Os­car host Macfarlane sur­prises UCLA class

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Sandy Co­hen

LOS AN­GE­LES — Os­car host Seth MacFarlane is invit­ing col­lege stu­dents to join him on­stage at the Academy Awards.

The Fam­ily Guy cre­ator made a sur­prise ap­pear­ance at UCLA to an­nounce a con­test spon­sored by the Academy of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts and Sciences and MTV that will al­low win­ning col­lege stu­dents to ap­pear on the Feb. 24 Os­car tele­cast.

The con­test in­vites stu­dents to sub­mit videos on the academy’s Face­book page de­scrib­ing how they’ll con­trib­ute to the fu­ture of film. At least six win­ners will serve as tro­phy car­ri­ers on the Os­car show, re­plac­ing the leggy models who usu­ally per­form the du­ties.

MacFarlane spent 40 min­utes lead­ing the un­der­grad­u­ate film and tele­vi­sion class at UCLA’s Westwood cam­pus on Wed­nes­day as part of MTV’s Stand In se­ries, which brings celebri­ties to col­leges as guest lec­tur­ers.

“In re-imag­in­ing what we want the Os­car show to be, we wanted ev­ery­one ap­pear­ing on that stage to feel a deep com­mit­ment to film and its legacy, and most im­por­tantly, its fu­ture,” said Os­car tele­cast pro­duc­ers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron in a state­ment. “That was the im­pe­tus in cre­at­ing this spe­cial hon­our for young film stu­dents who will in­spire a new gen­er­a­tion to cre­ate the films that will be hon­oured in the fu­ture.”

The con­test is also aimed at draw­ing younger view­ers favoured by ad­ver­tis­ers to the Os­cars’ ag­ing TV au­di­ence. Like UCLA stu­dent Abby Smith, who im­me­di­ately pulled out her smart­phone to share the moment on Face­book when MacFarlane ap­peared be­fore her class.

“Seth MacFarlane is speak­ing to my film lec­ture for the next hour,” Smith posted. “I’m hav­ing a panic at­tack.”

The 39-year-old en­ter­tainer urged the as­pir­ing film­mak­ers and show-run­ners in the class to make a “com­mer­cially vi­able stu­dent film” be­fore leav­ing school, adding that Fam­ily Guy was based on his own stu­dent film.

And MacFarlane said Fam­ily Guy could once again be­come a film. He said he’s al­ready come up with a con­cept for a fea­ture­length movie and promised “it will hap­pen at some point.”

MacFarlane cheek­ily de­scribed the Academy Awards as “a crazy lit­tle va­ri­ety show” and said “all I can do is do what I think is funny and most en­ter­tain­ing.”

“The Os­cars is a tricky venue,” he said. “The (hosts) who have not done well, I would clas­sify them as a no­ble fail­ure, an honourable fail­ure, be­cause at least they were try­ing some­thing new... If I can do it with­out tor­pe­do­ing my ca­reer and get­ting drummed out of the busi­ness... All I can do is my very best.”

He paused a beat, and added, “Lame (ex­ple­tive) an­swer.”

— The As­so­ci­ated Press

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