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Billy Crystal steps in to host Oscars

Billy Crystal steps in to host Oscars

Billy Crystal steps in to host Oscars

Oscar veteran Billy Crystal has been brought in to host next year’s awards ceremony, ending a few days of turmoil for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The show started falling apart at the weekend, when producer Brett Ratner told fans at a Q&A that “rehearsal is for fags,” prompting outrage from Hollywood’s gay community and leading him to quit.

The host of the show, his friend – and star of his latest film Tower Heist – Eddie Murphy followed him out of the door.

Producer Brian Grazer, who won an Oscar when A Beautiful Mind was voted Best Picture, was hired to replace Ratner, leaving only the host job vacant.

Tonight, the sixty three year old comedian and actor, who’s already hosted the Oscars eight times – between 1990 and 2004 – let the cat out of the bag on Twitter, saying he was doing the show “so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions.” Crystal said he was thrilled to be back. Only Bob Hope has hosted the awards more times, notching up 19 ceremonies, between 1940 and 1978.

The Academy was quick to confirm the announcement. “I’m thrilled to welcome Billy back,” said the AMPAS President Tom Sherak. “He’s a comic legend and Oscar icon, and it feels good to have him back where he belongs.”

Grazer said that he, like many others, had been eager to see Crystal host the show again. “It’s very gratifying that he agreed to do it with me at the helm.”

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