Billy Crystal beats off Muppets to host Oscars for the ninth time

Billy Crystal is to host the 84th Academy Awards in February 2012, beating off strong competition from an online campaign that sought to persuade the Academy to give the job to the Muppets.

Since Eddie Murphy quit earlier this week in the wake of the controversial departure of Brett Ratner from the producer’s job, the smart money has been on Billy Crystal getting his ninth hosting gig at the ceremony. The comedian confirmed the news via Twitter, joking that he’s doing it so that young people will recognise him. At 63, he will be the oldest host since Bob Hope in 1978.

Crystal will almost certainly be a popular choice. There was a wave of support, however, for the Muppets, with some people believing that Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the gang would have made for an unforgettable ceremony. Ultimately, however, new producer Brian Grazer went for the relatively safe choice of Crystal, the one man who has arguably taken Bob Hope’s place as king of the ceremony.



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