Billy Crystal to host Oscars for ninth time

At this year’s Oscars, Billy Crystal was greeted with a standing ovation when he presented a tribute to Bob Hope who hosted the show a record 19 times. This warm welcome back to the stage of the Kodak Theater got Crystal talking about emceeing the Academy Awards for the first time since 2003. And now, with Eddie Murphy stepping aside after his pal Brett Ratner resigned as producer, Crystal has been asked to step into the breach. 

Crystal, who was the pick of 36% of our readers to replace Murphy, stands second to Hope with eight turns as emcee under his belt. He was Emmy-nominated in the now-defunct category of individual performance in a variety special for all but his first appearance on the awardscast, winning in 1991 and 1998. While that individual performance prize has since been eliminated, 2008 host Hugh Jackman shared in the Emmy win for the show itself.

Prior to appearing on this year’s Oscars, he dropped by his pal Whoopi Goldberg‘s chatfest “The View.” Goldberg, a four-time host and Crystal chatted about the pressures of the gig. As Crystal admitted, “It’s the biggest job in show business. You’re the captain of show business for one night. Two billion people watching you. You have all of these nervous people in the audience. Everything is pushed up. They’re uncomfortable. They’re nominated. The lights are on. The cameras are in their face for reaction shots. Everything is against you for a good time. So your job is to really fun and command that first six, seven minutes ‘cuz it’s your show and have as good as time as you can.”

And in the wake of his well-received appearance, Crystal said he was open to the idea of returning to the Kodak Theater podium with one condition. As he explained to the AP, “There’s too many awards and it has to sort of freshen itself up, and if I can be a part of that, that would be great.” 

The newly appointed co-producer Brian Grazer and returning director/producer Don Mischer have just over 100 days till the Oscars on Feb. 26. They should be wary of proposing to remove any of the two dozen competitive awards from the telecast. In the past, producers of the Oscarcast have suggested eliminating certain categories — such as the three short film awards — from the show but the Board of Governors have nixed this.

Beyond the branches of the academy directly affected, naysayers included many of the leading lights of the directors branch. The various compromises, which downplayed these awards, were deemed disappointments. In recent years, the presentation of these prizes has been handled with style with the winners providing some of Oscars’ most memorable moments.


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