Billy Crystal Says He’s ‘Itchy’ To Return as Oscar Host

Is Billy Crystal the only person who can make the Oscars interesting?

Most in the industry agree that the award show’s nadir was this past year’s, in which co-hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco bombed and the show dropped significantly in the ratings.  So, now that the Oscars will be co-produced by director Brett Ratner, what can the show’s producers bring to the table to make the normally overlong telecast worth watching?

Well, what worked in the past?

Billy Crystal, eight-time host, has generally been considered the best Oscars host in the last few decades and according to the Los Angeles Times, Crystal has gotten the “itch” to host again after not hosting since 2004 (though he presented — to a standing ovation — at this year’s telecast). 

Understandably, Crystal claims he previously backed away from hosting for a ninth time because it got too repetitive.  At an anniversary screening of City Slickers at American Cinematheque, Crystal said,  “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.”  Of course, Crystal’s memorable song-and-dance routines and being edited into the nominated films were the result of hard work, and he claimed that it “started taking a really long time. I was working four or five months just on the Oscars.”  Yikes, why work four or five months on the Oscars when you can do a film instead?  IT makes total sense why he’d want to walk away.

Of course, though the ceremony probably needs more significant changes than just Crystal, he’s a good start.  Nonetheless, Deadline reports that Brett Ratner released a noncommittal response to Crystal’s interest, saying “I didn’t see what Billy said. I’m really focused on finishing my film Tower Heist right now. [But] I was told by the Academy that I don’t have to make a decision until mid-September.”  It seems likely though that Crystal will be on Ratner’s shortlist, and Hathaway and Franco won’t.

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