Billy Crystal Compares the Hostless Oscars to a 'Trial Without Witnesses'
“It moves faster, but it’s not quite the result you wanted," Billy Crystal, who has hosted the ceremony nine times, quipped
“This year is another no host show, which is like having a trial without witnesses,” Crystal, 71, quipped. “It moves faster, but it’s not quite the result you wanted.”
The distinguished actor and comedian went on to explain that part of the importance of the position has to do with upholding tradition.
“To me, it’s the tradition of it. When we did it, I always felt I was in a line of Johnny [Carson], Bob Hope, the people I grew up with,” he said. “I always loved being out there. I loved the trust that the Academy had in me to get me out there. I felt like it was a great honor.”
Plus, it’s helpful to have somebody standing by in case anything goes wrong.
“When you have a show that’s as long as it is, things are going to happen. And I think the problem with the no hosting perhaps is that there’s not somebody out there to capitalize on that moment,” Crystal explained, referencing such a moment that happened when Kimmel hosted in 2017: when La La Land was mistakenly declared the best picture.
“For me, some of my best moments were when something went wrong,” Crystal added, going on to share a story of his own that happened in 1992, involving 100-year-old producer and director Hal Roach.
Crystal went on to explain that instead of merely standing up and waving from his seat, Roach began to make a long-winded speech from his seat, which the audience couldn’t hear because Roach didn’t have a microphone.
“Lines now are flying through my head,” Crystal explained of his thought process at the moment. “And then one hit like a slot machine in Vegas, and I just looked at the audience and said, ‘It’s very fitting because he got his start in silent films.”
“Well, I hope that happens again this weekend,” quipped Kimmel. “We have to stick together. These jobs are very few.”
Crystal hosted the Academy Awards for four consecutive years from 1990-1993, and again in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004 and 2012.
The annual ceremony previously went without a host in 2019, after Kevin Hart dropped out of hosting duties amid the fallout from resurfaced past homophobic remarks.
The 92nd Academy Awards will air live Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.