First Ratner, Now Murphy…
Well, as I predicted in the update to my last post, Eddie Murphy has left his position as this year’s Oscar host, following the resignation of producer Brett Ratner. Ratner chose (or was forced, more likely) to leave the job after his insensitive and uninspired comment about rehearsing in film production being for “fags.” After twenty-four hours of apologies, bad press and journalistic backlash, Ratner and the Academy found that stepping down was the only viable option.
As far as Murphy’s exit is concerned, he had the following comments, as reported by Nikki Finke’s Deadline:
“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.”
While Murphy’s quittage is disappointing, I can’t say that it comes as a surprise. The comedian was hand-picked by Ratner after the two shared a close relationship which was both business and personal. Murphy staying would be like remaining at a house party even after the only friend you have there checks out early. It just wouldn’t have been the same experience for him as a host. It’s really too bad for both him and the viewer, because I strongly believe that he was a fantastic choice for the night’s emcee. Now, we’ll never know.
On the other hand, after a good forty-eight hours of thought since the original incident, I believe that Ratner’s exit, be it by choice or otherwise, was the right course of action. While I still do not think like so many others that the producer’s remarks were in any way meant to be hateful or discriminating. The truth is, ignorance of that kind cannot be tolerated. In a civilization that by all rights should be miles beyond the levels of bigotry that we find ourselves still bogged down in, the use of the term “fag” or anything like it must be reprimanded. It’s the same term used by murderers who torture people for being gay and high schoolers who drive their fellow students to suicide with ridicule. For anyone to use that kind of remark, let alone the frontman for Hollywood’s most biggest and most prestigious night, it’s unacceptable, and Ratner simply should not have been that stupid.
As far as the Oscars go, who knows what’s in store? Quite frankly, it’s a mess. Hopefully, veteran co-producer Don Mischer can find the right people to fill all the vacant shoes and pull this telecast back up by its bootstraps. I can only pray that they don’t decide to just regurgitate Billy Crystal for the umpteenth time and instead actually use some inspiration in their decision-making process.
We shall see. Stay tuned to The Edge of the Frame to find out.