Welcome back to the Oscars Billy Crystal
By Nathan Swank
Almost immediately following the announcement that Brett Ratner was out as producer of the 84th Academy Awards telecast and the subsequent departure of Eddie Murphy as host (who I was curiously excited to see and root for some old school standup from the once funny man), we get word that veteran host Billy Crystal will be the replacement, once again taking over hosting duties.
The announcement was so fast that I would have guessed they already knew Murphy would be leaving with his recruiter beforehand. Unfortunately, I was unable to post my top ten candidates for the job (perhaps next year) but I can safely say that Billy Crystal was on my list. “Safe” being the key word. He is not necessarily my first choice (I love Steve Martin) but I think there are more than a few reasons why America will be extremely pleased.
I think it’s safe to say after last year’s debacle of perhaps the worst Academy Awards telecast in history, anyone would be a step up. Crystal will be a nice way to get the show back on track. In his short moment on stage last year commemorating hosts of years past it was painfully obvious he was far superior to Anne Hathaway and James Franco.
There is clearly a lot of planning and preparation that goes into an Academy Awards production. Why else would they have a producer and host locked down over two months ago? It’s not an easy job and it’s also a very scrutinized job, which is why it’s so hard to bring a successful host back year after year (including Crystal who has turned the job down several times). So we must consider ourselves lucky that we got someone so respected and reliable in such short notice.
Reliable is exactly what the 9th time returning host will bring. I’m not the biggest fan of musical numbers, however I realize I’m in the minority and Crystal will surely have an opening song full of clever wordplay using actors and films. Hopefully we will also be getting Crystal inserting himself into different scenes from the nominees. He will have an insight on the stars in the audience and won’t be afraid to give them a light ribbing. And a ribbing they will happily take because unlike other hosts, they respect Crystal.
Crystal is like a warm fire that you can cozy up next to and feel that everything will be right in the world. It won’t be the greatest telecast ever but it will have a guarantee stamped on it despite the possibility of boring winners and losers. I’m guessing a standing ovation will occur when the beloved Crystal appears on stage. And I can absolutely guarantee the Academy Awards will be more entertaining than last year.
With that said, I would like to mention a few fresh faces that could take over the reigns improving upon the prestigious show. Funny girl Tina Fey has proven herself time and time again that she has the brains and comedic chops for either hosting or writing the gig and deserves a shot. Scene stealing Neil Patrick Harris has been the stand out gem on everything he touches. Whether it be hosting the Tonys or Emmys or a supporting role in a Harold and Kumar film or TV show How I Met Your Mother, NPH as host would be Legen… wait for it… dary. And my number one pick would be the Muppets. Yeah that’s right, throw Jason Segel into the mix if you like. Could you imagine having a real life Muppet Show hosting the Oscars? Kermit and the gang would be in front and behind the curtain putting together the Academy Awards with Statler and Waldorf in the balcony making fun of the winners and losers. Epic.