Following the exit of producer Brett Ratner from the upcoming Oscars telecast yesterday, Eddie Murphy — whose new film Tower Heist is also Ratner's latest directorial effort — has stepped aside as host of the 2012 show, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today.
Murphy was named as host as part of the team Ratner brought in for the show and their association was known, so it wasn't entirely unexpected that he might not stay on. Murphy's statement says:
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.
There's no word yet on who will replace Murphy as host or whether any part of the team Ratner was putting together might remain.
Ratner resigned as producer after giving a series of ugly interviews about various famous women and ultimately showing up at a Tower Heist Q&A over the weekend and declaring — as we discussed here yesterday when advocating for his departure — that "rehearsal is for fags."
As for possible hosts, there will undoubtedly be speculation surrounding old reliable candidates like Steve Martin and maybe even Billy Crystal — nobody is looking for a rebellious choice after the poorly received telecast this year hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Or could this be the year the big hosting job goes to reliably great host Neil Patrick Harris?