Billy Crystal, who declined to host the Oscar ceremonies last year after five critically acclaimed turns, has once again passed the ball.
"Billy told (Oscar show producer) Gil Cates not to consider him this year," said his publicist, Pat Kingsley. "Because of the post-production timetable on 'Forget Paris'--which he directed and starred in--he's on overload." The Castle Rock film, a romantic comedy also starring Debra Winger, is scheduled for release by Columbia Pictures on May 19.
This year's Academy Awards will be telecast on ABC March 27 from the Shrine Auditorium.
Last year's Oscar ceremony was emceed by Whoopi Goldberg--the first woman and the first African American to serve as solo host. According to her manager, Keith Addis, the actress has not been contacted about a repeat appearance and has given the matter little thought since she, like much of Hollywood, expected Crystal to do the honors. It would be tough for Goldberg to host this year's show, he points out, since she leaves in March for the East Coast to start shooting Norman Jewison's "Bogus," opposite Gerard Depardieu.
Cates declined to comment.