Published February 24, 2009
Now that Hugh Jackman’s turn as host of the Academy Awards has been cemented as a success, the multi-talented movie star/song and dance man can go into the rotation with all the other available hosts for future shows.
But most hosts don’t repeat in consecutive years, so the question is, who should be next?
The answer is right under our noses: Billy Crystal.
I am told by various sources that Crystal, who last hosted the show in 2004, might be amenable to coming back now that the show is on sure footing again and he isn’t touring his one man show, publishing a book, or writing a new movie.
Crystal has undeniably been Oscar’s favorite host. He started in 1990 and continued a four-year-run through 1993. After a break of three years, he did back-to-back hosting in 1997 and 1998 and again in 2000. The last time he hosted the show — is it possible? — was in 2004. If he’s wooed back for the coming year, 2010, he will have been absent six times.
Of course, one of the main pleasures of a Billy Crystal Oscars is his opening film. This year, you could really have imagined Billy answering questions on the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?,” as an old man and an ugly baby in “Benjamin Button,” in sexy scenes with Kate Winslet from “The Reader,” and playing both Frost and Nixon.
Having Crystal return doesn’t mean jettisoning any of the great stuff added by Larry Mark and Bill Condon. In fact, many of their changes should be instituted as new traditions, especially the acting nominee “tributes” and the “surprise” guests. But none of that has anything to do with who hosts the show. And Hugh Jackman may well be busy with his own career at this time next year.
So, someone at the Academy needs to pick up the phone, and call Billy Crystal before he’s out of reach again!
So you’ve just won the Academy award for best Picture. What do you do? The kids from “Slumdog Millionaire” actually went to Disneyland yesterday with their parents. They got back to their hotel around 10 p.m. How they were awake is a mystery since they all left the Vanity Fair party at 3 a.m. on Monday morning and headed over to the Four Seasons Hotel for a live broadcast on the “Today” show.
The kids are very cute and, for the moment, movie stars. But they also live in Mumbai, and two of them are said to still be in the slums. Everyone connected to the film says the kids are being provided for nicely, and that the producers have taken good care of them. Certainly the trip to Hollywood must be a shocker. Going home may be something of a letdown since “Slumdog Millionaire” is a one-off fluke with no planned sequel.
But all the “Slumdog” cast and production celebrated their eight Oscar statues at the Vanity Fair party. They arrived and stayed late, and danced around the Sunset Towers as the deejay played Indian music. It was swell.
Irfan Khan, the best known actor in the film, and one of our favorites, is sticking around L.A. for a few days, too. I’m told he’s up for a part in the film version of “Life of Pi.” He’s a breakout superstar at this point. Producers are lining up to hire him.
One “Slumdog” star has already gotten a career boost from the Oscar winning film. Beauteous Freida Pinto is joining the cast of Woody Allen’s new comedy. And Dev Patel is already shooting a new film with M. Night Shyamalan.
I told you that last Friday night the Australian Film Commission threw a party for Heath Ledger’s family at Chateau Marmont.
Since then, it’s been pointed out to me that this was an odd and ironic choice for the Ledgers. Right after Heath died in January 2008, a video emerged showing him partying like crazy at the Chateau. “Entertainment Tonight” promoted the video for broadcast until they were threatened by various A list sources: either back off or face losing major guests and access.
After all that, one can only wonder why the Chateau was chosen as the venue for the family party. There were probably more appropriate places to toast the Oscar winner’s memory.
Elton John was a busy guy on Oscar night, He hosted his own bash at the Pacific Design Center, then took off for Vanity Fair’s after party at the Sunset Towers. There’s a rumor that Elton accepted a $60,000 donation to his AIDS Fund from someone who got to be his date at Vanity Fair. “Date” might be stretching it since David Furnish was also with Elton at Vanity Fair, along with their pal Ingrid Sischy.
Over at the Pacific Design Center, Elton entertained guests like with two songs, “Bennie and the Jets,” and “Empty Garden,” his hit tribute to the memory of John Lennon. Raphael Saadiq also performed, hitting some nice high notes.
As much as Vanity Fair is considered the “hot” party of the night, Elton still managed to get a pretty swell crowd. Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins, Kate Beckinsale, Sharon Stone, Elle MacPherson, Ben Kingsley, Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor, Whoopi Goldberg, Quincy Jones, Hugh Laurie, Jared Harris, Natasha Bedingfield, Eva Longoria Parker, Hugh Dancy and Claire Danes, Kiefer Sutherland, Cheryl Tiegs, Victoria Beckham, and Chris Noth were among his guests. Elton even had a whole gang from “American Idol” including Simon, Randy, Ryan, and Carrie Underwood.
Beyonce was great in her musical number at the Oscars but she didn’t stick around to accept kudos. Ten minutes after her performance was over, Ms. Knowles was out the door and on her way back to New York. …
…Troy Garity took a day and a half off from shooting Mario van Peebles’ “Kerosene Cowboys” in Nevada to join wife Simone for the Vanity Fair party and Oscar festivities. The couple will next get a break when they help Troy’s mom, Jane Fonda, celebrate the opening of her Broadway play “33 Variations” on March 9th in New York. “Kerosene Cowboys” has already spent months shooting in Russia, and should wrap up soon. …
… Director/producer John Singleton got to meet one of his faves, “Reader” director Stephen Daldry, during a show break. Pictures were taken and hands were shaken. …
… Is the next big breakout star Zooey Deschanel? Talk about waiting her turn. But Zooey co-stars with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in “500 Days of Summer,” an anti-romantic comedy that could do the trick for this charmer. She held court like a pro Sunday night at the Vanity Fair party. …On the guys’ side, look for Logan Marshall Green, who was a hit off Broadway with Kevin Kline in “King Lear,” and is in Brett Ratner’s TV series, “Blue Blood.” …
… Is there anything going on in New York? You bet! Remember beauty Shari Belafonte from the show “Hotel?” She’s just opened an art exhibition at The Chair and the Maiden gallery at 19 Christopher Street in the West Village. Dad Harry Belafonte has already bought two pieces. Old friend Bebe Neuwirth stopped in to the opening night. Read all about it here.