UPDATE: We called it last night. Billy Crystal is going to host the Oscars.
Now that Eddie Murphy has exited the Oscars, who should new producer Brian Grazer and returning producer Don Mischer select as host? There’s only one answer, as far as I can tell: Billy Crystal. Everyone wants him. Wherever I went yesterday, it was Crystal’s name that kept coming up. My guess is that Grazer, who is a long time friend of Crystal, will persuade the popular comic to step into the fray. Last year just the thought of Crystal making a brief appearance got every gossip’s tongue wagging. Now, with the Ratner-Murphy debacle, and last spring’s Franco-Hathaway stint gone, the Academy is likely to for a retreat to former glories. Crystal is it. You can already see him doing parodies of “J Edgar,” “The Artist,” “Moneyball,” “Midnight in Paris” and a half dozen other films. Some other name I’ve heard: Jamie Foxx, Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen DeGeneres. But Crystal is the top choice.