Walter Mencken 11:47 a.m., May 30
Billy Crystal Ready to Return as Oscars Host
Leave it to a fan to pose the one question everybody is dying to ask Billy Crystal. During a Q&A following the 20th Anniversary screening of City Slickers at Santa Monica's Aero Theatre, the subject turned to the Oscars.
According to The Envelope, "Crystal...admitted that he got 'itchy' after this year's cameo on the Oscars and that he'd be ready to talk about a return to the global stage of the gala." Crystal has acted as the show's emcee eight times. He last anchored in 2003 and since then it's been a near unending string of bad choices on the part of the Academy.
Jon Stewart and Ellen DeGeneres are TV gabfest ringmasters. They shouldn't be allowed a seat in the Kodak Theatre, let alone hosting chores. Chris Rock is a very funny man, but you couldn't prove it come Oscar night. Hugh Jackman turned it into the Tony Awards and the one/two punch of James Franco and Anne Hathaway never connected. Only Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin kept me laughing throughout, but the ratings were anything but rib-tickling.
Why must it always be performers and comedians moderating the annual golden giveaway? The first Academy Awards show was hosted by Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. and C.B.'s brother, and a terrific director in his own right, William DeMille. Why don't more directors host the show?
Counting DeMille, seven directors (Frank Capra, John Cromwell, Joesph L. Mankiewicz, John Huston, Jerry Lewis, Warren Beatty) have acted as Oscar's innkeeper since the ceremony kicked off at the Hollywood Roosevelt back in 1929. One-shot hosts Robert Montgomery, Dick Powell, Alan Alda, Walter Matthau, and Jack Lemmon all spent time in the director's chair, but generally their names above the title indicate acting excellence, not directorial dazzle.
Why doesn't the Academy select six auteurs to oversee the festivities? Can you imagine the Punch and Judy show Marty and Abel Ferrara would put on? A two-out-of-three falls grudge match between Jean-Luc Godard and Spielberg would be a ratings bonanza. And for the youngsters in the audience, get Gaspar Noé and Christopher Nolan to host backwards.
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