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Billy Crystal Explains Oscars Rejection

By:
Jan 10, 2006 | 9:21am EST

Comedian Billy Crystal has confirmed he turned down the chance to host this year's Oscars ceremony because he is too busy with his one-man stage show 700 Sundays.

The Analyze This star, who is currently touring the self-written two-act play about his childhood, refused to give in to persistent requests by Academy Awards producer Gil Cates to "please do the show". It would have been his ninth appearance as host.

Crystal says, "I'm so tired at the end of 700 Sundays, I didn't want to go from that into a meeting where I'm saying, 'Give me Brokeback Mountain jokes.' It seemed so not what I wanted to do."

The job has now gone to The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, who is thrilled to host the awards despite suspecting ulterior motives by the show's bosses.

He says, "As a performer, I'm truly honored to be hosting the show. Although, as an avid watcher of the Oscars, I can't help but be a little disappointed with the choice. It appears to be another sad attempt to smoke out Billy Crystal."

The 78th Annual Oscars ceremony will be broadcast on March 5.

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