If you thought the Oscars were a complete snore, think again. While some enjoyed Billy Crystal’s ninth turn as host, others are wondering if he crossed the line.
In the opening skit, Crystal began by spoofing the films nominated for best picture. The montage saw Crystal kissing George Clooney, pretending to be in a silent film, reenacting a scene from ‘Moneyball,’ and channeling one of his old characters: Sammy Davis Jr.
While no one expected the night to be controversial, Crystal’s opening indeed sparked some criticism when a noticeably brown Crystal revived his Sammy Davis Jr. impression to parody Woody Allen’s film ‘Midnight in Paris.’
In the skit, Crystal peeks in on a conversation between teen idol Justin Bieber and the Rat Pack icon. In it, Davis says the Biebs is the new Frank Sinatra and says that they are planning to “go kill Hitler.”
The scene garnered a laugh from the audience, but many others were scratching their heads.
Almost immediately folks questioned Crystal’s use of “blackface” and had something to say about it. What made the skit even dicier was the next scene, a take on ‘The Help,’ which dealt with issues of race and racism.
During the 1980s, Crystal would often appear on Saturday Night Live as Sammy Davis Jr., so this portrayal was not a new one for the comedic vet.
While I wasn’t offended by Crystal’s Sammy Davis Jr. impression (nor do I consider it ‘blackface’ in the true sense of the word), I didn’t think it was particularly funny either. The scene just seemed very out of place and as Reuters reported, it didn’t make much sense.
Watch Billy Crystal as Sammy Davis Jr. Do you think it is offensive?