58104857Now we know that Hugh Jackman isn’t going to repeat his hosting duties from last year.

Neil Patrick Harris, good as he was, has been overused by the Tonys and the Emmys.

Ricky Gervais is going to the Golden Globes, which will only be funny if he asks who all those people are in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

So who’s going to run the Academy Awards? Please, no multiple host set up, producers. The idea of Ellen DeGeneres, Steve Martin, etc weaving in and out ‘ it’s not palatable. Chris Rock? Not again. David Letterman? Don’t think so. Conan? Jay, Jon Stewart, Jimmy Fallon? All good, but not Hollywood really. At that point you might as well get Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman.

In truth, there’s only one man for the job: Billy Crystal.

This time around, the host will have 10 Best Picture nominees to deal with, plus Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” and who knows what else.

Indeed, only Billy Crystal can really pull this off. At least the Academy will be assured of a funny show, hilarious film parodies, and a knowing nod to the industry.

The question is: will he do it? Crystal is the most popular of all Oscar hosts. After Hugh Jackman’s stint last spring, I was told Crystal could be cajoled back. When I wrote that on February 25th in my old column, the international press went wild.

Crystal would certainly be a ratings hit. And you can already kind of see him dressed as Guido from “Nine,” or bringing Nelson Mandela his prison dinner in “Invictus,” or fighting back against the mother in “Precious.”

Sttrangely, one Oscar blog (always wrong about nominees and winners, but they don’t seem to care) is running a poll of possible candidates but excludes Crystal completely. They’ve got Tina Fey as their top vote getter. Fey is a great writer, but Oscar host? The only other real contender besides Crystal, I would think, would be Steve Carell. But he’s the flipside of Gervais, and the Oscars may not want to go in that direction.

Billy hosted the Oscars in 1990’1993, 1997, 1998, 2000, and 2004. Each time out was a success. My prediction: he’ll be back. But I do hope producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shenkman keep the innovation from last year of having past winners introduce the main nominees. It was a nice tie to the past.

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