The lucky film students presenting trophies during last night’s Oscars were not the only “regular” folks to make it into the telecast. There was also of course Stephen Battaglio (pictured), the journalist whose byline adorned a series of fake next-day reviews referenced during an opening bit by host Seth MacFarlane and surprise remote guest William Shatner.
Although the logical assumption would be that Battaglio was in on the gag, the New York-based business editor for TV Guide was in fact blindsided. “I was home watching the Oscars with my wife,” he tells FishbowlLA via telephone, “saw the first version of the review come up and said, ‘Oh, that’s my name!’ It took me a few seconds to absorb, and then I just went with the joke.”
“I went on to Twitter and posted a tweet that said, ‘Yes, I wrote that,'” he continues. “Then it came up a second and a third time, at which point every single electronic device in the home was either vibrating, buzzing or ringing. It was kind of a wild moment to be a part of the media event that the whole world was focused on.”
Battaglio was one of the earliest supporters of Family Guy and also moderated a more recent Writers Guild Foundation panel that featured MacFarlane and show writers. “I’ve always been appreciative of the show and thought what he does is hilarious,” Battaglio explains. “Seth is distinctively original and does things the way he wants to do it. He knows I’ve appreciated what he’s done, so I think it was kind of reward for that.”
Given how MacFarlane is such a huge fan of Star Trek, Battaglio says he completely understands why Shatner was the host’s choice as an opening monologue partner. Battaglio says his wife couldn’t stop giggling about the gag, unlike one would assume the spouse of the person who accepted Best Picture. As many are joking today, it’s likely going to take a while for Ben Affleck to live down his “marriage is a lot of work” remarks.
Image courtesy: @SteveBattaglio