Seth MacFarlane invites college students onto Oscars stage

Actor/writer Seth MacFarlane is the exception -- one of the few male awards show hosts this year. MacFarlane, pictured during the 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 23, 2012, in Los Angeles, will host the Oscars for the first time on Feb. 24.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Seth MacFarlane is inviting college students to join him on stage when he hosts the 85th Academy Awards.

The "Family Guy" creator made a surprise appearance at UCLA to announce a contest, sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and MTV, that will allow winning college students to appear on the Feb. 24 Oscar telecast.

The contest invites students to submit videos on the academy's Facebook page describing how they'll contribute to the future of film. At least six winners will serve as trophy carriers on the Oscar show, replacing the leggy models who usually perform the duties.

MacFarlane, 39, spent 40 minutes leading the undergraduate film and television class on Wednesday as part of MTV's "Stand In" series, which brings in celebrities as guest lecturers.

"In re-imagining what we want our Oscar show to be, we wanted everyone appearing on that stage to feel a deep commitment to film and its legacy and, most importantly, its future," said Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron in a statement. "That was the impetus in creating this special honor for young film students who will inspire a new generation to create the films that will be honored in the future."

The contest is also aimed at drawing the younger viewers favored by advertisers to the Oscars' aging TV audience.

MacFarlane also said "Family Guy" could once again become a film. He said he's already come up with a concept for a feature-length movie and promised "it will happen at some point."

MacFarlane cheekily described the Academy Awards as "a crazy little variety show" and said, "All I can do is do what I think is funny and most entertaining."

"The Oscars is a tricky venue," he said. "The (hosts) who have not done well, I would classify them as a noble failure, an honorable failure, because at least they were trying something new. ... If I can do it without torpedoing my career and getting drummed out of the business ... all I can do is my very best."

He paused, and added, "Lame [expletive] answer."