Phony Meme of the Night: Billy Crystal's 'Blackface'

The Wrap:
Raise your hand if you expected a blackface controversy at this year’s Oscars.

Host Billy Crystal’s opening montage featured the bizarre inclusion of his Sammy Davis Jr. character during a “Midnight in Paris” tribute that also featured Justin Bieber. Bieber announced that he was going back in time to hang out with Hemingway — like the mysterious characters who pick up Owen Wilson’s character in “Paris.”…

The moment got a huge laugh. But Davis’ inclusion made not a lot of sense since:

1. Davis died two decades ago

2. Davis was a child in the 1920s.

Oh, right, and 3: No one really does blackface anymore. Crystal did it when he played Davis on “Saturday Night Live” in the ’80s, but what somehow airs on a late night show nearly three decades ago doesn’t necessarily fly during on of the most-watched shows of the year.

Tweeters were fairly unanimous in responding: “Whaaaa?”

“If you had 3 minutes for First Blackface of the Night in your #Oscars pool, congratulations!,” tweeted the New York Times’ Dave Itzkoff.

“Hey, Billy Crystal in blackface!” opined another tweeter, Morgan Carroll. “Good thing the Oscars went with the safe choice!” (He was referring to Eddie Murphy passing on the hosting gig after Brent Ratner lost the job following comments widely perceived as homophobic.)

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