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Billy Crystal hosting the 2012 Academy Awards

At the 2019 Oscars ceremony, there was no host at the center of the show for the first time in 30 years. It was by mistake, considering Kevin Hart was originally hired to emcee, but in the end, the Academy was happy with how the show turned out without one. So this Sunday’s ceremony will once again go without a host, but nine-time Oscar host Billy Crystal thinks this is a problem.

The 71-year-old comedian has compared the hostless Oscars as “having a trial without witnesses.” Here’s what else he had to say about why it’s just not the same:

To me, it's the tradition of it. When we did it, I always felt I was in a line of Johnny [Carson] and Bob Hope and the people I grew up with. I always loved being out there. I loved the trust that the movie academy had in me to get me out there and I always felt like it was a great honor to do it. I think that when you have a show that's as long as it is, things are gonna happen. I think the problem with the no host thing, perhaps, is that there's not somebody out there to capitalize on that moment.

As Billy Crystal explains, during the long ceremony, something often something goes wrong or something funny happens, and that’s the job of a host – to take advantage of that moment and harness it into entertainment. He called some of his “best moments” as host during times when things went wrong, reminiscing about the time a 100-year-old Hal Roach was acknowledged for his impressive age.

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The legendary actor was just supposed to stand up, smile and wave in the second row of the theater, but instead, he started conducting a speech… without a mic. Billy Crystal was then able to “capitalize” on the moment and make light of it by saying to the camera “it’s very fitting because he got his start in silent films.”

Without a host, a moment like that just couldn’t happen. Billy Crystal discussed his concerns about the Oscars with past host Jimmy Kimmel on his show. They talked about the infamous La La Land/Moonlight Best Picture disaster that happened the year Kimmel was emcee. If you look back at the moment, having him there as host did add a little something (perhaps needed?) during the fiasco:

Jimmy Kimmel once spoke out about not being interested in hosting again after two years doing the gig. He called it a “no win situation” and “a fucking nightmare.” Considering other comedians aren’t volunteering left and right, that seems to be the general consensus.

After the 2018 Oscars received particularly low ratings, the Academy was hellbent on making the runtime of the ceremony shorter and no host ended up shaving off 30 minutes. In 2019, viewer ratings did go up 12% and the feedback seemed to be generally positive without a host to steer.

What do you think? Are the Oscars better off with or without a host? Leave a comment and vote in our poll below!

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