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Who You Gonna Call as New Oscars Host? My Vote: Billy Crystal!
November 10, 2011  | By David Bianculli  | 92 comments

[UPDATE Thursday 5 p.m. ET -- Bianculli gets his way! - DW]

After movie producer Brett Ratner made enough insensitive comments about his personal life and views to have him replaced as producer of February's Oscar awards, host Eddie Murphy, star of Ratner's Tower Heist, has walked as well. The new producer, Brian Grazer, has to find a new host, fast. Who's he gonna call?

Here's who he should call: Billy Crystal...

oscars-crystal-lambs.jpgCrystal hasn't presided over the annual Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards since 2004, but his eight times as host -- opening shows with deliriously entertaining filmed bits and musical numbers -- ranks him as the second most prolific Oscars host in TV history. Only Bob Hope, with 19 appearances, has hosted the Academy Awards more times than Crystal.

(Third in line, ranked just beneath Crystal, if you're wondering, is Johnny Carson, with five appearances.)

Last year's awards, co-hosted by the peppy Anne Hathaway and the dour James Franco, were a belly-flop, host-wise. The year before, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin did much better jobs as co-hosts, but didn't get a callback. In fact, since Crystal's last Oscars appearance, the only host to earn a return visit has been Jon Stewart, who hosted in 2006 and 2008.

Others serving in the interim: Chris Rock, Ellen DeGeneres and Hugh Jackman.

Most of the recent hosting assignments, especially last year's, were made with an eye to widening festivities to a younger audience, which didn't work. Clearly, it's time to regroup -- and there's no better person to save the day than Crystal.


For him, accepting the job for 2012 should be a no-brainer. Whenever Crystal took time off from his Oscar duties, it was out of fear of not matching his previous creative output. But he's benched himself for seven years now, so he should be rested and ready to play.

Besides, he would be coming in as the comedic cavalry, riding to the rescue and working with less prep time than usual. Whatever he did would be accepted gratefully under those conditions -- and if he hits it out of the park again, as he probably will, his legend as the best Oscars host ever will merely loom that much larger.

Who should host the 2012 Academy Awards? The answer, I say, is Crystal clear.

[Update, 5:25 p.m. ET Thursday: How cool is that? The same day I write this, Billy Crystal and the Oscars make it official. So why is The Good Wife still on Sunday? - DB]



Eileen said:

Thank you, thank you, thank you...

The Academy of Arts & Sciences needs to put out an APB for Billy Crystal immediately. I'd watch the Oscars just to see him, forget the awards.

I would have been curious to see what direction Eddie Murphy took the show in. I'm not a huge fan of his, but I think he's extremely talented (when properly focused). I still feel he was the best thing about Dreamgirls, and was robbed of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. A real change of acting pace for him, but he proved he had the right stuff to carry a dramatic role.

I thought Steve Martin & Alec Baldwin were fine; they had great chemistry and a few good bits. But last year was beyond tedious, and not for a lack of trying on Anne Hathaway's part. She had to drag that dead weight, James Franco, through the entire 4 hours. I actually felt bad for her the next day when she was getting slammed by the critics.

All that being said, it really is time for Billy to return. His hosting was just top notch. He's charming, amiable, hilarious and a try gentleman. They can't bring him back fast enough!

Comment posted on November 10, 2011 11:02 AM

Kyle said:

3 words - Neil Patrick Harris

Comment posted on November 10, 2011 11:27 AM

Dan said:

I was looking forward to seeing Eddie, and I respect his decision.

Next choice would be Crystal, but if not, absolutely, Neil Patrick Harris.

Overall, it's a shame that we have become so sensitive and politically correct in this country. If I had a dollar for every time someone called me that "F" word in my life, I would be rich, and I am heterosecual as they come!

Comment posted on November 10, 2011 4:41 PM

Phillip R. Crabb said:

Two Words...

Smothers Brothers...

Could you imagine the possibilities for the opening bit?

But...Billy Crystal will succeed wildly as always...

Franklin, NJ

Comment posted on November 10, 2011 5:58 PM

Graham said:

Sorry, Billy is far too irrelevant to do this again. I enjoyed his hosting 20 years ago, when he was working, but he's been out of the game a bit too long for my taste. This reminds me of the recent Super Bowl halftime shows in which a band nobody has cared about for decades does a medley of songs that nobody has cared about for decades.
My suggestions would be NPH or Justin Timberlake. Or, if the academy really wants to mix it up, Louis CK.

Comment posted on November 11, 2011 3:02 PM
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