In his ninth time hosting the Academy Awards, Crystal isn’t planning to ‘go after people’ like some recent awards-show emcees.
By Kara Warner

2012 Oscar host Billy Crystal
Photo: FilmMagic

Although Billy Crystal wasn’t the Academy’s first pick to host the Oscars this year, the veteran emcee is a breath of familiar air to Hollywood’s main event.

This year marks Crystal’s ninth time hosting the show, and at age 63, he will be the oldest solo host of the event since Bob Hope in 1978 (Steve Martin was 64 when he co-hosted with Alec Baldwin in 2010). Coincidentally, the “When Harry Met Sally” star received a standing ovation from the Oscar audience last year when he appeared onstage briefly to honor Hope.

While some awards-show hosts of late have ventured into taboo and risky territory (see: Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais), Crystal has always carried out his duties with class and his own special brand of charisma, charm and wit.

“It’s important that the show be good, and I take it really seriously,” Crystal told Entertainment Weekly about the pressures and importance of the job. “That whole concept of ‘I want to really go after people’ — I don’t understand that. Is it a roast or is it an awards show? Do you dislike these people? I have a different bar. If there’s a good target and they deserve it, you can kid them in the right way. But it’s not the place to go out there and hammer people, because who am I? There’s many times we’ve kicked out jokes because they were too personal.”

It is very clear that Crystal will not be going for the jugular, which is more than fine by us, since the Oscars have a decidedly more serious and regal tone. This year’s ceremony will be helmed by a man who respects the industry and appreciates the pomp and circumstance of it all. And while we likely won’t witness any gasp-worthy jokes or quips, we can expect to feel warm and welcome via another one of Crystal’s lively movie montages at the start of the show, along with a few lighthearted tongue-in-cheek remarks that make us all feel like we’re in on the joke and invited to the party.

The MTV Movies team has the 2012 Oscars covered! Stick with us for everything you need to know leading up to the awards show, and head to Next Movie for a printable Oscar ballot. On Sunday, tune into at 5 p.m. ET for our two-and-a-half-hour red-carpet live stream and updates on the night’s big winners. To join the live conversation, tweet @MTVNews with the hashtag #Oscars.

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