Late Tuesday, Brett Ratner resigned from his position as Oscars producer. The move followed an outcry over a gay slur Ratner used at a Q&A for Tower Heist, which he directed, over the weekend. Now, proposed Oscars host Eddie Murphy, who stars in that film and had been handpicked by Ratner to liven up the awards ceremony, has also stepped down. Should Murphy have remained onboard?
Yes, this is a shame: Bummer. "I was looking forward to Murphy's stab at things," says Kristopher Tapley at HitFix. He got his start in stand-up, and it could have been great to see him return to the Oscars' version of it. But perhaps this is for the best. If Murphy had stuck around, "the traces of Ratner's controversy would have been left all over this show." That's "unfortunate but true."
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... but not surprising: While bad for his career, Murphy's decision to opt out is predictable, says Katey Rich at Cinema Blend. He's "a notoriously press-shy actor who's done essentially nothing but vanity projects for the last decade or so (save Dreamgirls)." No doubt hesitant to sign on for the Oscars, he likely only did so because of his relationship with Ratner. With Ratner gone, "the respect and visibility Murphy would get from hosting the show probably isn't enough to keep him on board."
No, bring on Billy Crystal! "I say good riddance to both" Ratner and Murphy, says Alex Billington at Firstshowing.net. This has been an unprecedented wild ride, but at least it's been resolved quickly. Now, it's time to move on and find a replacement host. "Maybe it's Billy Crystal's chance." I'd much prefer his ready wit to Murphy's stale presence.
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