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As Oscar host, Seth MacFarlane dances fine line

Host Seth MacFarlane during the Oscars at the

Host Seth MacFarlane during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Feb. 24, 2013) Credit: AP

When Seth MacFarlane was chosen as the host for the 85th Academy Awards, viewers may have wondered how the famously raunchy mind behind "Family Guy" and "Ted" would handle the famously buttoned-up Oscars telecast.

The answer: He split the difference.

In his opening monologue, MacFarlane took barely a minute to make a pornography reference, joking that he got the gig only because everyone from "Whoopi all the way down to [porn star] Ron Jeremy" turned it down. He also tiptoed into racial territory by suggesting the slur-filled "Django Unchained" was based on Mel Gibson's voice mails. His edgiest joke was probably calling that violent film a "date movie" for Chris Brown and Rihanna. "Oh, no," MacFarlane said, "that's what we were afraid he'd do."

Then again, his bawdy song about actresses who appear topless (accompanied by the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles) surely made him the Oscar host to use the word "boobs" the most during one routine.

But, thanks to William Shatner, as a time-traveling Captain James Kirk sent back to stop the host from tasteless gaffes, MacFarlane also sang "The Way You Look Tonight" while Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron did a ballroom dance routine, then indulged in some soft-shoe of his own with Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. MacFarlane also tackled a Billy Crystal-style number poking gentle fun at targets like Daniel Day-Lewis ("Love the beard, but your voice was kind of weird"). The next day's reviews, according to Kirk: "Best Oscars Ever Says Everyone Except Entertainment Weekly."

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