes to Argo by Chris Terrio.  He apparently sprinted to the stage. What is this bad situation? Can you tell us that story? 

10:08 The cast of Chicago appears on stage to present the Oscar for BEST MOVIE SCORE to Life of Pi. Richard Gere makes a joke. It's funnier than anything MacFarland has said. Which is to say, marginally funny. Life of Pi is sweeping up Oscars. Norah Jones arrives on stage she looks nothing like herself. Is she even famous anymore? The Oscar for BEST ORIGINAL SONG goes to Skyfall by Adele who apparently has a last name. It is her first Academy Award. She cries immediately. Some other bro is there. He did something. He does not cry. 

10:01 Another not Beyonce arrives, this time in the form of Barbara Streisand. She receives a standing ovation. Take that Adele.

9:57 Beard number 1 aka George Clooney arrives for "In Memoriam." He says we could dedicate an entire show to it, you know, a show that NO ONE would watch. 

9:50 Selma Hayek looks like she tried to dress up as Cleopatra for a sorority Halloween party. They recap some Governor's Awards, which goes to people who love movies and have done great things for film. No one explains why they are called "Governor's."

9:48 Daniel Radcliffe and Kristen Stewart arrive on stage. Fittingly, the Harry Potter music plays. Stewart looks like she walked through some brush backstage and got her hair sucked into a whirlpool. They present the Oscar for PRODUCTION DESIGN to Lincoln. Christoph returns to the screen from earlier, and we still love him. 

9:43 Nicole Kidman shows us the next three Best Picture nominees with Silver Lining Playbook, Django Unchained, and Amour. Despite Argo's editing win and thus my prediction for best picture, Silver Lining Playbook was by far my favorite of the nominations. 

9:35 Jennifer Lawrence introduces Adele to sing "Skyfall." Adele looks like the sky fell onto her dress. There is no standing ovation for Adele. She is the first singing number to not receive one. The COLD SHOULDER award goes to Adele.

9:32 Sandra Bullock presents the award for FILM EDITING goes to William Goldenberg for Argo

9:29 The Academy Preseident takes the stage and explains a future Oscar museum. It will be the "first of it's kind." It sounds like a museum. REPRESENT. Jennifer Brofer of UT AUSTIN is on the stage!

9:23 Anne Hathaway thanks everyone and bows to her competitors. She is--as she has been since her transformation into Princess Mia--eloquent, elegent, and beautiful. She thanks her husband, who is teary. Who knew Anne Hathaway had a husband!? 

9:20 MacFarlane tries to convince us the Von Trapps are coming. His jokes are all bad. I am not laughing. Christopher Plummer joins us on stage. People laugh at his jokes. He says he has 30 films coming and we are ready for all of them. He presents the Oscar for BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE. It goes to Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables over Amy Adams for the Master, Sally Field for Lincoln, Helen Hunt for The Sessions, and Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook. 

9:17 The JAWS wrap it up music is old. 

9:09 Facial hair is really back. Everyone is bearded. Beards, beards, beards, beards, beards. There is some learning going on now which is kind of a bummer, but not as much of a bummer as MacFarlane. Mark Wahlberg comes to the stage with some bear that was in a movie that no one saw. The Oscar for BEST SOUND MIXING goes to Les Miserables. The Oscar for SOUND EDITING  is a tie. WHAT? Is this soccer!? This is art. Can't we just be judgement about these subjective things.  The first goes to Zero Dark Thirty and the second goes to Skyfall.

9:01 The musical tribute moves to Les Mis. Hugh Jackman's voice is still not good enough for this role. Also, facial hair, facial hair everywhere. Anne Hathaway is beautiful. Her lip quivers with "One Day More." Samantha Barkman looks like she could be the American Kate Middleton. The entire cast of Les Mis is on stage, and they look just as upset as they did in the movie. French flags drop from the ceiling. They receive the second standing ovation of the night. 

9:00 Still "not Beyonce" continues to sing. Girl's got pipes, but no Blue Ivy. 

8:53 John Travolta lists 1,000 names for a tribute to great musicals. He mispronounces Catherine Zeta Jones's name, but it doesn't matter because she's on stage, and she looks awesome.  No one knows why someone who is NOT BEYONCE is singing the Dreamgirls tribute. Where is Beyonce? Where is she? 

8:49 Seth MacFarlane compares the Oscars to church, which is maybe possible since he's offending everyone. Jennifer Garner is wearing all the diamonds. BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM goes to AMOUR which is unsurprising because, I don't know, they're nominated for best picture. He thanks his wife and its adorable. 

8:42 Ben Affleck is bringing facial hair back. The Oscar for BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE goes to Searching for Sugarman by two men whose names were not on the screen for long enough for me to figure out how to spell them. The JAWS theme song returns, and they leave. 

8:37 Liam Neeson gives us three more previews for best picture with Argo,  Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty. Liam Neeson could have probably also played Lincoln. 

8:32 Kerry Washington and Jamie Foxx arrive to present BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM to Curfew by Sean Christensen. He notes his short time window, salutes someone, thanks his "devishly handsom father," and leaves. The Oscar for BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT goes to Inocente by Shaun Fine and Andrea Nix Fine. They talk about supporting the arts and the music plays even though Amy Adams eyes are welling and we all love her so much. 

8:21 Hallie Berry appears to celebrate the 50th anniversary of James Bond in motion pictures. There is, of course, a play by play of Bond girls in bikinis, some explosions, some car chases, and more Bond girls. Some lady appears dressed like an Oscar statue to sing about Bond. My guess is that this is about the time for Meryl Streep to arrive late with Starbucks in hand during the standing ovation.

8:16  Seth MacFarlane looks like a longer-haired Ken doll, and has about the same sense of humor. Channing Tatum and Jennifer Aniston arrive on stage, thank god. No one looks good in this lighting. The Oscar for ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN goes to Jaqueline Duran for Anna Karenina.  Who is all of our hero since she also did Atonement and Pride and Predjudice. The Oscar for ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP AND HAIR STYLING goes to Lisa Westcott and Julie Darnell for their face dirt application in  Les Miserables. One of them appears to be wearing pink jeans. Who doesn't know Oscar dress code!? 

8:09 The award for ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS, which is maybe the same award as cinematography with totally different nominees(?), goes to Life of Pi again, because it was beautiful. The first of these award winers tries to make a joke about meta-reality, literally no one laughs.  He keeps talking over increadibly loud "wrap it up music" because despite the Oscar's faking love for visual effects, they really don't care. 

8:06 Samuel L. Jackson is in a red velvet blazer. The Avengers present the award for ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY, aka pretty movie award, to Claudio Miranda for Life of Pi. He is rambling about how much he loves his movie and getting teary. "Oh my god, I can't even speak," he says, which is kind of true.  

8:00 Reese Witherspoon joins us with perfect hair waves. She talks about the Best Picture Nominees. We see previews for Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Beasts of the Southern Wild. MacFarlane calls Jennifer Lawrence old, and makes jokes on the expense of the nine year old.  He is the worst, but he welcomes six of the Avengers, which we like--mostly because he's leaving. 

7:55 Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy join us with the gold envelope for some jokes. The award for BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM goes to "Paperman" by John Kahrs. It is his first Academy Award and nomination. His speech is short and sweet, he's no Christopher Waltz. The BEST ANIMATED FILM award goes to Brave  Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman. Andrews has on a kilt, which no one "just happens to be wearing." 

7:47 We finally get Octavia Spencer with a gold envelope for ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE. And the Oscar goes to Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained. He bows to his competitors and tears up in his speech behind his thick rimmed black glasses. He looks genuinely surprised, and gives an inspiring speech.   Everyone falls in love with Christoph Waltz.

7:45 This intro is still going. It shouldn't be.

7:38 There is an inappropriate "fake" musical number titled "We saw your boobs." This intro is rough. MacFarlane asks how to fix this and the answer is hidden from everyone. He introduces Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron to dance to "The Way You Look Tonight."  Channing Tatum can dance, but MacFarlane still can't sing.  He welcomes Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt to dance and sing with him. I'm ignoring everyone but Gordon-Levitt.

7:30 We are welcomed to the Oscars by our host Seth MacFarlane. For the first time, the Oscars has a theme "music in films." Probably because Adele is here. MacFarlane makes a couple of jokes that do actually seem funny, but he introduces the Oscars with some sort of roll call that allows him to make these jokes. He makes a slavery joke. Is this okay? He moves on to Django Unchained and also makes a Chris Brown Rihanna reference. A screen descends behind him with Star Trek's Captain Kirk to stop him from "destroying the Academy Awards." Kirk asks "why can't Tina and Amy host everything?" which is really all any of us want. 

7:22 Every red carpet host is incredibly awkward. At the five minute mark we are inside some producing truck where everyone looks awkward. Queen Latifah manages to interact with them like they are normal, and it is an incredibly feat of acting on her part. They are now sitting down, and the real show will start soon. Chenoweth brings up Texas football, and it's horrible. 

7:15 Jamie Foxx really embarrasses his 19 year old college daughter who looks very uncomfortable and unhappy. She looks like someone stole her smile while her father hits on the interviewer. The camera cuts away from some of the most brilliant television drama the Oscars has seen thus far to visit Daniel Day Lewis who is a snooze in comparison.

7:12 Anne Hathaway gives us a preview that the cast will be performing. Kristin Chenoweth's voice still feels like a cheese grater. Especially as she tells Hathaway akwardly that "her hair is growing back nicely." There is a "magic" box they are trying to get us behind. Anne Hathaway guesses that Dorothy's slippers are in there, and people say bad things about the Smithsonian and I cry. 

7:05 George Clooney is unamused with everyone's antics because he's been in Berlin. He promises to drink and makes snarky faces at the hosts, but looks very very nice in his tux.  When Sandra Bullock is interviewed, there are a lot of weird things going on with the sound including Kristin Chenoweth's weird mousy voice. 

7:01 Jennifer Anniston calls the Oscars, "ya know, a magical piece of time," but does say that she will only be attending only one party in her red Valentino dress. The only important people thus far are named Jennifer. The Garner Jennifer claims that she's "just a puddle," which is kind of what the back of her purple dress looks like.   

6:55 Best Dressed has gone to Jennifer Lawrence. No one is quite sure who decided this. Amy Adams and Anne Hathaway were given honorable mentions. 

(Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures)

Seth MacFarlane has always had a distinct comedic style, full of non sequiturs, pop culture references and casual tastelessness, developed in his small empire of animated programs broadcast by Fox. With his transition to the big screen, one might hope that MacFarlane takes this chance to refine his sense of humor and develop as an artist, but unfortunately “Ted” is more of the same from the humorist. The film is just exaggerated and blown out to accommodate the requirements of the R rating, and anyone hoping for more will be sorely disappointed.

In addition to directing “Ted,” MacFarlane lends his voice to main character, an animated teddy bear who is brought to life when a young John Bennett (played as an adult by Mark Wahlberg) makes a wish for a best friend. Nearly 30 years later, Ted and John are still friends, content to sit around smoking pot and watching television, even as John’s four-year relationship with Lori (Mila Kunis) teeters on the edge of disaster thanks to John’s immaturity.

There’s one quality that stands out throughout “Ted,” and it’s laziness. The film only really knows how to tell three kinds of jokes: casually “edgy” racist humor, fart jokes and pop culture references. “Ted” comes back to these three tropes over and over, and by the end of the film, things have taken on a mean-spirited abrasiveness. The script lacks ambition, and seems uninterested in telling its own story. Things happen to the characters, but the film’s ending betrays every narrative development that’s transpired. Instead, the finale lays out the film’s themes in a few neon-lit lines of dialogue and fades to black.

The film is full of illogical story gaps and character decisions, right down to its foundations. John and Lori are four years into their relationship before the film starts, but the problems she develops with Ted’s shenanigans seem like the sort of issue you bring up before you move in with your boyfriend and his stoner teddy bear. Kunis uses her natural charm to bring some nuance to Lori’s stereotypical nagging girlfriend, but Wahlberg isn’t so lucky. He’s basically playing your average Judd Apatow-esque man-child, but without any of the heart or conscience that makes that character so affable, and the result is an irritating character who makes an endless stream of bad decisions.

There’s one subplot in particular that sums up everything wrong with “Ted.” Giovanni Ribisi shows up, playing a truly creepy fan of Ted’s named Donny, with an overweight son (Aedin Mincks) who desperately wants the teddy bear for himself. Seeing as the film’s central conflict involves John’s need to get rid of Ted to move on with his life, this subplot practically serves up the film’s ending on a platter: John passes Ted along to another young boy wishing for a friend, and moves on with his adult life. Sure, it’s a little “Toy Story 3”-ish, but it’s a lot more interesting than the way the film treats Donny and his son as monsters, easy punchlines for easy jokes, and it’s a narrative detour that puts all of “Ted”’s problems into focus. It’s a film that wants to be about growing up, but it’s really just a string of cheap jokes.

That’s why “Ted” may be the worst movie of the year, or at least the one I hate the most. It’s one thing when a film is lazy, and its humor proves that “Ted” is certainly that, but it’s another when a film is just repulsive and morally rotten, and that’s what dooms it. The film has a few funny moments, but its characters are so predictable in their illogical mistakes, its plot so uninterested in its own stakes, and its spirit so thoroughly hateful and unpleasant, that it’s not worth watching in any shape or form. Avoid it at all costs.

The highly anticipated movie “The Hunger Games,” based on the wildly popular dystopian novel of the same name, seems a likely candidate for the secret screening at this year’s SXSW film festival.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Every year, the Super Secret Screening is one of the most anticipated and discussed events of SXSW, and this year is no different. Last year, many guessed we’d be seeing “The Tree of Life,” “The Hangover Part II” or “Sucker Punch,” and we were instead surprised by the micro-budget indie film “Another Earth,” which goes to show how my guess is about as good as anyone else’s.

However, this year, the secret screening is early in the fest and has landed a midnight slot, which hopefully means it’ll be something really special. Joss Whedon is sticking around Austin on Saturday for his panel, “A Conversation With Joss Whedon,” and SXSW certainly does seem like the perfect crowd to premiere “The Avengers” to, doesn’t it?

While “The Avengers” is a bit of a long shot, far more likely is “The Hunger Games,” which has been building a lot of momentum in the run-up to its release a week after the festival ends. Lionsgate is going to be screening this one all over the country in coming weeks and SXSW would be a great way to introduce the finished product to audiences.

Also feasible is “Family Guy” mastermind Seth MacFarlane’s live-action debut, “Ted,” which stars Mark Wahlberg as a grown man who can’t seem to get rid of his childhood teddy bear because it speaks to him (in MacFarlane’s voice, no less). There hasn’t been a lot of buzz or publicity around the film, which releases this summer, and MacFarlane’s panel Sunday morning sure would be interesting if he’d premiered his new opus the night before.

But again, SXSW is unpredictable. It could be any of those films, or it could be something completely unexpected. For all I know, we could be sitting down to watch John Hawkes wear an iron lung in “The Surrogate.” But no matter what, it’ll certainly be something worth seeing and will have the festival abuzz for the rest of the week.

Printed on Friday, March 9, 2012 as: Midnight secret screening bound to shock film viewers