The most polarising Oscar host?

RISQUE HUMOUR: Oscar host Seth MacFarlane with actress Emma Stone.
RISQUE HUMOUR: Oscar host Seth MacFarlane with actress Emma Stone.

The award for most polarising Oscars host could very well go to Seth MacFarlane, judging by his performance when announcing the Academy Awards nominations for 2013.

In the 10 minutes it took him to reveal the nominees during an early-morning telecast, the Family Guy creator cracked a joke about Hitler, quipped about actresses being attracted to movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and insulted his co-presenter Emma Stone.

When it was revealed that Amour, a film about a dying woman, was among the foreign language film nominees, MacFarlane said: "I read Amour was co-produced in Austria and Germany, right? The last time Austria got together and co-produced something it was Hitler, but this is much better."

"Much better, so much better," chimed in Stone.

There were audible groans, and some laughs, when MacFarlane announced the nominees in the supporting actress category by saying: "Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein."

At the beginning of the broadcast at 5.40am (Los Angeles time) on Thursday , he introduced Stone as "the star of the new film Gangster Squad", before questioning: "I'm not sure you're the star. That seems more like an ensemble piece, right?"

A moment later, he said of Stone: "Some say she's better than Meryl Streep," before stopping to ask: "Who says that?"

After reading the Best Director candidates, he cracked: "These are five people who are the very best at sitting in a chair and watching other people make a movie."

And of the nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay, he said: "These are adapted screenplays, so that means that the writers basically copied stuff from Microsoft Word and pasted it into Final Draft."

MacFarlane's irreverent and risque humour suggests that the potential for inappropriate comedy at an awards show could shift from the Golden Globes to the Oscars this year. Ricky Gervais's Golden Globes hosting efforts for three years running split critics, with the British comedian branded simultaneously "toothless" and "hysterical".

And the potential for more of the same at the traditionally staid Oscars ceremony had some people, including British CNN host Piers Morgan, excited.

"On a positive note, already clear that @SethMacFarlane is going to be a wonderfully inappropriate, snarky and hilarious host," Morgan tweeted.

Ken Tucker at Entertainment Weekly wrote that MacFarlane was "smug, condescending" but added "I can't wait for him to host the show itself - it may be one for the ages."

MacFarlane was the first Oscar host to announce the nominees since Charlton Heston did the honours in 1972.

MacFarlane himself was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Original Song category for Everybody Needs a Best Friend from his film Ted.

"That's kind of cool, I got nominated. I get to go to the Oscars now," he said.

-Sydney Morning Herald