Eddie Murphy quits Oscar gig

2011-11-10 07:50

Los Angeles – Eddie Murphy has bowed out of his gig as host of the Academy Awards following pal Brett Ratner’s decision to leave the show as producer because of an uproar over a gay slur.

The news of Murphy’s departure came yesterday, a day after Ratner quit as producer of the February 26 show.

Ratner left amid criticism of his use of a pejorative term for gay men in a question-and-answer session at a screening of his action comedy Tower Heist, which opened last weekend and stars Murphy and Ben Stiller.

Murphy’s exit deprives Oscar organisers of a top star for an often thankless job that’s tough to fill, since some past hosts have found little to gain from the gig and plenty to lose if they do a poor job as emcee of Hollywood’s biggest party.

The two sides departed with cordial words, though.

“I completely understand and support each party’s decision with regard to a change of producers for this year’s Academy Awards ceremony,” Murphy said in a news release from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

“I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I’m sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job.”

Ratner had apologised for the gay slur, saying his comments had been “hurtful and stupid”.

Murphy himself has a history of homophobic humour in his early stand-up years.

His 1983 comedy special “Delirious” includes a segment in which Murphy jokes about being afraid of homosexuals and worrying that gay men are staring at his butt.

Academy President Tom Sherak bid Murphy farewell graciously.

“I appreciate how Eddie feels about losing his creative partner, Brett Ratner, and we all wish him well,” Sherak said.

Still, losing Murphy is a blow to a ceremony that has struggled to pep up its image amid a general decline in its TV ratings over the past couple of decades and a rush of hipper awards shows that appeal to younger crowds, such as the MTV Movie Awards.

Oscar planners have sought to shorten the sometimes interminably long show and have tried new ways to present awards in hopes of livening things up.

They also have experimented with unexpected choices as hosts, which worked nicely with the song-and-dance talents of Hugh Jackman three years ago but backfired at last season’s show, when perky Anne Hathaway was paired with lacklustre co-host James Franco.

When the academy picked Murphy in September, it marked a return to the traditional funnyman as host, a formula that delivered some of the best-remembered Oscar pageants when Bob Hope, Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal ran the show.

Academy officials would not discuss the personnel changes or plans to replace Ratner and Murphy.

Ratner’s producing partner for the upcoming ceremony – Don Mischer, who co-produced last year’s Oscars – remains on board for the show.

Any decision on who will replace Murphy as host likely will not come until Oscar planners make a decision on whether to bring in another producer to work with Mischer.

Organisers still have plenty of time. The show is more than three months away, and much of the work in staging it has to wait until Oscar nominations are announced January 24, anyway.

There’s also no great rush to name a new host.

The academy did not announce Hathaway and Franco as hosts until the end of November last year, while the announcement on Jackman three years ago did not come until mid-December.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.