- - Thursday, November 10, 2011

Billy Crystal tweets he’s Oscar host

Billy Crystal says he is hosting the Academy Awards.

The 63-year-old comedian and Oscar-hosting veteran said Thursday on Twitter that he is “doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions.”

Academy officials confirmed the appointment but had no further comment.

Mr. Crystal last hosted the show in 2004.

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift more >

His ninth stint as Oscar host follows a groundswell of sentiment for his return after a guest appearance on the Oscar show in February for which he received a standing ovation.

Eddie Murphy had been chosen to host the Feb. 26, 2012, show, but pulled out Wednesday after the departure of producer and friend Brett Ratner over an anti-gay slur.

Mr. Murphy’s replacement had been the talk of the town, with people in Hollywood speculating whether other past hosts such as Steve Martin or Jon Stewart might return or whether a first-timer such as Tina Fey or Neil Patrick Harris could get the job.

Just hours after announcing Mr. Murphy’s exit, organizers signed up Brian Grazer, the Oscar-winning producer of “A Beautiful Mind,” to fill the producing slot vacated by Mr. Ratner. Mr. Grazer joins Don Mischer, who is co-producing and directing the Oscar show for the second straight year.

Mr. Grazer is an upmarket choice compared with Mr. Ratner, who is best known for directing the “Rush Hour” flicks and drew the scorn of comic-book fans for “X-Men: The Last Stand,” widely considered a feeble finale to that superhero franchise trilogy.

Mr. Ratner also directed the new action comedy “Tower Heist,” which stars Mr. Murphy and Ben Stiller. It was during a question-and-answer session at a screening of the film that Mr. Ratner touched off an uproar with his use of a pejorative term for gay men.

Coincidentally, Mr. Grazer is a producer of the movie.

Women rule the roost at the CMAs

Though the Country Music Association Awards show is still largely the domain of men, triumphs by Taylor Swift and the Band Perry show the young women of country music are finding their voices and shoving the boys out of the way.

Miss Swift was named CMA’s entertainer of the year for the second time Wednesday night, and Kimberly Perry of sibling act the Band Perry took home song of the year and two other awards with her brothers, Neil and Reid. Add in wins by Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum and Sugarland, and the songwriting strength of today’s country girls is undeniable.

Story Continues →