Good Morning Oscar, December 8: (Billy) Crystal Clear

An eight-time host dispenses wisdom to the rookies

In this morning's roundup of Oscar news 'n' notes from around the web, an eight-time host dispenses wisdom to the rookies.

Billy CrystalBilly Crystal offers advice to this year's Oscar hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway: "look like you want to be there." That, he tells Bennett Marcus, is what he tells new hosts whenever they call him for advice. "You've got people around the world hoping that you’re going to be good," he says. "So be good …" Gosh, that sounds easy. (Vulture)

One of those hosts, meanwhile, deals with the potentially uncomfortable fact that he'll in all likelihood be a Best Actor nominee. "I wanna take myself out of it," James Franco tells Regis and Kelly (via Daily Beast). "I don’t want to worry about it. Colin Firth can have it." Firth, you might remember, had his "I know Jeff Bridges is going to win, and he deserves it" rap down cold last year, so maybe Franco is laying the groundwork for a victory in 2012. (Daily Beast; you may need to find the clip along the right side of the page.)

Tom O'Neil goes into the history of "The King's Speech" director Tom Hooper at awards shows. It's not pretty. Particularly tough: Hooper's HBO miniseries "John Adams" set records for the most Emmys ever by one program in a single year and the most ever for a miniseries, 13, but the director lost to "Recount" director Jay Roach. It's probably irrelevant, but that's a rough track record. (Gold Derby)

Sasha's Stone's latest survey on the state of the race circles back to a couple of her favorite themes: Academy members like to vote for the movie they think is best, and this year "The Social Network" is best. This time around, she gets to those points via musings on likability, wild theories and how pundits go wrong. (Awards Daily)

But at least Stone is kinder than Jeff Wells, who says that pundits who are picking "The King's Speech" to win are soulless and cowardly. (Hollywood Elsewhere)

Don't tell Wells, but Dave Karger has posted his rankings of the contenders in the six top categories, which he'll update every Tuesday for the rest of the Oscar season. "The King's Speech" takes the top spot for Best Picture, while his other top picks are David Fincher, Colin Firth, Annette Bening, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter. (Oscar Watch)

Don't tell Karger, but Tim Appelo says there's one big problem with Helena Bonham Carter's Oscar chances: she had three striking and different roles in 2010, when she would have been better if she'd stuck to just one.  That sounds reasonable enough on the face of it – but when you consider that two of those roles, the Red Queen in "Alice in Wonderland" and Bellatrix Lestrange in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," will get not the slightest notice from most Oscar voters, it's a little hard to buy the argument that they're hurting her chances for "The King's Speech." But don't worry, he's got a backup argument: "there's only room for … [Colin] Firth and [Geoffrey] Rush in the Academy's overcrowded mind. (The Race)

"The Social Network" is the best-reviewed movie of the year, according to Sony. And "Toy Story 3" is the best-reviewed movie of the year, according to Disney. Brooks Barnes breaks down the dispute, and finds that neither studio is lying: it’s just that Sony uses Metacritic, where their film is tops, and Disney uses Rotten Tomatoes, where theirs is. It would be nitpicky of me, I suppose, to point out that they both really mean the most favorably  reviewed movie of the year. (the Carpetbagger)

(Photo by HO/AMPAS)