Man, what a sordid affair this turned out to be. First Brett Ratner steps down from his post as director of the Oscars after claiming that "rehearsal is for fags," and that was all fine and good, because really, fuck that guy. But now it turns out that the Academy Awards' scheduled host Eddie Murphy can apparently only work under the masterful directorial instincts of an auteur like Ratner — he's leaving the Oscars, too.
Now, there are plenty of reasons to badmouth the Oscars. They're not very compelling, the best films usually lose, the speeches are one large circle jerk for one of the most annoyingly insular communities in the world, and the hosts are generally either dull on their own or read terribly dull material from the teleprompters. But, still. This wasn't going to be a "safe" choice like Steve Martin or Billy Crystal, or an obvious trackwreck like that Anne Hathaway/James Franco fiasco.
This was going to be Eddie Murphy hosting it. This was to be the next step in his comeback trail, one that started with returning to (somewhat) comedy in Tower Heist and continued in an unusually candid interview with Rolling Stone, one that'd see him try to reclaim his spot as the Funniest Man In the World. (Bill Simmons over at Grantland has a pretty great reminder of just how transcendent Murphy's career was at one point, and thusly how far his star has fallen, that's worth the read.) Would it have worked? Would the Oscars have been funny or, at the very least, watchable this year? Would Eddie Murphy have rekindled his spark and ventured on a second-half comeback that saw his forgoing kids' movies for actual comedies? Who knows. Now we'll never find out.
So, in summary once again: Brett Ratner — fuck that guy.
In lieu of what could have been, we are left instead with this, one of Eddie's finest moments thus far, which we can watch over and over again from the comfort of our tear-stained office chairs:
On second thought, maybe this isn't really that big of a deal.