According to wire reports, poor Jon Stewart was very much not first choice to host the Oscars. In fact, former host Billy Crystal claims that show producer Gil Cates wanted him for the job, so much so that he "repeatedly" called Crystal, who refused because of his commitment to 700 Sundays (his one-man show). Despite being turned down, Cates was still calling as late as Christmas, fewer than two weeks before the triumphant Stewart announcement.

Hey, movie history is jam-packed with second choices that totally rule - personally, despite my soft spot for Crystal's work on the Oscars, I'm pretty confident that Stewart will do a great job. Here's my question, though: why the hell did Crystal go public with this? He's always struck me as a reasonably (for Hollywood, anyway) ego-free guy, but apart from the need for attention I can't think of any reason for him to talk. His words can't possibly do any good for the show; if anything, they'll just make people worry about how right Stewart could be for the gig, if he's not who Cates really wanted.