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Oscars: Seth MacFarlane is an Academy guy

Oscars: Seth MacFarlane is an Academy guy

When Seth MacFarlane takes the stage Sunday as host of the 85thAcademy Awards, chances are a large portion of the viewing audience will look at their TV screens and wonder: Who is this guy? He might just be the least famous Oscar host ever , with a resume unlike that of any previous host except for the author and humorist Irvin S. Cobb, who hosted in 1935 — but even Cobb had a career in front of the camera.

Not so with MacFarlane, whose considerable Hollywood clout has been built behind the scenes — and primarily in TV. A writer, animator, producer and voice actor, he sits atop a media empire that began more than a decade ago with his Fox animated series “Family Guy,” a show that is...