Ted made a cameo at the 85th Annual Academy Awards last Sunday, February 24, alongside Mark Wahlberg as the pair announced the nominees for Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing. Meanwhile, everyone’s favorite puppet inserted some good old-fashioned “Jews run Hollywood” jokes into his monologue, having some wondering if he may have gone too far.
To backtrack for a minute: Ted the movie is the brainchild of Seth McFarlane, the man behind Family Guy and American Dad. The 2012 fantasy comedy film was written and directed by McFarlane, who cast himself as the voice of the sarcastic teddy, alongside Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis in leading roles. The man behind the bear received mixed reviews as this year’s rookie Oscar host, though none can deny he lived up to his provocative image. But I digress…
“You’ve got a ‘berg’ on the end of your name. Are you Jewish?” Ted asked co-host Wahlberg, who responded that he was Catholic. To which the bear, who was voiced by McFarlane, rebuked “wrong answer, try again.” Explaining that Wahlberg should pretend to be Jewish if he wants to “continue to work in this town.”
Ted later teased that he was “born Theodore Shapiro” and would “like to donate money to Israel and continue to work in Hollywood forever.” He also gloated that he’d receive a private plane at “the next secret synagogue meeting.”
While several critics were upset with McFarlane for the jokes, it’s no secret that Hollywood has a lot of Jews working behind the scenes. Once upon a time in the early 1960s, Bob Hope had even joked about the fact that he had never won an Oscar, saying over a telecast that “Oscar night at my house is called Passover.”
Still, the Jewish grip on Hollywood is a running joke on McFarlane’s hit show, Family Guy. Last year, the animated series ran a campaign to get the Jewish vote in order to win an Emmy. “Come on, you bloated, over privileged Brentwood Jews. Let us into your little club,” the flyer read, referring to the wealthy Los Angeles neighborhood that is home to several industry hot shots.
In an effort to give, Ted –er, funnyman McFarlane– the benefit of the doubt, he was probably just kidding. The Oscar script was probably overseen by dozens of writers, producers, production assistants and editors, some of whom were probably Jewish, none of whom probably took any offense, in order to get the green light. Probably.
Aside from the Jew jokes, McFarlane didn’t fare well in general as a host according to several disgruntled critics.
“As expected, MacFarlane was occasionally crude and mildly offensive; unfortunately, he wasn’t very funny,” wrote Los Angeles Times’ Mary McNamara. “Which is a pretty big problem for a comedian and one not at all mitigated by playing up the possibility of being named the worst host in history.” Ouch.
Another mini-Oscar scandal involved the two Israeli films that were nominated for best documentary, “5 Broken Cameras” and “The Gatekeepers.” Both lost, and considering both films portrayed the IDF in a negative light, many Israelis breathed a sigh of relief when “Searching for Sugar Man,” a Swedish/British production, took home the Oscar.
“The movie ‘5 Broken Cameras’ may have been nominated for best documentary [feature film], but it would have been more appropriate had it competed in the category of best propaganda film,” remarked Benny Yanay, the head of Consensus. “This movie clearly has an agenda, lacks any objectivity, and has the over-arching goal of hurting the IDF and its troops.”
Meanwhile, Best Supporting Actress went to Anne Hathaway and her permanent lip injections for Les Miserables. Hathaway, who married Adam Shulman last year in a traditional Jewish ceremony, looked down at her Oscar from the podium and, in a totally rehearsed speech, gasped like a little girl that “it came true.” The Oscar winner hosted the 2011 Academy Awards and looked like she hadn’t touched a sandwich since then. God willing, she went home and reached for the breadbasket immediately following the ceremony.
Best Film went to Argo, Best Actor went to Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln, and Best Actress went to Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook, who stumbled upon the stairs on the way to the podium, which was the most endearing part of an otherwise dull night.