Yay! I cheered out loud when I heard the news that Billy Crystal will be hosting the 84th Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 26, 2012 at the Kodak Theatre. The news comes on the heels of the announcement that Brian Grazer had replaced Brett Ratner as producer, and Eddie Murphy had dropped out as host.
I was a little concerned about the rumors that Ricky Gervais might be in the running to replace Murphy. Even though I really like Gervais and have interviewed him several times, he’s a little too edgy and controversial for a big awards show. Look what happened with the Golden Globes last year.
But I’m very, very happy to see Crystal in for a variety of reasons:
1. He’s reliable. He’s hosted the Oscars eight times, and he knows how to make people laugh. Plus, people see him as a real person, not a Hollywoodized celebrity.
2. He doesn’t insult people. His comedy is not mean-spirited. He doesn’t berate people or bring up past indiscretions or mistakes. He doesn’t sink to R-rated comedy (which, quite frankly, was a concern with Eddie Murphy as host).
3. We need a good laugh now more than ever. With all of the heavy stuff going on in this country — the Presidential campaigns, the horrible Penn State crimes, the Occupy Wall Street protests — people will be looking to Crystal to lighten the mood and make us laugh.
He’s already making us laugh with his Twitter account, tweeting yesterday, “Am doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions. Looking forward to the show.”
I can’t wait to see what he does to open the show. Here’s a little reminder from 2004: