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Seth MacFarlane lands a freakin’ sweet gig: hosting the Oscars

64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Show

64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Show

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Updated: November 3, 2012 6:11AM



‘No one saw this coming,” said a veteran Hollywood insider and former Motion Picture Academy board of governors member Monday — reacting to the news that Seth MacFarlane will host the 85th Academy Awards in February.

“But I think he’s a great choice,” added the longtime Tinseltown pro, adding, “It’s all part of that ongoing struggle to get younger people to watch the Oscars.”

Another top film producer agreed with the youth-focused reasoning but reminded me that “other attempts to make the Oscars edgier and hipper have not always worked,” pointing to such past host choices as David Letterman, James Franco with Anne Hathaway, Ellen DeGeneres and Chris Rock.

MacFarlane, best known for created such hit animated TV shows as “Family Guy,” “American Dad” and “The Cleveland Show,” also voices many of his programs’ characters. While he only directed his first film this year — “Ted,” starring Mark Wahlberg and a potty-mouthed teddy bear sidekick — it got Hollywood’s attention by grossing more than $420 million worldwide.

A couple of high-profile recent gigs showcased MacFarlane’s improv talent — key to Oscar hosting success. His hosting role on “Saturday Night Live” was mostly acclaimed, and he made a quick comeback as a presenter on the Emmys — joking about walking up to a non-working microphone.

In a statement about his Oscars role, MacFarlane called it “an overwhelming privilege. … I will do my utmost to live up to the high standards set forth by my predecessors.” He also added a MacFarlane-esque twist: “I hope they don’t find out I hosted the Charlie Sheen roast.”

LOVE LETTERS: From all accounts, it appears the growing relationship between Heidi Klum and her bodyguard/boyfriend Martin Kristen is getting more and more serious.

That apparently bugs her estranged husband Seal, who already has made a number of angry comments about them. It seems that the music superstar is especially unhappy at how his children with Klum are getting as close to Kristen as they are to him.

† As expected, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and the “Twilight” movie team are confirming the two stars will participate — often together — in the international publicity campaign for the final “Twilight” film, “Breaking Dawn, Part 2.”

As has been widely reported, Pattinson and Stewart have reconciled and are said to be again co-habitating — following the big breakup after Stewart admitted to having gotten romantic with her “Snow White and the Huntsman” director Rupert Sanders.

FUNNY FOLKS: Our Town’s own Jim Belushi has joined comedian and entrepreneur Kyle Lane as a partner in the Comedy Bar on West Ontario and will be very hands-on for the club’s gala re-launch festivities Oct. 18-20.

The veteran actor — whose comedy roots date back to his Second City and “Saturday Night Live” days — will introduce shows those three nights, take part in performances and sit in with a special guest band, Rob Stone and the C-Notes on Oct. 18.

In a statement, Belushi said, “The Comedy Bar is filled with magic: Those special and intimate moments of recognition and laughter between the comedians and the audience that only live performance provides.” For the opening long weekend, the comedy lineup will include Sean Flannery, Al Jackson, Derick Lengwenus and Mike Lebovitz.

†While back in town last weekend, comedians Stephnie Weir and husband Bob Dassie attended the wedding of Chicago improv luminaries Susan Messing and Michael Clayton McCarthy — with the one and only Tim Kazurinsky officiating, humorously consulting a copy of “Marriage for Dummies.” Also on hand for the festivities was Kate Flannery (Meredith on “The Office”), who worked with Messing at the Annoyance Theater in the ’90s.

FAMILY FEUD: The release of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall memoir has further estranged the bodybuilder-turned-California-governor from his two sons and estranged wife Maria Shriver. Both Patrick and Christopher Schwarzenegger are using their mom’s maiden name as their own on Twitter, and Maria Shriver is said to be very upset by both the book and the way Schwarzenegger has been promoting it. The former TV news correspondent is said to be telling friends the ex-governator was not truthful in a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday. Shriver reportedly denies Schwarzenegger’s claims she was aware of various trysts he had with numerous women during their marriage.

“If Maria knew about them, she would never have stuck by him — no matter how difficult it is for her to divorce, given her deep Catholic faith,” said a longtime friend of Shriver’s Monday.

SEEN ON THE SCENE: Music man Lupe Fiasco stopped by the Museum of Contemporary Art, visiting the various galleries and, in the museum’s store, picking up a book on Tom Waits and two books about artist William Kentridge, currently exhibiting at the MCA. … The cast of “Kinky Boots” took a break from rehearsals for their new Broadway-bound musical at the Bank of America Theatre and late-night dined at Mercadito on West Kinzie. … Freshman Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th) was spied picking the brain of longtime Chicago pol and 47th Ward committeeman Ed Kelly over lunch at O’Brien’s Restaurant in Old Town. … The Cleveland Browns’ starting quarterback, rookie Brandon Weeden, dined at Harry Caray’s on Kinzie while here for Ryder Cup watching. … Fans of Disney Channel star Bridget Mendler (“Good Luck Charlie”) got a kick out of spotting her at Harry Caray’s in Lombard. Mendler’s debut album, “Hello, My Name Is…,” will be released Oct. 22. … Alex Beh, in town shooting his film “Warren,” dined at Hugo’s Frog Bar with Jean Smart, who plays his mom in the movie.



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