Billy Crystal wants to overhaul the Oscars

Billy Crystal, who declined to host the Academy Awards this year but appeared for a few seconds in the opening taped bit,  tells Variety’s Army Archerd it was his idea to bring in Chris Rock for the Brokeback gag. He also says that Oscar telecast producer Gil Cates will really have to shake up the show’s format before he agrees to host again, though he doesn’t say what he’d do differently.

Any suggestions, PopWatchers? What should be done to fix the show? And do those improvements include bringing back Crystal?


Comments (39 total) Add your comment
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  • Kimmie G

    While there were a couple things that I hated (music during the acceptance speeches, too many montages), some stuff I dug totally, like: comedic actors doing the award presentations (Will, Steve, Ben, Luke and Owen!); letting the winner up on stage for their speeches (keeping them in the audience last year was harsh); and, well, in two words, Jon Stewart. Give him the hosting duties for a few years and let’s see how he grows into it!
    How do you shake up the Oscars? Look at the Grammys, Golden Globes and MTV Music Awards! Award shows have a formula, and that’s that. You mix them up by who’s involved. Leave Billy out of them, he’s too miquetoast. Make it better by sticking with Jon.

  • Nick

    Speaking as an Oscar obsessive (I even have my own website for awards shows), I really think the only way they can revamp the show is to get rid of the categories that people do not care about. I truly appeciate that there is a lot more going on behind the camera than in the front, and that these people are very very talented…AND deserving of their time in the sun. Quick, name the person who won Best Art Direction or Best Live Action Short? The lion’s share of the public just want to see writing, actors, actress, director, animated feature, and best picture. You could probably throw in song and soundtrack as well, but those often lead to the dreadful production numbers. Once they pare down the categories, they should think of other categories that would be good for prime time. I’ve always thought a “Star of Tomorrow” and best ensemble award would be a great addition to the night.
    They also need to stop thinking that everyone wants to celebrate the art of movies every year. We do not need the montages. We just want an entertaining night with the stars. This year was a major improvement, but without losing some of the technical categories, there is no way they will ever be able to reform the show.

  • Troy

    I’ve got the solution. Nix the hosting gig. There doesn’t really need to be one. They usually drag the show out longer than it has to be, no matter how funny they are. Also, do away with the needless montages and tributes — no one really cares.

  • Todd

    Simply put, make them more fun. I strongly disagree with cutting categories, but I do agree they slow down the ceremony. I think people like Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell and Steve Carrell did a great job of livening these segments up. If you’re going to cut something, cut the lame introductions by people like Selma Hayek and Keanu Reeves. Fire the current crop of writers, get the writing staff of “The Daily Show” or “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and just make these award shows more fun.

  • Charlotte

    I’m not a huge fan of Crystal’s, but I do agree that things need to be changed. First of all, a new producer who has a sense of humor about movies in general and the awards show in particular. The acceptance speeches seem to be better on the awards shows where alcohol in served, so there’s always that.
    I don’t think we should cut out the “lesser” categories, because these people work hard and deserve something. In fact, adding the stunt category might liven things up a bit, and we could combine the musical numbers with stunt displays of the nominated movies.
    Finally, a loved Jon Stewart, but let him off the leash.

  • richard

    #1 They have smoothed the edges down way way too much. God forbid something spontaneous happens.
    #2 The pressure they put on winners to speak quickly is f^%*ing insane. They are the ONLY living breathing moments of the show. And cutting the second person off before they speak on the biggest night of their lives leaves a terrible aftertaste that stays with me the rest of the show.
    The six main awards – let ‘em talk as long as they want.
    #3 NO billy crystal!

  • Maria

    Cut down on the montages or rework the montages: I’m still trying to figure out how Grease is considered an “epic.”

  • Jakeem

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Get rid of the preshow, start the telecast an hour earlier, and then steal a page from the Golden Globes. Remember when Dick Clark would interview the winners backstage for reactions? This could easily be integrated into the Oscar telecast.

  • Samantha

    Seriously cant the Oscar folks just take a page from the Golden Globes. Lighten up!!!! Bring in the booze and nix the host. Although Stewart was fine. Why not bring in Conan O’Brien??

  • Paul U.


  • mz

    I think that the producers are so terrified of losing their audience that they are trying to create from a position of fear. That never works. They are so focused on not having anything go wrong, and not having a single “dull” moment – that they’ve produced the life out of it.
    Here’s a perfect example: I recently saw the video that Kathleen “Bird” York did for her song “In the Deep” (from Crash). It was mostly just Bird singing the song against a black background, looking straight into the camera. Not only was it absolutely mesmerizing, but it was far more powerful than the ridiculous dance number that the producers of the show put on behind BIrd while she was singing.
    But to the producers – it was obviously “God forbid we leave out the bells and whistles and just let a real human being sing a deeply moving song. 1.352% of our audience might get restless and switch channels. Hey – I know what we can do – let’s throw in some burning cars!”
    And I agree – they also need to stop cutting off the major winner’s speeches!

  • Padraig

    How about ditching the ridiculous themes for the ceremonies – like “The Return to Glamour” or “The Year of the Woman.”
    Why not “2005 At The Movies?” Celebrate the great cinema from the year, instead of showing montages of the same old clips from the classics.
    Let the viewers see extended clips from the nominated films; let them understand what makes these films worthy of being nominated. Shouldn’t the purpose be to give the audience some insight into these productions and make them want to rush out and watch the films (in a theatre)?

  • pitchmeister

    Start the show with a montage of the movies from the eligible year – and include all genres – then end it with about 2 minutes of the most memorable scense from the 5 nominated movies since this is what everyone is here to celebrate – that year in movies. Then start with the show – no host – award after award. Let people speak and have fun. The oscar telecast is just too uptight and the major issue is that the host has to make everyone relax in the first 15 minutes of the show – which does not happen. Also, give the presenters an outline of what they need to say and allow for some adlibbing – imagine what a presenter would have said after three six mafia won for best song (eventhough Stewarts comment was priceless).

  • Moofies

    What is the big draw? The moments that everything is leading up to? The acting and directing awards. And best picture. And it seems the *entire production agenda* of the awards show is to keep those moments as *brief as possible*. I would rather hear the winning actors get to make a complete speech than watch an INANE sketch with Tom Hanks mocking acceptance speeches. I just don’t get it. Lose the endless montages. Lose the stupid, pre-prepared comedy bits. And let the winners that we’ve tuned in to see have their full moment in the sun.

  • jules

    I’m having deja vu. Didn’t you guys already ask this question?

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