Thursday, June 20, 2024

Billy Crystal Oscar Cameo: “I Did Three Hours Prep for a Minute and a Half”


Billy Crystal turned up with his family at the Governors Ball following the Oscars and got star treatment. In the 1930s themed nightclub setting, Crystal was seated right among the nominees. He told me thought James Franco and Anne Hathaway were just great, and that they well represented young Hollywood. Billy, who would be a welcome host next year or any year, said his little cameo in the middle of the show still required a lot of work. “I prepped for three hours a minute and a half on screen,” Billy said “But it was worth it.” We love him. Next year, Academy, Billy please…

The Governor’s Ball should have been called “Meet the Parents”: Tom Hooper’s mum and dad, Helena Bonham Carter’s mum, the Franco and Hathaway families. Anne Hathaway’s mom, a stage musical actress, only found out she was going to be on the show at 1am on Sunday. Mitzi Verne, James Franco’s spunky grandmother, had a few hours’ more notice, by the way. David O. Russell’s dad was sales director at Simon & Schuster for Simon & Schuster for about 30 years. We reminisced about publishing; he worked with Carly Simon’s dad, the founder of the company. He told me that David’s mom didn’t speak to him for three years after “Spanking the Monkey,” Russell’s first film, about a mother -son fling…

A lot of people stayed late at the Governor’s Ball and never made it anywhere else. Warren Beatty and Annette Bening made it their only after show stop. Warren got into a heavy looking discourse with James Schamus, Annette was busy discussing the magnificent jewelry she’d borrowed with two friends. Meanwhile Natalie Portman and her family held court very low profile away and to the side of the main action. Sony’s Sir Howard Stringer commanded “The Social Network table where Justin Timberlake was fighting a cold. Later I saw JT with Jessica Biel at the Vantiy Fair party. Sir Howard nixed the idea that Sony had some how given up on “The Social Network.” “We really wanted to win,” he said wistffully. “But the Academy is older, and many of them may not have known what Facebook was.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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