Well, this is hardly a surprise and we kind of expected as much when Brett Ratner stepped down from producing the Oscars yesterday. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak announced this afternoon Eddie Murphy has withdrawn from hosting the Oscars.
Considering the Ratner was building the entire show around Murphy, losing a key creative force must have left the comedian in awkward position. Ratner had hired a new booking agent for the show, Murphy's writers were brought in over long-standing dudes like Bruce Vilanch and the entire enterprise was definitely a unique vision from the director centered squarely on the star and his "comeback." However, now that he's exited, and with no replacement yet named, we think it would be unlikely that whoever does come on would want to continue down the same path Ratner had forged, and would likely want to make their own stamp on the program. And with Ratner pretty much the entire reason Murphy signed on in the first place, it's hardly a shock that he too has bounced.
“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,” Murphy said in statement, likely typed out while lying in bed on a complete "Shrek" sheet set.
But now, things get interesting. The show is just over three months away and has no producer and no host. Maybe it's time to boot Ricky Gervais up from the Golden Globes to the Oscars before the former sign him again?