Along with the likes of Donald Sutherland, John Goodman and Patrick Stewart, Billy Crystal is one of a number of Hollywood notaries who, despite their esteemed careers, have never been nominated for an Oscar.
â€œI was mad at myself for getting sucked into it [the hype],â€ says Crystal, whoâ€™s promoting his latest film Parental Guidance, a comedy in which a couple collide with their daughter over how to bring up the grandchildren. â€œI hope some day Iâ€™m worthy to be even thought about, but itâ€™s not a great goal of mine,â€ he says, chuckling.
Unlike his fellow alumni, however, Crystal has hosted the Academy Awards no less than nine times, earning plaudits for his comedic medleys. â€œItâ€™s like waking up with someone you donâ€™t want to wake up with every day,â€ says 64-year-old Crystal on preparing for a ceremony thatâ€™s watched by a global audience of one billion.
â€œAnd because youâ€™re working right through the show and re-writing as itâ€™s going, thatâ€™s a bunch of months of pressure,â€ he adds.
His latest stint as Oscars host was in February of this year though he faced criticism from some quarters for lacking originality.
â€œThe world is watching and the world is a rough room, so you canâ€™t please everybody â€“ and now in the world of social media, you canâ€™t please anybody, it feels like!â€ says Crystal, who studied TV and film direction under Martin Scorsese at New York University before trying his hand at stand-up.
â€œI remember when Lord Of The Rings swept everything and the show got dull â€“ because they were winning everything â€“ and they blamed me! Itâ€™s always the hostâ€™s fault and itâ€™s not fair!â€
In Parental Guidance, Crystal plays Artie, a grumpy baseball fan whoâ€™s married to Diane, played by Hollywood legend Bette Midler.
â€œBette and I have known each other for a long time but weâ€™ve never worked with each other, which everyone seems to think is odd. I kinda think thatâ€™s good because it seems like a natural combination.â€
Parental Guidance marks Crystalâ€™s first major movie role since 2002â€™s Analyze That. But Crystal hasnâ€™t been sitting in an armchair with a pipe and slippers reflecting on the good times.
Aside from the Oscars, he created, performed and toured his Tony Award-winning one man show 700 Sundays. Next year heâ€™s bringing out a book as well as promoting Monsters University, a prequel to the phenomenally successful animation Monsters, Inc.