Tuesday, January 10, 2012


 Unless you've been cavorting with yetis in Mongolia, you have probably heard the underwhelming news. Billy Crystal will host the Oscars for the ninth time on Feb 26.

 The big yawn reveal came in the form of a Funny or Die trailer (watch below) co-starring Robin Williams, Megan Fox and Josh Duhamel. The sweeping and overblown mini-movie is indeed engaging and some pundits see the production value as an attempt to reel in younger viewers. However this observation raises a problem. Could there be anyone less hip than Crystal? (more after the trailer.)

 Just look at how hip he is, he mentioned texting! Many regard Crystal as a comic genius but I'd wager the majority of those people are of baby boomer age. Crystal's appointment (as mentioned this will be his ninth after hosting from '89 to '92, then again in '96, '97, '99 and '03) is undoubtedly due to last year's generally panned hosting performances by Anne Hathaway and James Franco. Although Franco looked like he blazed with Aaron Sorkin just before the show, I thought Hathaway did an adequate job (with the exception of  quipping "This is the young, hip Oscars" after 94 year-old Kirk Douglas' slurred speech.)

 If the Academy was looking to appeal to the youth demographic, I think they missed the mark by tapping Crystal. There are several other veterans who, aside from being funnier, have performed exceptionally as the master of ceremonies in the past. I would have preferred another year of Whoopi or giving Ellen a second turn. Let's take a look at former Oscar hosts who have passed away or were passed over this year.

Whoopi Goldberg ('93, '95, '98, '01)

Watch Whoopi's memorable opening monologue at the 71st Academy Awards here

Bob Hope (11 solo in '40, '41, '43, '60-'62, '65-'68, '78 and 7 with co-hosts in '45, '46, '53, '55, '58, '59, '75)

Watch Jack Lemmon and Arthur Freed surprise Hope with an Oscar gold medal at the 1966 awards here.

Johnny Carson ('78-'81, '83)

Watch the arrivals and Carson's opening monologue at the 1980 Awards here

Steve Martin ('00, '02, '09 with Alec Baldwin)

Watch Martin and Baldwin's opening monologue at the 2009 Awards here.

Ellen DeGeneres ('06)

Watch part of DeGeneres' opening monologue here

Jon Stewart ('05, '07)

Stewart watches Lawrence of Arabia on his iPhone

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