Lost in a sea of totally justified outrage at the Joe Paterno-Penn State situation (or more appropriately the outrage at the Penn State students being outraged), was other semi-major news from a sector of our world that we care about but has relatively little bearing on the real world. By that I mean director Brett Ratner, who was supposed to produce the 2012 Academy Awards, stepped down in the wake of some insensitive comments, and he was quickly followed by would-be host Eddie Murphy.
Ratner, most famous for directing Rush Hour, but most recently a collaborator with Murphy on Tower Heist, has come under fire lately for a number of crass comments. The one that pushed things over the edge and ultimately led to his ouster was his assertion (half-joking, I hope, but probably not) that "rehearsing is for [noteworthy gay slur]."
Murphy, bothered enough by Ratner's departure from the show, had this to say as he backed out as well:
“First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party’s decision with regard to a change of producers for this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. 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.”
Meanwhile, the rest of us let the glaze wash over our eyes and nodded back to sleep in our cubicles. Here's what I wrote when the news that Murphy would host the Oscars first broke back in September:
And I was mad, but then I remembered no one gives a flying Brett Ratner who hosts the Oscars. They’ve gone with someone as equally irrelevant as Murphy in Billy Crystal numerous times and it hasn’t moved the needle. They went hip and fresh last year with James Franco and Anne Hathaway and it was a disaster. They’ve even done the Jon Stewart thing — he’s likeable, qualified and cool! — and, um, can anyone remember anything about his performances on Hollywood’s biggest night.
Yeah, didn’t think so.
Call me crazy, but I think about 10 percent of people tune into the Oscars because they care about movies and/or that year’s nominees, another 10 percent tune in because they have nothing better to do and the rest are vapid souls who care about who’s wearing what and who’s best and worst dressed. None of these people, myself included, really care about the host.
So, yeah, I suppose I should be all up in arms about Eddie Murphy hosting the Brett Ratner-produced Oscars. At least, that’s the type of behavior you should rightly expect from me. But the reality is, I don’t care who’s introducing the introducers of the nominees for Best Sound Editing, and chances are neither do you.
And I'm reusing it because I'm lazy and because what I wrote then applies perfectly in a pre- and post-Murphy world. Truth be told, I was actually a little curious -- maybe morbidly so -- to see what an Eddie Murphy who hasn't been relevant for a decade would be like on Hollywood's biggest night.
As you might guess, though, I'm not going to be weeping about the fact that I won't get to find out. So please, entertainment journalists of the world, take your "Who Should Host the Oscars Now" lists and go burn them or something. The cool picks like the Muppets and Stephen Colbert would be disappointing because they wouldn't be as Muppet-y or Colbert-y as we'd like, and the tired ones like Steve Martin or Billy Crystal are, um, tired.
I'm sure the folks at the Academy will find someone to host the Oscars, and I'm equally sure that I won't give a damn who it is before, during or after the show.