Billy Crystal to Host the Oscars
UPDATED: The Academy confirms that the actor-comedian, who first broke the news via Twitter, will replace Eddie Murphy. Crystal previously presided over the telecast eight times.
Billy Crystal tweeted that he will host the 84th Academy Awards telecast and the Academy later confirmed by re-tweeting Crystal's tweet and sending out a statement on the matter.
Crystal wrote Thursday, "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."
The gig marks the actor-comedian's ninth turn as master of ceremonies. He previously hosted in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998, 2000, and 2004.
Crystal replaces Eddie Murphy, who resigned from the high-profile job Wednesday in the wake of Brett Ratner's decision to step down on Tuesday. Brian Grazer, who joined the telecast Wednesday, and Don Mischer will produce.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter earlier on Thursday, Grazer and Mischer said they had drawn up a list of five possible candidates to host the show and would begin making calls to them Thursday afternoon. They would not respond to a question about Crystal possibly hosting.
The two producers did say they want to emphasize comedy on the Oscar telecast, a direction that Ratner also had been promising. “We agree that some of the best shows we’re formed around comedy, whether it was Bob Hope or Johnny Carson. That’s just the direction that we believe in and we’re going to be staying in,” Grazer said.
Later in the day, the Academy sent out an official release, in which Grazer said, "Like so many others, I've been eager to see Billy host again. It's very gratifying that he agreed to do it with Don and me at the helm."
Mischer said, "With Billy, we're moving forward with one of the greatest hosts in Oscar history. His return to the Oscars is, in a sense, a celebration."
AMPAS president Tom Sherak said in the official statement, "I'm thrilled to welcome Billy back to the Oscar stage. He's a comic legend and Oscar icon, and it feels good to have him back where he belongs."
Ratner exited as producer of the telecast after making a series of ill-judged remarks in recent days, including saying "rehearsal is for fags" and discussing his sex life with Howard Stern.
Crystal reportedly turned down an offer to host the awards in 2006.
He next appears in The Muppets, coming out later this month.
James Franco and Anne Hathaway hosted the ceremony in 2011.