Oscars 2012: Billy Crystal makes nostalgic come-back

Early reviews were mostly negative, with a number of critics panning the ABC
broadcast and Crystal’s performance as dull.

The Washington Post said Crystal “seemed to be overseeing a cruise ship
dinner show designed to appeal to the over-50 travel club.” The
Hollywood Reporter’s review ran under the headline: “Oscars Become
Badly Paced Bore-fest.” And Daily Variety’s critic wrote that “Oscar
unabashedly showed its age.”

The New York Daily News, however, gave Crystal a thumbs-up, saying he “recaptured
smartly the formula that worked for him in the past: quick-hit opening
monologue, a song-and-dance number, then a sprinkling of jobs that had an
edge but never drew blood.”

Among the previous Oscars
hosts generally considered to have shone are Hope, of course, whose
self-deprecating humour – calling attention to his own lack of nominations –
made him an Oscar favourite. He once quipped: Most memorable hosting quote: “Tonight
we set aside petty differences, forget old feuds and start new ones.”

Johnny Carson, king of the chat show, hosted the Academy Awards five times and
was always at ease with celebrities. He came up with one of the Oscar’s most
memorable lines: “I see a lot of news faces, especially on the old

In recent years, Whoopi Goldberg dazzled and Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin
played off each other well and showed that a good pairing can work.

Among those considered to have flopped were David Letterman, who never
returned to host after his one appearance in 1995, and Anne Hathaway and
James Franco. That pair were supposed to engage a younger audience but were
cloying and unengaging. Chevy Chase only ever did one solo gig and Jerry
Lewis, when the 1959 wrapped up 20 minutes early, fell flat as he improvised
and danced on stage to fill up the time.

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