Billy Crystal is synonymous with Oscar at this point. Having hosted the show so many times, he’s very much someone you think about when you think about the Academy Awards. At the same time, he’s never been nominated for an Academy Award. Despite three Golden Globe nominations (City Slickers, Mr. Saturday Night, and When Harry Met Sally…), that love has never translated to the Oscars, performance-wise. That’s a shame, too, since Crystal is an underrated actor. Back in 2019 at the Tribeca Film Festival, I saw him in Standing Up, Falling Down, a mix of comedy and drama that contains some of his finest work, to date. He’s very funny, sure, but also incredibly sad and emotional. It’s a full-bodied performance that deserves some major acclaim. As awards season rolls on here in 2021, after a 2020 release for the movie, I was able to actually spend some time talking to Crystal about the work. As you’d expect, it was an honor.
Below, you can hear my conversation with Billy Crystal. Standing Up, Falling Down was obviously the focus, but we talk a bit about what he’s been up to during COVID. Crystal has a film he directed that wrapped up during lockdown, so he’s certainly keeping busy. We have our bit of bonding over being New Yorkers, as you might expect. However, most of the discussion is about the film, which he’s incredibly proud of. The praise he heaps on the filmmakers, as well as his co-star Ben Schwartz, shows how little an ego he has. Frankly, it would be easy to be intimidated by such a giant of the industry, but he was completely disarming. We laughed, we put the spotlight on an underrated flick, and it seems that a good time was had by all…
Here now is my interview with the legendary Billy Crystal. Enjoy:
Standing Up, Falling Down is available to watch on Hulu, Prime Video, and other platforms!