SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Two female California state lawmakers have condemned Oscar host Seth MacFarlane's comments during Sunday's awards presentation as degrading toward women and asked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to use better judgment in the future.

Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal and Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, both Democrats who lead the Legislature's women's caucus, sent a letter to Academy President Hawk Koch requesting that the organization disavow MacFarlane's behavior.

They objected to the comedian's focus on the physical appearance of several actresses and quips about nude scenes.

"Furthermore, there was a disturbing theme about violence against women being acceptable and funny," the lawmakers wrote. "From topical jabs about domestic violence to singing about ‘boobs' during a film's rape scene, Seth MacFarlane crossed the line from humor to misogyny."

MacFarlane's performance has drawn multiple critics since Sunday's show. Blogs compiled highlights of his punch lines, which included a song that referenced leading ladies who have bared their breasts on film that were accompanied by reaction shots from those actresses.

He also made light of a domestic violence incident between rapper Chris Brown and singer Rihanna, and joked about the heavy accents of several Latina actresses.

"On Oscar night, when Hollywood seeks to honor its best, Seth MacFarlane's monologue reduced our finest female actresses to caricatures and stereotypes, degrading women as a whole and the filmmaking industry itself," the letter stated.


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Lowenthal and Jackson, both Democrats, asked Koch to respond. Academy spokeswoman Toni Thompson had no immediate comment.

In their letter, the lawmakers said that better judgment is needed in the academy's future decisions regarding its awards show hosts and their material.

"This should be a celebration of artists in the filmmaking industry, not an offensive display of disrespect toward women that sets the fight for gender equality, dignity, and respect back decades," they wrote.

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NEW YORK -- The 40.4 million people who watched the Oscars this year helped some other ABC shows, too.

Jimmy Kimmel's post-Oscars talk show had its biggest audience in the eight years he's been doing it. The Nielsen company said 5.8 million people tuned in to a show that didn't begin until after midnight on the East Coast. It was his second biggest audience ever, behind a post-Super Bowl special in 2006.

The Oscars itself had its biggest audience in three years

The day afterward, ABC's "Good Morning America" had its widest margin of victory over NBC's "Today" show in many years.

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LOS ANGELES -- The Hallmark Channel is making a new Friday night home for family movies.

The channel announced Wednesday that it will launch the showcase on March 15 with the debut of "Return to Nim's Island," starring Bindi Irwin, the 14-year-old daughter of the late Steve Irwin, the Australian crocodile hunter.

Hallmark says the movie will air as part of the new "Walden Family Theater" series, a Hallmark Channel collaboration with producer Walden Media, ARC Entertainment studio and sponsors Wal-Mart and Procter & Gamble.

Other original Friday night movies will include "Space Warriors," with Dermot Mulroney and Danny Glover, set to air in May. The showcase also will include films from the Hallmark Channel library.