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Finding the right talent willing to take on the often thankless job of playing master of ceremonies at Hollywood’s biggest party is arguably the toughest task for Oscar overseers. They want a host who’s edgy but not offensive, irreverent yet lovable. Someone who’s liked by the stodgy Hollywood establishment but has prospects of bringing hip younger audiences to the broadcast. A star who can mock and embrace in the same breath.

Who knows if Murphy could have pulled that off? But academy overseers have been willing to try new things to renew interest in the Oscars, whose TV ratings have been on a general decline the last couple of decades.

It paid off three years ago, when “X-Men” star Hugh Jackman made good use of his song-and-dance skills as Oscar host. It backfired last season when Anne Hathaway was teamed with leaden co-host James Franco.

If he’s interested in returning to host for a ninth time, Crystal seems like an obvious go-to guy, though at 63, he’s no longer the sort of fresh face likely to lure younger viewers.

Sasha Stone, editor of, suggested Oscar organizers aim for fresh blood with people such as Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Colbert or even a pairing of “Bridesmaids” co-stars Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, who reunited recently on “Saturday Night Live.”

“When I saw them together on `SNL,’ I thought they were like Hope and Crosby,” Stone said. “They had such great charisma and knew each other so well. I would love to see them on the Oscars. They could definitely have the ability to draw the higher ratings.”

No matter who is chosen, though, the host likely will draw the ire of at least some Oscar viewers.

“It’s a lose-lose situation for them. No matter what they do, people are going to complain,” Stone said. “It’s a show everyone loves to watch and everyone loves to hate.”