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Oscars 2012: Billy Crystal Causes Furore With Blackface And Racial Joke (VIDEO)

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Billy Crystal hosting the Oscars
Billy Crystal hosting the Oscars

"This is my ninth time hosting the Oscars," Billy Crystal declared as he opened the 84th Academy Awards. But could it be his last?

Unfortunately for Crystal, most of the reviews were lukewarm. The Washington Post noted that the 63-year-old host "was full of perfectly palatable jokes during the show, the kind you smirk at more than actually laugh" - while the Hollywood Reporter remarked that "the colossal hosting disaster from last year is now forgotten by the safe, unfunny, retro-disaster that was Crystal making jokes that he laughed at repeatedly and overseeing an Oscars telecast that was as poorly paced as any in recent memory."

But the lacklustre reviews are nothing compared to the flack that Crystal and the organisers are facing after he performed in blackface. In the opening montage, spoofing the films nominated for Best Picture, Crystal made an appearance as Sammy Davis Jr - in full black makeup - during his parody of Midnight In Paris. Hundreds of people took to Twitter to complain about it - along with a joke of Crystal's later in the ceremony, after Octavia Spencer won the Best Supporting Actress award.

"After I saw The Help I just wanted to hug the first black woman I saw," he said. "Which from Beverly Hills is about a 45-minute drive."

Do you agree that Crystal went too far? Or was it harmless fun? Leave a comment below. And in the meantime, watch Crystal's opening montage in full - and below that, see the Oscars' night biggest comedy stars.

Comedy stars at the Oscars:

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The Oscars 2012 | Academy Awards 2012

84th Academy Awards - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia