Why hiring Eddie Murphy to host the Oscars makes all kinds of sense
When his name first surfaced, you could hear the jokes cranking up around Hollywood.
Eddie Murphy? Host the Oscars?
Considering his recent box office, should he pay the Oscars? Does the reclusive star know they won't let him do it from his New Jersey home? And more unsavory one-liners all pop to mind.
But, when he wants to be, Murphy is an amazingly gifted standup comic and comedic actor -- the two types who do best in these types of jobs. Fans like me have been waiting for the right kind of gig to shake him out of the odd, kids-oriented autopilot he's been on through the Nutty Professor, Shrek and Dr. Dolittle remakes, sequels and spinoffs.
And really -- can anyone do worse than this year's co-host James Franco?
Oscars producer Brett Ratner, who's also got Murphy in an interesting movie with Ben Stiller (you know its worth a look when a joke in the trailer spawns an apology) has persuaded his star to take on Hollywood's most self-congratulatory moment. Yup, the guy who portrayed Jackie Gleason's Ralph Kramden as a profane, gay sex partner to pal Ed Norton and said onstage he would only get married if he could find a woman in the African bush who knew nothing about money, is now M.C.-ing Hollywood's premiere love letter to itself.
The collision could be bigger than Ricky Gervais blowing up the Golden Globe awards. Just get a guy with quick reflexes to work the bleep button and stand back.
I can't wait.
Here's ABC's press release below:
EDDIE MURPHY TO HOST 84TH ACADEMY AWARDS® AIRING FEBRUARY 26, 2012 ON ABC TELEVISION NETWORK
Oscar® nominee Eddie Murphy, whose performing career spans movies, television and the stage, will host this year’s Academy Awards show on Sunday, February 26, 2012, telecast producers Brett Ratner and Don Mischer announced today. This will be Murphy’s first hosting stint on the Oscars®.
“Eddie is a comedic genius, one of the greatest and most influential live performers ever,” said Ratner. “With his love of movies, history of crafting unforgettable characters and his iconic performances – especially on stage – I know he will bring excitement, spontaneity and tremendous heart to the show Don and I want to produce in February.”
Mischer commented: “Eddie is a truly ground-breaking performer whose amazingly diverse array of roles has won him a devoted audience of all ages. His quick wit and charisma will serve him very well as Oscar host.”
“I am enormously honored to join the great list of past Academy Award hosts, from Hope and Carson to Crystal, Martin and Goldberg, among others,” said Murphy. “I’m looking forward to working with Brett and Don on creating a show that is enjoyable for both the fans at home and for the audience at the Kodak Theatre, as we all come together to celebrate and recognize the great film contributions and collaborations from the past year.”
Murphy began his career at the age of 15 as a stand-up comedian. In 1980, at the age of 19, he joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live,” becoming the show’s youngest cast member to that point, and bringing to life many of the show’s most memorable characters. His 1983 album, “Eddie Murphy: Comedian,” won a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording. It included portions of his groundbreaking HBO special, “Eddie Murphy Delirious.” In 1987 “Eddie Murphy Raw” was theatrically released and went on to gross over $50 million. Murphy made his feature film debut in 1982 with the classic “48 Hrs.,” and would go on to star in such box-office hits as “Beverly Hills Cop” and the “The Nutty Professor” and “Shrek” franchises. All told, movies in which Murphy has performed have earned in excess of $7 billion worldwide during their theatrical releases.
Murphy earned an Oscar nomination in 2006 for his supporting role in “Dreamgirls.”
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.