The Oscars rumor mill just keeps on churning, this time surfacing a report that Eddie Murphy, whose critically acclaimed turn in 2006's Dreamgirls failed to convince enough Academy Awards voters that he deserved a statue of his own, will host the this year's telecast. Murphy stars in the upcoming film Tower Heist, about a group of down-on-their-luck guys who plan to rob the Ponzi schemer who ripped them off. The movie, which also stars Ben Stiller, is directed by Oscar producer Brett Ratner. According to Deadline, Ratner is pushing for Murphy to host, following previous rumors that Oprah Winfrey and Billy Crystal were both being considered for the job. Is the man who brought us Norbit really the best person to rescue the Oscars?
This a "win-win": Sure, this move would help Ratner gin up publicity for Tower Heist, says Glen Levy at TIME. But the Oscars could also capitalize on Murphy and Ratner's relationship to make the show go more smoothly than the 2011 telecast. And don't forget that Murphy has long shined in front of a live audience, both as a stand-up comic and in his "stellar showings" on Saturday Night Live. Sure, he's had some duds at the cineplex. But Murphy is still a respected actor, with Beverly Hills Cop, Trading Places, and Dreamgirls to his credit.
"For your consideration: Eddie Murphy, host of the Oscars?"
Murphy would be a "risky" pick: Yes, Murphy used to be a gifted stand-up comedian, says Nicole Sperling at the Los Angeles Times. But "his live on-stage talent hasn't been in use in about a quarter-century." And while producers may think they've landed a big star in Murphy, the idea could easily backfire if Tower Heist, which hits theaters in November, proves to be a major bomb at the box office.
"Will Eddie Murphy host the 2012 Oscars?"
Enough already. The host isn't the real problem: The "catty bloggers" hyper-analyzing this decision are neglecting an "inherent truth," says Gabe Toro at Indie Wire. "It doesn't really matter who hosts the Oscars." All the gig amounts to is about 20 minutes of forced banter during a four-hour show. It's the telecast itself that is "a bloated spectacle" and "simply exhausting" — not the hosts. With classy, serviceable writing, anyone, including Murphy, could pull this off.
"Not mad about Dreamgirls anymore, Eddie Murphy considers hosting the Oscars"