Billy Crystal Is Making Oscars Appearance: Exclusive Spoilers From Detailed Schedule


MORE UPDATES, SATURDAY: I’ve confirmed that Billy Crystal, without doubt the most popular Oscar host in recent years, will be making a “surprise” appearance at the 83rd Academy Awards on Sunday night. About two-thirds of the way into the telecast, the comedian is scheduled to perform a monologue about the movie industry. His stand-up is so secret that it was listed only as “Guest Host” on the official show rundown I obtained and posted Friday. But then Billy was ushered in and out of Friday’s rehearsal without even the other showbiz stars knowing he was at the Kodak Theatre. Given what a snorefest so much of this year’s Oscar show looks to be, Crystal’s appearance will be something that TV viewers will surely welcome … I’ve also learned that the so-called “Cold Opening” of the show, as scheduled, features a filmed bit involving actor Alec Baldwin who was last year’s Academy Awards co-host with Steve Martin. The shtick is that Baldwin wants to host again this year and is imagining what it would be like — but then discovers that James Franco and Anne Hathaway were chosen to host instead of him … Towards the end of the show, again as scheduled, there’ll be a brief Back To The Future segment starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd from the 1985 film … And venerable actor/producer Kirk Douglas will present the Best Supporting Actress Oscar … Again, let me emphasize that last-minute changes can always occur.

EXCLUSIVE FRIDAY 7:00 AM… NEW UPDATES 11:45 AM: I’ve obtained the annotated schedule for Sunday night’s 83rd Academy Awards show and what’s confirmed at this point looks to be yet another snorefest from the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences airing on ABC and in 200 countries around the globe. Here will be the highlights or lowlights depending on your point of view when it comes to the overly long and usually boring Oscars telecast: Steven Spielberg will award Best Picture … Hilary Swank and Kathryn Bigelow will hand out Best Director … Hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway pop up almost every minute and make at least 5 wardrobe changes and open the show with one of those Billy Crystal-originated films putting themselves into scenes from all the 10 nominated movies … UPDATE: A “Guest Host” will perform a monologue about 2/3s of the way into the show and the person isn’t identified and every insider isn’t talking — but I bet it’s Billy Crystal (which could make these Oscars worth watching)* … Florence (of Florence And The Machine) will perform with A.R. Rahman the 127 Hours song “If I Rise” Celine Dion will sing “Smile” during the In Memoriam segment … A tribute to Lena Horne will be presented by Halle Berry … So-called ‘Scenic Transitions’ to Hollywood’s past will consist of virtual reality lookbacks (at the very first Oscars, the films Gone With The Wind and Lord Of The Rings, movie music from The Silent Era and Broadway Melody and THX, the first televised Academy Awards in black & white, and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood) … New writers will join Bruce Vilanch and John Mack including Grammy Awards vet David Wilde and Judd Apatow-regular Jordan Rubin  … Presenters won’t have to read those lame jokes … UPDATE: The student choir from the New York City/Staten Island School PS 22 student choir is going to close the show by singing “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard Of Oz* These are pretty much the only interesting moments awaiting the audience Sunday when the show airs starting at 5 PM and continues for what feels like an eternity.

There’s also a lot you won’t see, like any live singing and dancing numbers involving both Hathaway and Franco together. One planned Oscar number where James Franco in drag was to sing the Cher song from Burlesque — “You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me” — had to be scrapped not only because the song wasn’t nominated but also because show producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer decided that Franco’s singing was too horrible. “You only have to hear the tape to learn why it was scrubbed,” an insider explained to me. Franco even tweeted an audio-only link to his awful rehearsal where he apologizes repeatedly (click box to listen).

On the other hand, Franco subsequently tweeted this outtake clip showing he and Hathaway rehearsing a dance scene from Grease.

Meanwhile, it’s bizarre that, breaking from tradition, neither 2010 winners Mo’Nique nor Christoph Waltz won’t be presenting the Best Supporting Actor/Actress categories according to the official sked. UPDATE: I’ve found out that Mo’Nique refused to be a presenter even though she was repeatedly asked, while Waltz is overseas filming.*

And even though Internet reports claimed performance artist/graffiti painter/political activist Banksy, who is supposedly the director of the film Exit Through The Gift Shop nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar, was banned from attending the awards in disguise (he wanted to come dressed as a monkey), Academy president Tom Sherak tells Deadline that’s not true. Noting how competitive almost all the categories are this year, including Documentary, Sherak said, “The media is making it exciting with all the questions about Banksy. I think it’s all good and if he shows up, he shows up. I won’t stop him.”

So here’s the show rundown, according to the annotated schedule I’ve obtained (barring any last-minute changes). And check out my Oscars Live-Snarking on Sunday night:

Hosts James Franco (127 Hours and a Best Actor nominee this year) and Anne Hathaway (Love And Other Drugs) will open the show with a Billy-Crystal-originated comedic filmed piece where they appear in scenes from the year’s 10 Best Pictures real or not. Then they welcome the audience in the first “Scenic Transition” — this one, from the 1939 movie Gone With The Wind.

Tom Hanks is the first presenter, handing out the Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography Oscars. But almost all the other Academy Award presenters are stars from 2010’s crop of movies or upcoming 2011 pics.

Next comes the Best Supporting Actress Oscar but the presenter’s name is not on the rundown.

Justin Timberlake (The Social Network) and Mila Kunis (Black Swan) present the Best Animated Feature and Best Animated Short Film Oscars.

The next “Scenic Transition” takes audiences back to the very first first Academy Awards ceremony held on May 16, 1929, at the Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood to honor the 1927/1928 film season. That segues to Javier Bardem (Biutiful) and Josh Brolin (True Grit) awarding the Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Screenplay Oscars.

Franco and Hathaway appear in what’s described as a “performance comedy” with a wardrobe change of gowns and tuxedos.

Russell Brand (Get Him To The Greek) and Helen Mirren (Red) present the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Then comes Reese Witherspoon (How Do You Know) to hand out the Supporting Actor Oscar.

Academy President Tom Sherak next comes out onto the Kodak Theatre stage to talk.

Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole) and Hugh Jackman (2011’s Real Steel and host of the 81st Academy Awards) are onstage for the “Scenic Transition Sound” into the Silent Era then Broadway Melody then THX and a past film score medley with the orchestra. Kidman and Jackman hand out the Best Original Score Oscar.

Next, Matthew McConaughey (2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer) and Scarlett Johansson (Iron Man 2) present the Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing Oscars.

Marisa Tomei (Cyrus) comes out to present the Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Sci-Tech Awards recap.

Anne Hathaway is shown in a tux. Which leads to the next “Scenic Transition” — to the franchise Lord Of The Rings featuring its co-star Cate Blanchett (Robin Hood) who presents the Best Makeup and Best Costume Design Oscars.

There’s an interlude of “Movie Music I Remember” introduced by Kevin Spacey (Casino Jack).

Next are the start of the Best Songs performances with Randy Newman performing “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3, followed by Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi and Alan Mencken performing “I See The Light” from Tangled.

Jake Gyllenhaal (Prince Of Persia, Love And Other Drugs) and Amy Adams (The Fighter) present the Best Documentary Short Subject and Best Live Action Short Film Oscars.

Anne Hathaway and James Franco do a comedy bit together in another wardrobe change — their 3rd.

Oprah Winfrey presents Best Documentary feature. Meanwhile, her BFF Gayle King will be backstage doing live interviews.

Anne Hathaway introduces a Guest Host (not ID’ed), which leads into another “Scenic Transition” — the first televised Oscars in black & white. The Guest Host does a monologue.

2011’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows’ co-stars Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man 2, Due Date) and Jude Law (Repo Men) present the Best Visual Effects and Flm Editing Oscars.

Anne Hathaway makes her 4th wardrobe change.

Jennifer Hudson introduces the performance of the 3rd nominated song, “If I Rise” from 127 Hours, performed by Florence Welch (of Florence And the Machine) with A.R. Rahman. (Dido isn’t doing it…) Followed by the 4th nominated song, “Coming Home” from Country Strong, sung by Gwyneth Paltrow. Then Hudson presents the Best Original Song Oscar.

Celine Dion and the William Ross-conducted orchestra perform “Smile” during the In Memoriam segment. Following is a Lena Horne tribute introduced by Halle Barry. And then a wide shot in the house with quote.

The Best Director Award will be presented by Hilary Swank (Conviction) and last year’s winner (and first female to do so) Kathryn Bigelow.

Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right) introduces the Governors Awards package held in a separate ceremony on November 14th, with the honorees introduced onstage: actor Eli Wallach, film historian/preservationist Kevin Brownlow, and director/producer/screenwriter and Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award recipient Francis Ford Coppola. The 4th honoree, French director Jean-Luc Godard declined to attend the Governors Awards or the Oscars.

Seque into still another “Scenic Transition” — Grauman’s Chinese Theater, scene of many big movie premieres and where the stars’s hands and feet and signatures are memorialized in cement.

Last year’s Best Actor winner Jeff Bridges (True Grit) presents the Best Actress Oscar.

Anne Hathaway undergoes her 5th wardrobe change.

Last year’s Best Actress winner Sandra Bullock presents the Best Actor Oscar.

Steven Spielberg presents the Best Motion Picture Oscar.

Then comes the finale with Franco and Hathaway saying their goodnights. The End (mercifully).

        1. Good question. That’s one tradition that I’ve always liked; last year’s actor winner presenting to the new winner. The question I have is why Hilary Swank is co-presenting best director?! WTF. Kathryn deserves to present by herself!

          1. I couldn’t agree more — why couldn’t kathryn present by herself? Every male director in the past has done it alone. She deserves it — its as if they don’t think that she is big enough to present an award — she only directed the best movie of last year.

        1. James Franco told Zap2it that Gervais “bombed” at the Golden Globes.
          Boy if he thinks Gervais “bombed,” one can only imagine how Sunday’s Oscars will go. Oy!

          1. True. Doing the same old program with younger hosts does not make the Oscars hip and edgy. Least Ricky had people on their toes.

        2. Ricky Gervais can’t make it I am afraid, but his best buddy Charlie Sheen takes the same bitter pills, so he’ll be slithering into his slot very nicely.

          We will be getting quite a mouthful from Charlie, so I hear, but as he will take up the entire show just with his low brow tirades, I am afraid… one will be rewarded for their efforts this evening.

          Of course, it would be nice if someone out their could reincarnate. Mad Max Mel said he’d give it a go, as he has been blessed by a higher strain of influenza than everyone else. He said however, that he’d bring back JC, but everyone concluded that that just wouldn’t be terribly funny. But Bob Hope would do very nicely thank you very much and maybe Johnny Carson and a touch of Milton Berle. However, I am delighted to say that there has been whispers that the great Billy Crystal could take to the stage just to show these juveniles out there what comedy is REALLY about!

    1. Where is Bob Hope when you really need him, like right now? The Oscar presentations used to be fun! They used to have real comedy and funny dialog. I miss Bob Hope. I miss real entertainment. I won’t be watching this year. Oh well…..

      1. I would compare American Hollywood’s Academy Awards show to Britain’s, which I recently watched. It was sophisticated, classy, and without all the crude unfunny jokes and sexual innuendo. It made our country’s version seem vulgar in comparison. But then Hollywood people ARE vulgar. I had to chuckle. America’s big night bash is like someone releasing gas in public, whereas, England’s ceremony is like someone opening the door for an elderly person.

      2. They [Oscar Presentations] used to be about Marketing Hollywood, Actors, Directors, Writers, Producers, etc… by people who understood it was not about them, but the “team.”

        Today the show is now more like a Political Rally, run for/by/of a cloistered clueless few, disguised as entertainment. Actually a “bread and games” night would be a fair description. Throw in the vain uninformed and desperate-to-make-a-splash within the ‘echo chamber’ of H’Wood players drunk with a chance to get national exposure, and that’s pretty much it. Train wreck and Casey Jones is on the accelerator.

      3. Unfortunately, the Oscar presentation has devolved into nothing more than inflated egos (trying to look humble) almost breaking their arms patting themselves on the back.

        1. Amen, who, other hollywood types gives a @#$%. This
          mutual admiration society is meaningless to most of us normal folks.

      4. Johnny Carson too, he was great. Where’s the spontaneous
        talent- Bob Hope a master of that as well – long gone.

      5. What a YAWN! You’re right. I miss the real comedians like Bob Hope, what a class act wherever he went. The comedians I’ve seen on TV for the last 20 years are vile, hateful, mean spirited, and talk so you can’t even understand what they’re saying. These supposed comics are no loss in my opinion. I don’t watch these type shows any longer as they give awards to those who don’t deserve it. Bla

        1. yes, that’s the point he and others were that good and had a far better impact.ah for the good old days when yes entertainment made you fell good

      6. By crackity, I miss the good ole days when Jolson sang and danced and put on a REAL show….and that adorable little Mary Pickford would be all winsome and precious, albeit slightly drunk. Things sure have gone down hill since those damn pesky punks took over our Hollywood.

        Where’s President Coolidge when you need him?!?

      7. Even if Jack Palance arose from the grave to do one arm pushups with Billy Crystal on his back singing that stupid Oscar Oscar Oscar song I would still be bored!

        Maybe if you gave Roberto Benigni an occasional oscar he would lighten up the snorecast. Haven’t seen him in awhile but his movie packed more punch than three Hilary Swank performances!

        I know! How about a segment where David Niven confronts his streaker!

      1. BillY Boy, obviously you care since you took the time to post. Way to pwn yourself. Anyone who cares about cinema and the art of acting, directing, etc cares. Get over yourself.

          1. Ned, your right on the money. What a waste, time, money you name it. Tired of hollywood excess and psuedo intellects voicing empty thoughts on politics, life and what have you. they can’t act and they can’t run their lives. Adios


        SHEEN: “Like ******* WOW!!! Hey, Chaim, how the **** do you like me now you **********! CBS you can kiss my *** as the good people at the ******* Academy and ABC had the balls to name the all ******* powerful me as your humble host.


        1. love it!!! some folks just cant appricate a good one flippin the bird. it would probably to funny and tooo close for comfort for soomme of the pampered pets!!! but he would definitly be a hard act to follow!!! classic!

    2. I hear the Academy wanted to have a “non-comedian” this year and narrowed it down to Hathaway-Franco or Jay Leno.

    3. Boy oh boy how you do go on. What do you want them to do. Time goes by, and Bob Hope died. SO did Johnny Carson, and Billy Crystal has had too many face lifts. They need new blood. You are already to criticize the new choices without even seeing it. Give them a chance before you talk about them, like they are stupid, ignorant and horrid dead weight.
      I watched the show. I thought that Anne Hathaway was wonderful. She seemed happy to be there, and James was self deprecating enough to be humorous, and willing to make complete fun of himself to make a laugh. At least they did not resort to horrible jokes at other peoples expense. The show was quick moving, clean and fun. The screen had enough parts of the movies being listed to make it interesting. It showed the people in the running for the Oscars in each major category to give those that do not go to all the movies, time to at least know the jist of them. It was a light hearted and generous to all night. The presenters did not take up all the time and not allow the receivers a moment to talk. The music was evenly spaced, without too much schmaltz placed on them. Over all I say they (Anne & James) did a good job. The show was the best we have had in several years. I personally only thought that Billy was great one or two of the years he was in charge. So next time you get ready to fire bomb a show, see it first. Then you at least may have some small portion of credibility for your remarks.

    1. Yeah – lighten up Nikki…wtf are they supposed to do? It’s an awards show for chrissakes. It just becomes silly when they try to make it a comedy showcase…they are supposed to have some gravitas, no?

      1. you should check out swedish p3guld. There’s ALOT they could do with an awardshow that could make it watchable tv without making it a comedy showcase. Awardshows in America are in general a snorefest. If it weren’t for the celebs noone would watch

      2. Gravitas???? On an awards show???? Are you off your meds??? The Oscars are just another in a nauseating list of award shows that make absolutely zero difference to the day to day life on this planet. Personally, I couldn’t care less who is the best actor or what is the best movie, and I’m absolutely not going to waste 4 mind numbing hours watching Hollywood jerk itself off in public. There’s more entertainment watching paint dry.

        1. That is so well said! Aren’t their huge paychecks and freebies enough to show the narcissists they’re doing a good job?

        2. Steve kudos!!! Who cares for a show of egocentric, narcissistic dumb ass. Will spend the time watching some black and white movies with real great actor.

        3. Steve Johnson, it makes a difference to the artists nominated. This is the biggest night of their lives…. something they have worked for for years. You are not an artist so obviously it won’t effect you. Get over yourself.

          1. Hey, Jim, I think that’s the point Steve was trying to make. 95% of the world audience will look at the Oscars coverage and ask themselves, “What does this have to do with the price of rice in China?.”

  1. Really, who cares? I would venture to say that most Americans don’t want to watch Hollywood parade it’s millions of dollars around while we’re trying to keep our homes and put food on the table.

    1. Oprah & Gayle together at the OSCARS?

      Looks like the National Enquirer already has their cover story for next week…

    2. And yet you took the time to come here and bitch about the show’s lack of relevance. Last year: 40+ million watched. Out of a ~300 million US population that makes you technically right. 40/300 is not “most Americans.” Congratulations, sparky. Of course, FORTY MILLION people (and that’s just domestically) watching anything sure as hell seems like, really, someone cares. Now go save your home and spend less time surfing the internet.

      1. Yep, I did come here but I did not bitch. I stated my opinion which doesn’t have to agree with yours. I wasn’t rude and didn’t call names, which you cannot say about your response. Have a nice day and enjoy the Oscars:o)

    3. Good point Linda-Now is really not a good time for the rich and famous to be making any points with the average ‘joe’ or ‘joanne’ when we’re just trying to keep our heads above water & eat. I’m biased though since the last Oscar awards show I watched was over 35 years ago & it was because I had to while at a friend’s house with my girlfriend. Any truth to the rumor that Michelle and BO are having a post-Oscar night party at the White House btw?

  2. I haven’t watched anything hollywood on TV or in the theater for about 15 years. The crap they produce is not worth my time.

    1. Just curious…how exactly, if you haven’t watched anything Hollywood in 15 years, do you know it’s all crap?

      1. He probably knows it’s all crap by what he reads on the internet, just like I do. Or a clip on TV. We’re hardly isolated from this kind of crap. I certainly don’t go out of my way to watch most of what’s on TV these days. However, before you ask, I do flip through
        channels and watch some idiot shows out of curiosity and to reinforce what I will support and what I won’t. Few movies are worth going to see in my opinion (saw clips on TV to keep me informed)and I do hear reviews from time to time. So Bla

      2. Why come to this site? When they say it’s a spoiler, a snorefest,
        boring, too long, in the first paragraph, I wanted to read the rest of it to make sure I don’t give and and turn the silly show on by mistake and go take a bath and let them use my airwaves to say they had many viewers. That’s why I read most of the article. Like to have my say as well. Bla

    2. Why do you go to this site and take time to respond then? A site dedicated to something you haven’t been interested in for 15 years?

  3. Thanks fo the heads-up Nikki. It sounds more all the reason to watch Big Love, Shameless and reruns of Justified and Lights Out! I would probably be checking your sight rather than watch the rundown of who wore what and why.

    From the line-up that you detailed, it makes it all the more apparent that Hollywood is the capital of a self serving industry.

  4. Why is Reese Witherspoon passing out the supporting actor?
    Yeah – sounds like a snoozer but it has been for a decade or more. Have not watched this since youtube – do not even bother to tape it. Too long, too boring, too much filler and just not fun anymore.

  5. Here’s a novel idea. Why don’t they try just handing out the awards without all the other stuff. Give the recipients more time to speak and I bet that would take less time than the snooze fests they have been putting on.

  6. James Franco? ::yawn:: No wonder it’s a sleeper. The guy is booooring and really, is a no talent hack.

    1. They couldn’t have picked a more ‘no talent’ couple if they had tried. Anne ‘the mannequin’ Hathaway and James ‘who?’ Franco just happened to have agents who think they might have a modicum of talent in actually presenting an awards show, albeit one that doesn’t need any help in slogging along as it is anyway.

  7. Let me go out on a limb by making a bold Oscar prediction. We will read here for the next few days, through live blogging during the show, and at least twice on Monday how boring and horrible the show is/was. Talk about a snorefest.
    I understand that some people do not enjoy watching the Oscars. I also understand there are at least 1 billion other things that these people could be doing other than watching a show they hate and then complaining about it. Yes, I’m talking to you, Nikki.

    1. I too don’t understand why people who seemingly hate all the award shows, the spoiled brats in the business–who need to be taken down by rude comics, the selfish big wigs running the business, the stupid movies and TV shows they all make spend so much time telling us about the deals made by the spoiled brats, the movies they have signed up for and all things entertainment. If you hate everyone and everything you cover, then why cover them/it.

    2. Psst…That’s her job to watch and the spot-on live blogging is an extension of that.

      What’s your excuse for coming here and complaining?

  8. In this high tech age with the wonderful www, Satellite tv and etc, the Oscars are the least exciting thing to see. Years ago, with great movies, and seldom seen movie stars, it was a different story. Now we are saturated with so much info on celebrities we are bored with them, the movies are lackluster, what is there too tune in for?
    This program is simply ego boosting, patting each other on the back and for what? Even with the “highlights” you mentioned, I can find better things to do. I’d rather be reading my Kindle.

  9. the one thing that jumps out at me most from this nice inside look at sunday’s show is that we should all be so lucky as to come back in our next life as gayle king.

  10. Still not sure why they keep trying to push Florence + the Machine in the mainstream’s faces during every award show – I’m convinced only ‘squares’ like her music, ’cause it’s yet to catch fire in any meaningful way.

        1. Gaga commits a far worse crime. Flat out theft of ideas and music.

          And then pretends she actually has talent.

    1. Why? There’s been two constants throughout this awards season: Florence (with or without the Machine) and Gwyneth. Perhaps they could liven it up with Cee Lo and the Muppets from the Grammys.

  11. Sigh. According to this update, they added two male writers to the two male writers. Are there any female writers on this show? It’s so unfair.

    1. The women writers are smart enough to stay away from this obscene celebration of excess and self congratulation.

  12. Why does Nikki even cover this industry when the majority of her posts are so dismissive about so many aspects of it?

    That’s not a dig or a rhetorical… I really am curious why someone who seems to have such a dislike for everything that goes on in Hollywood would choose to call themselves a “journalist” and then proceed to exclusively “journal” something they had no interest in.

    1. Hollywood takes itself very seriously, and after all…it is just ‘show business’.

      And, although I often have a different perspective than DH…at least…DH makes it fun…as in ‘show business’.

      Johnny Carson was the very best host the Oscars will ever have…and, you know why…because Johnny Carson was a big as the Oscars and owed the Academy nothing…so, Johnny could brilliantly ‘bitch slap’ Hollywood…and, they loved it, too.

      And, always remember…some one inside the production show community for the Oscars ‘leaked’ this to DH…or, so it would seem.

    2. Every industry needs a skeptic to report on its inner-working and machinations. The film industry, especially, needs a cynical eye turned upon it. Nikki fits the bill. She reports and editorializes without buying into the “glamour” and “kiss-assyness” if it all. Imagine if she was a brown noser like every other entertainment show on television? Then, it’d just be boring love-fest website about an industry that is as fucked up and politically motivated as any other out there. Glad she’s the voice of reason.

  13. The Oscars are the Oscars…or, in other words, it’s Hollywood’d Prom night. The event is about the people and who wins…the show has never been exactly ‘gripping’ entertainment.

    The biggest problem shaping up is the weather. It is always a bummer when it is cold and raining especially on the ladies who have spent much time and planning to look terrific.

    Let’s hope they get a break in the weather.

  14. I really enjoy the Oscars, but I find it really hard tô believe any edition in the close future will beat the fun and freshness of the Hugh Jackson presented edition. Franco and Hattaway are fun people, though, so this edition can be good.

    I do believe, though, that Hattaway’s singing talent is being wasted, and a musical number by the hosts would,ve been fun.

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