Crystal's Sammy Davis impression draws criticism

February 27, 2012

The Associated Press

(AP/File)
Billy Crystal holds up nine fingers for the number of times he's hosted the Academy Awards.

Some are questioning Billy Crystal's impression of Sammy Davis Jr. in his opening number as Oscar host.

As part of Crystal's opening montage, he parodied Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, going back in time to the 1920s. Then Crystal, performing as Davis in blackface, popped up and suggested they go kill Hitler.

Crystal played Davis the same way many times on Saturday Night Live in the 1980s, but that didn't stop hundreds from questioning the bit on Twitter.

When Octavia Spencer won supporting actress for The Help, comedian Paul Scheer tweeted her win "shows just how far we've come since Billy Crystal performed in Blackface."