Billy Crystal was brought in as Oscar's host following Eddie Murphy's decision to bow out after his friend Brett Ratner left his role as the event's producer following homophobic slurs. How good then to have a nice, safe pair of hands to oversee proceedings, bosses must've thought. How wrong they were as Crystal decided to revisit his blackface to portray Sammy Davis Jr in the opening Oscars skit. Less than three minutes in and the ceremony was already the subject of controversy, you wonder if even Murphy and Ratner would've managed to achieve it as quick.
Crystal performed the sketch several times in the 1980s, however with Davis Jr dead for two decades now the joke seemed not only off-topic but also outdated, the blackface style of comedy long having been denounced by most for its racial connotations. The sketch last night saw Crystal encounter the mysterious time travelling car in Woody Allen's 'Midnight In Paris,' where among the "stars" in the vehicle is the blacked up Davis Jr, reports CBS News.
If that wasn't enough, the host made another joke upon Octavia Spencer's Best Supporting Actress win for her role in 'The Help,' stating that he loved the film so much it made him come out of the theatre wanting to hug the first black woman he saw, "Which, from Beverly Hills," he joked, "is about a 45-minute drive."