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Billy Crystal Explains His Issue With The "Host-Less" Oscars In New Interview

Gettyimages | John Lamparski
By Michael Coe

Actor and comedian Billy Crystal is well-known for his relationship with the Oscars. He hosted the Academy Awards broadcast nine times throughout his career, making him the second most frequent Oscars host after Bob Hope (who hosted 19 times). Unfortunately for Crystal, the Academy has begun to forgo having a single host and is instead choosing to have the ceremonies hosted by a multitude of different celebrities. Crystal recently criticized the controversial move in a new interview conducted by Jimmy Kimmel.

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Giphy | The Academy Awards

When asked about his feelings on the "host-less" Oscars system, Crystal told Kimmel that having the Oscars without a host is like "having a trial without a witness": "moves faster, but not quite the result that you want".

When Kimmel asked if Crystal thought a host was "important" to the Oscars broadcast, Crystal emphatically replied "yeah!" and explained that he felt the "tradition" of legendary Oscars hosts such as Bob Hope was an important part of the culture behind the ceremony.

Gettyimages | Manny Carabel

Crystal elaborated on his feelings by saying, "I always loved being out there. I loved the, I guess, the trust, you know, that the movie academy had in me to get me out there, and I felt like it was a great honor to do it. And I think that 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-host thing, perhaps, is that there's not somebody out there to capitalize on that moment like you had when the wrong Best Picture was nominated."

Gettyimages | James Gourley

"Host-less" Oscars broadcasts have technically happened in the past, with the 1989 Oscars forgoing a host, but the model seems to be sticking now, as this year will be the second year in a row that the Oscars have no main host. The new model was instituted in the wake of last year's controversial departure of prospective host Kevin Hart over tweets the actor and comedian made which were perceived to be homophobic. Hart withdrew from his hosting position due to criticism and claimed, “I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscars. This is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists."

Giphy | The Academy Awards

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards will air this Sunday. Despite the lack of a central host, ABC entertainment president Karey Burke assured the public that the Oscars broadcast will still have plenty of engaging content. Burke stated, "together with the Academy, we have decided there will be no traditional host, repeating for us what worked last year...[but it will have] huge entertainment values, big musical numbers, comedy and star power.”

Despite Crystal's reservations, last year's show saw a 12% increase in viewership, which is thought to be a motivating factor behind continuing to hold the ceremonies without a host.

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