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Oscars: Billy Crystal stars in Funny or Die-produced trailer

January 5, 2012 |  7:14 pm

Oscars: Billy Crystal stars in Funny or Die-produced trailer

Where in the world is Billy Crystal? In an Oscar trailer, of course. And somewhere in Mongolia, fictionally speaking.

Although last year’s TV spots for the Oscars telecast featured soon-to-be-panned James Franco and Anne Hathaway as hosts in training for the ceremony, this year is just the opposite, with experience as the focus of the show's promotion. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is highlighting Crystal's return in a trailer produced with Funny or Die, the comedy website that has provided such viral video moments as Will Ferrell encountering his 2-year-old landlord.

Playing out like an overly dramatic preview for an adventure movie, the trailer, titled "Off the Grid,"  features a search for Crystal led by Josh Duhamel and Megan Fox. (Is it a sign that the Oscars haven't given up on their endeavor to reel in young viewers?) A booming voice announces, "They were charged with tracking down a legend."

"We wanted to try something a little bit different this year instead of a traditional, clip-based piece," academy chief marketing officer Christina Kounelias said in a statement. "The trailer has a fun twist that conveys how excited everyone is to have Billy back."

In addition to starring Duhamel, Fox and Mr. Oscar Host himself, the trailer for the 2012 Oscars features cameo performances by William Fichtner, Vinnie Jones and past Academy Awards co-host Robin Williams.

Starting Friday, the trailer will run in more than 2,000 theaters. The 84th annual Academy Awards, which will be Crystal's ninth time hosting, take place Feb. 26. Watch the trailer below.


Billy Crystal to host 2012 Oscars

Oscars not lacking for excitement

With Billy Crystal hosting, have the Oscars given up on youth?

-- Emily Rome

Photo: Billy Crystal mimics the Oscar statues after it was announced that he would host the 2004 Academy Awards. Credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images