When Bette and Billy met Oscar ....
Posted December 10, 2012
NEW YORK -- Bette Midler and Billy Crystal, stars of the new family comedy Parental Guidance that opens Christmas day, are both on a first-name basis with Oscar.
Crystal has hosted the Academy Awards show nine times -- second only to Bob Hope's 18 -- including as a last-minute replacement earlier this year when Eddie Murphy dropped out after producer Brett Ratner was canned for making controversial remarks.
Midler was twice nominated for best actress (1979's The Rose and 1991's For the Boys). But her most memorable contribution was when she livened up the more-plodding-than-usual proceedings by cheekily introducing the 1981 best song nominees, including "Endless Love from the endless movie Endless Love," written by "the extremely rich Lionel Richie."
Crystal (aghast): "Did you say that?"
Midler: "Yes. I said a lot in those days. I'd say everything. I don't do those shows anymore. You did a great one under strange circumstances this year. Such a strange, thankless job. I give you so much credit for going forward with that."
Asked what they think about the current anointed host, Seth McFarlane, Midler whispers: "Who's Seth McFarlane?"
"He's the Family Guy," Crystal says about the creator of the popular Fox cartoon series. "I think he'll be funny. I hope he'll be funny."
As voting members of the academy, do they prefer watching potential nominees on screeners or on the big screen? "Both," they say in unison.
Do they take their duty seriously?
"Oh, God," Crystal blurts, indicating yes.
Midler: "I used to."
As for what they have liked so far, Crystal is a fan of The Impossible, a disaster drama about a family affected by the 2004 tsunami."Oh, man, that is something. I liked Argo a great deal, too, and The Intouchables."
"I saw Argo and that is all I saw," Midler says.
But with their promotional duties for Parental Guidance taking precedence and ballots due earlier than usual on Jan. 3, they will be playing catch-up when they go back home.
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