Friday, November 11, 2011

Movie Rant: Why I'm Happy Billy Crystal is the Oscar Host

Back in September I blogged about how I was less than thrilled to hear the news about Eddie Murphy receiving the hosting gig for this years Oscars ceremony. With his pal Brett Ratner no longer at the helm as producer of the telecast after his ignorant comments on the Howard Stern Show, Murphy has resigned (who still actually thinks it's a good idea to be interviewed by Stern anyway? I mean, really? When has that ever ended well?).

I was definitely no fan of Ratner's beforehand (he makes mediocre blockbusters, hardly someone I'd call worthy of one of the most prestigious jobs in movie biz), but now I most certainly dislike him even more. As for Murphy, he was funny once. I can vaguely recall laughing at his earlier films and old reruns of his stint on Saturday Night Live but that was, what? -- 20 years ago now?

Needless to say, after all the drama with Ratner and Murphy leaving the Oscars (good riddance, anyway) I was crossing my fingers that Billy Crystal would be the go-to guy as his replacement (don't even get me started on the silly Muppets for Oscars Host campaign on Twitter ...sure, they are funny and I love them, but hosting the whole telecast? No.).

When Brian Grazer was announced as the new producer for the 2012 Oscars yesterday I knew that the Academy had come to their senses and hired someone who would make sure the ceremony remained a classy affair that was, first and foremost, a celebration of film. I totally understand their initial desire to hire someone young like Ratner to bring in a new generation of fans but, really, the audience they wanted to bring in to boost their ratings likely wouldn't have seen the majority of the nominated films anyway, so why bother?

I remember when the Oscars used to actually mean something. Sure, there have always been some controversy over who deserved to win what and when, but, for the most part, the right person was deserving of his or her victory. That hasn't been the case of late -- with far too many Best Picture nominees and too many actors nominated for average performances -- the Oscars have become more like the Golden Globes.

Not that the hiring of Brian Grazer or Billy Crystal will fix these problems. But I guess I'm just a little nostalgic for the days when I was a kid -- when really great films were nominated and the ceremony was filled with beautiful montages featuring vintage film clips.

I adore Billy Crystal. Always have. I'm so happy he'll be hosting the Oscars again and I have no doubt he will charm the socks off of everyone. He's hilarious, classy and knows his film.

I know some will likely thumb their nose at the news about Billy Crystal, but he'll do the show justice. While it may not fix the problems with the Oscars -- or bring it back to a time when it was relevant -- at the very least, Crystal will remind us of what it was once like during the epic ceremonies of the past.

What are your thoughts on the whole Oscar controversy this year?