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TV Review: The 85th Annual Academy Awards

ABC aired the 85th annual Academy Awards on Sunday evening, and with Family Guy funnyman Seth MacFarlane hosting, the night was poised to be an entertaining evening. Many were divided, however, on the numerous musical numbers and the (of course) length of the ceremony.  The following are reviews from TV critics around the Web, compiled by B&C.

“Despite the valiant efforts of Adele, Barbra Streisand and a surprisingly witty Daniel Day-Lewis, not to mention a last-minute surprise appearance by First Lady Michelle Obama as co-presenter of the best picture award, touted as the first Oscar telecast with a theme - a tribute to musical Hollywood - was long, self-indulgent and dull even by the show’s time-honored dull-defining standards.”

-Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times

“Either way, a monologue that ran over 15 minutes - setting the stage for a show that ended more than a half hour past its allotted time - and was largely about the persona of the host and not the movies was not an auspicious start to a frequently messy, but occasionally surprising and/or entertaining evening.”

-Alan Sepinwall, HitFix

“What might ultimately be more important as an argument is whether the decision to go with so much singing and dancing — musical numbers galore — was the right move. There’s certainly a contingent who think that the core Oscar audience would be up for that kind of thing, where others (and I’ll count myself among those who could have done with fewer numbers) might have opted out. But listen, at least the Oscars seemed to have a plan this time: Celebrate music and dance and don’t look back.”

-Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

“[Seth MacFarlane] occasionally found the balance between the knifey, pop-savvy humor of his TV shows and his other side as a show-biz sycophant who sings all the standards at the top of his lungs. What you got was a combination of sicko and retro, an Oscar show hosted by someone who waited until Oscar night to discover that he’s only so-so at stand-up comedy.”

-Hank Stuever, The Washington Post

“What MacFarlane seemed to forget was that the job at hand involved more than just performing, and was about more than just his performance. One longed for him to drop the meta-jokes about the fear that he’d be an inappropriate host and get on with the job of actually hosting, which means keeping the train running, making your guests comfortable, and making the evening more about them than you.”

- Robert Bianco, USA Today

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