So it’s to be Billy Crystal. Again.
Considering what I had to say Wednesday – namely, that the resignation of Eddie Murphy gave the Oscar producers a chance to shake things up and take fans into unexpected territory – you’d think I’d be grumbling about our generation’s hosting-est host returning for what will be his ninth emcee gig. “Sidestep the corny and the conventional,” I wrote, hoping for a new host with “the potential to create the sort of buzz Oscar hasn’t seen in years.”
Turns out, what Oscar really wanted was the comfort of a familiar face, a proven old pro. When news broke that Crystal was in (broken by Crystal himself, via Twitter), it was hardly a surprise; his name was among the top rumors circulating, just as Brian Grazer’s was in terms of the hunt for a new producer. (By the way: as expected, Grazer got the job.)
Indeed, the Bring Billy Back movement began not this week, but during the last Oscar show, when Crystal’s surprise guest appearance, an oasis of goodness in that otherwise dreadful James Franconian trainwreck, reminded everyone just how much we missed not just Billy, but the simplicity of a polished comedian keeping the show moving with quick wit and Bruce Villanch-penned cornball yuks. The Oscar producers have aimed to move away from that kind of show the past few years, with poor results. Maybe a good old fashioned Billy Crystal Oscars is what we need.