Whether he likes it or not, when he finally calls it a day, Billy Crystal will surely best be known for hosting the Oscars. And might he just be tempted to give it another go?
During a recent 20th anniversary screening of City Slickers in Santa Monica, the 63-year-old comedian and actor said that he became “itchy” after his cameo on the Oscars telecast earlier this year and that he’s willing to talk about a return to one of the greatest stages of them all.
You might recall that as part of the otherwise uninspired show this year, hosted by the seemingly aloof James Franco and way-too-excited Anne Hathaway, some order and sense of decorum was restored when Crystal paid tribute to the undoubted master of all things ceremonial, the late Bob Hope, in a surprise cameo appearance (for which he received a standing ovation).
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“I came out as a surprise. It was a last-minute decision,” he explained to the Santa Monica audience. “They had called and said, ‘Would you do this thing and honor Bob Hope,’ and that was a kind of cool thing to do. I said OK. I did it, and people wanted to see me, they stood up, and I couldn’t talk for about a minute [while waiting for the ovation]. And, um, I got a little itchy. So we’ll see what happens. I can’t promise anything.”
Incredibly, Crystal was the Oscar host eight times between 1990 and 2004 (which is still second to Hope’s frankly statistic-defying 18 appearances), receiving rave reviews for his Jack-of-all-trades approach, as he can sing, dance and make ‘em laugh.
But Billy admitted that, “It got to be too much after a while and the sameness in my life. That’s why I pulled back. And then when I thought I might want to do it again, they were on to other people. It’s always fun. It’s really hard, but maybe one or two more times? I don’t know. They know where I am.” Part of the reason for his reticence might be the amount of time that it consumes — “four or five months,” according to Crystal.
And in case you were wondering, “they” are new producers Brett Ratner and Don Mischer. It’s not the first time he’s dropped the ‘O’ hint either: back in March, Crystal told the AP that it “might be fun” to host again. But in true Oscar tradition, neither Ratner nor Mischer responded to requests to discuss Crystal’s chances on Monday.
We’ll know for sure in advance of next year’s show, which is the 84th Academy Awards, and takes place on Feb. 26 from the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood. For what it’s worth, NewsFeed thinks it could be a choice between Crystal and Neil Patrick Harris. Either should be able to improve upon recent efforts and the audience in the Kodak Theatre are sure to lap it up. But will there be a significant TV audience watching at home? That may be a losing battle no host can win. (via New York magazine)
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