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Category: Billy Crystal

Academy Awards: Billy Crystal tasked with keeping it classy, funny

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This post has been corrected, as detailed below.

Academy Awards producer Brian Grazer and producer-director Don Mischer definitely had host Billy Crystal's back on the red carpet before the show started.

"He's really excited to be back here after seven years and he's got some very special and surprising things," Grazer said.

Added Mischer: "He's extremely quick on his feet, and that is invaluable in something like this. ... He loves the movies, loves being there and he's really done his homework. So I think he's going to do great, really well tonight."

Grazer saw one great challenge ahead: to entertain.

"We always have the great challenge is to make the show entertaining, to offer some surprises, but don't go crazy with it. Try to keep it classy and try to keep it funny."

And, Grazer said with a laugh, to keep it "as close to on time as possible. Which we've been wrestling with all morning."

As for the host, hours before the Academy Awards were set to begin, a jeans-and-sneakers clad Crystal had taken the Oscar stage at 3:25 p.m., mouthing his routine to himself and gesturing with his hands as he rehearsed in the empty theater at the Hollywood & Highland Center.

Behind the curtain at Crystal's back, the sets still smelled of wet paint and a stagehand pushed a broom across the floor. A phalanx of security officers discussed how they would be transporting the gold Oscar statuettes to the backstage area, and a crewman delivered a cart full of props for the Cirque du Soleil show.

After five minutes of rehearsal, Crystal quietly left the stage. Presumably on time.

[For the record, 8:54 p.m. Feb. 26: This post and video originally referred to Don Mischer incorrectly as Don Hahn.]

RELATED:

Oscars 2012: Full coverage

Timeline: Eight decades of Oscar history

Red carpet: Sacha Baron Cohen's 'Dictator' targets Ryan Seacrest

-- Geoff Boucher and Rebecca Keegan

Photo: Billy Crystal opens the 2012 Academy Awards. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times


Sophia Loren honored by the academy; Billy Crystal hosts

Sophia-loren-sons

Sophia Loren tribute pictures Sophia Loren, small-town girl turned international movie star, was honored Wednesday night in Beverly Hills at an event hosted by Billy Crystal and attended by the likes of John Travolta, Eva Mendes, Loren's "Nine" director, Rob Marshall, and her sons Carlo and Edoardo Ponti

"America has always accepted me, even in the beginning when I came here for the first time," Loren, 76, told The Times's Susan King recently. "I was very young and they gave me a wonderful cocktail party. Louella Parsons and Elsa Maxwell and Jayne Mansfield were there. I will never forget those days.

"For me, Hollywood was a fairy tale, coming from where I came from, a little town. It was something that I never expected."

"An Academy Tribute to Sophia Loren" featured clips from Loren movies including, among others, "Two Women," the 1961 foreign-language effort for which she won the lead actress Oscar, and 1964's "Marriage Italian Style," for which she was nominated.

Click the pics to see more photos from the event honoring the life and work of Sophia Loren.

ALSO:

Sophia Loren dazzles L.A. yet again

Donald Sutherland gets a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Natalie Portman shows off her engagement ring, wins another award

— Christie D'Zurilla

Top photo: Sophia Loren with sons composer Carlo Ponti, left, and director Edoardo Ponti, right, during arrivals at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' tribute to her in Beverly Hills on Thursday. Credit: Fred Prouser / Reuters.

Left photo: Loren with tribute host Billy Crystal. Credit: Jason Redmond / EPA.


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