The Devil Wears Prada star took on presenting duties at the 2010 Academy Awards ceremony with actor James Franco, but the pair received harsh reviews for its turn as hosts.
The 2012 hosting gig has been handed to MacFarlane, and Hathaway has offered him some tips to help him avoid disaster.
She tells EW.com, “Have a plan. Have several. This is my advice to Seth – based on my own experience. You have to try to strike a balance between keeping the people of the room entertained and keeping the people at home from thinking you’re nuts. The instinct is to play to the room, because otherwise the audience there gets really bored and restless. Me with my theatre background, I played to the back row of the Kodak (theatre venue), which has 3,500 people. To the people at home, it could come off as a little over-the-top. I’ve never seen (the whole thing). But I felt like I made a rookie mistake.”
She also urges the funnyman to tape his rehearsals and watch them back: “It made me really angry with myself that I didn’t watch any tapes of rehearsal before I went on – because it was such an easy fix.”
MacFarlane adds of Hathaway’s advice, “That’s interesting. That shows a lot of successful self-analysis. I wouldn’t have quantified it in exactly that way, but she’s showing a really intelligent response to that. That’s why Johnny Carson was truly the greatest (host). It was in his bones to play to a television audience. The audience in the room, you have to be aware of them, but it’s a balancing act… At the end of the day, you do have think first and foremost about how your jokes are going to play with your viewing audience.”
The Academy Awards will be handed out in Los Angeles on 24 February (13).