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Billy Crystal 'Itchy' to Host Oscars Again

The eight-time emcee says his last-minute appearance at the 2011 ceremony sparked an interest in possibly hosting for a ninth time.

Billy Crystal
Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images
Billy Crystal at the 2011 Oscars

Eight times as Oscar host apparently isn't enough for Billy Crystal.

The actor said at event over the weekend that he's ready to return as the show's emcee for a ninth time. In fact, his appearance at this year's ceremony -- during which he appeared as a presenter honoring Bob Hope -- was what sparked his interest in returning as host.

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"I came out last year as a surprise. It was a last-minute decision," Crystal said at a 20th anniversary screening of City Slickers in Santa Monica in response to a fan question. "They had called and said would you do this thing and honor Bob Hope and that was a kind of cool thing to do. I said OK. I did it, and people wanted to see me, they stood up, and I couldn't talk for about a minute. And, um, I got a little itchy. So we'll see what happens. I can't promise anything."

In fact, Crystal's eight times as emcee are second only to Hope's 18. But the work required takes a toll on Crystal, who last hosted in 2004. He said every time he hosts, it requires a four- or five-month commitment.

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"It got to be too much after a while and the sameness in my life," Crystal said, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. "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."

It's not the first time in recent months Crystal has expressed an interest. In March, he told the Associated Press that it "might be fun" to host again.

Even if this year's Oscar producers Brett Ratner and Don Mischer don't come calling, Crystal is keeping plenty busy. Among the projects he's working on is the Monsters Inc. prequel, Monsters University. He also is hoping to turn his Tony-winning one-many play 700 Sundays into a movie.

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The Oscars air live Feb. 26 on ABC from Hollywood & Highland's Kodak Theatre.

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