Film Festival Today

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Billy Crystal Is Back At the Oscar Podium

Written by: FFT Webmaster | November 14th, 2011

Following a rollicking week that saw both producer Brett Ratner and host Eddie Murphy drop out of the Oscar telecast, a familiar face will man the Oscar podium. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed that the veteran, much beloved comedian Billy Crystal — who has hosted the Oscars eight times — would host again next year. Crystal was hired by the new producer for the telecast, Brian Grazer, who stepped in when Brett Ratner resigned after a firestorm of criticism of an anti-gay slur that he used at a live q+a following a screening of his newest film TOWER HEIST. The whole point of bringing Ratner and Murphy on board was to attract a younger, hipper audience (although last year’s debacle with young Hollywood co-hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway will go down as one of the worst Oscar telecasts in history). But do the Oscars really need to be hip and contemporary? For me, it is the traditions and old fashioned nature that are the most endearing. Therefore, the choice of Crystal not only continues an Oscar tradition, but also puts a gifted comedian in the hosting box, in the footsteps of such past toastmasters as Bob Hope and Johnny Carson. Crystal may be 63 years old but his brand of comedy will be widely appreciated across the age spectrum. Whether it will deliver the ratings bonanza that Academy honchos apparently want is based more on the films nominated than the host. Until TWILIGHT or TRANSFORMERS are up for awards, the young crowd will consider the whole affair a bit of a snooze…..which is sometimes can be, but that is part of its great contradictory allure.

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