If newly minted Oscar ceremony producer Brett Ratner is serious in his stated intent to make the show funny again, Billy Crystal has an emcee nomination: himself.

According to the Los Angeles Times' Awards Tracker blog, Crystal announced on Friday that he'd be willing to return to the Academy Awards podium for the ninth time next winter. He hasn't hosted since 2004, but he says his brief surprise appearance at this year's show, which was greeted by a 35-second-long ovation, has whetted his appetite to return.

Crystal's announcement poses a conundrum for Ratner and the Academy. On the one hand, they know he can do the job, but the telecast has tried in vain for years to attract a younger audience, and the 63-year-old comic is probably not the guy to do that. On the other hand, anyone young enough, funny enough and famous enough for the gig is likely to be too edgy not to bite the hand that feeds him or her. Who should land the job if not Crystal?