In the wake of these two events, the Academy found themselves without a producer and without a host for an Oscar ceremony that is now only a few weeks away. The producer role was quickly filled by Brian Grazer, producer of movies like Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind. Yeah, he may have also produced Ratner's Tower Heist, but Grazer is better than Ratner. He has the track record to prove it.
When I heard that Grazer was the new producer, I was hopeful. This is a guy who has worked with Tom Hanks numerous times. Tom Hanks. You need a new Oscar host, Academy? There's a damn good candidate. Would he be on the safe side? Yeah. Everyone loves Tom Hanks. It's almost impossible to hate him.
You know what would have been great though? The Academy having the guts to pick someone so different from anyone who had previously hosted. Maybe last year's James Franco/Anne Hathaway experiment didn't work. That doesn't mean it's time to wave the white flag. There's a handful of awesomely skilled, talented and funny candidates out there. The Twitterverse lit up on Wednesday with chatter nominating brilliant comedians like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Conan O'Brien, Ricky Gervais and Neil Patrick Harris as people who could more than capably fill Eddie Murphy's shoes. The Muppets themselves were even getting talked about. Could you imagine that? You wanna make the Oscars a show worth watching? Let the Muppets take the thing over.
The Oscar excitement died Thursday afternoon when word got out that the Academy chose to not go with one of these candidates, a candidate with potential to do something great with the Oscars. No, they announced that Billy Crystal would once again host the Oscars.
There is nothing revolutionary about Billy Crystal.
I'm sure he's a very nice guy. He comes across as funny. And he's proven that he can host an Oscar ceremony without crashing and burning. That's the problem though. He's done this before. He's done this numerous times. Where is the risk in Billy Crystal? If the Academy wants new viewers, wants higher ratings, wants people to get excited about the movies, the safest choice was not the smartest choice.
They blew it.