The last time Eddie Murphy was at the Oscars was five years ago and he left soon after losing his Supporting Actor bid for “Dreamgirls” to Adam Arkin (“Little Miss Sunshine”). This February, he will have to stick around for the whole show as the academy has tapped him to be the host.
Murphy certainly promises to be full of surprises. At the 60th annual Oscars, celebrating the best films of 1987, he was given the top slot of announcing Best Picture (picture, above). Before he opened the envelope to reveal the winner was “The Last Emperor,” Murphy chided the academy and Hollywood for its treatment of African-Americans.
Murphy recently worked with first-time Oscarcast co-producer Brett Ratner on the comedy caper “Tower Heist.” That November release co-stars Ben Stiller who was thought to be a frontrunner for the hosting gig. And there was talk that eight-time emcee Billy Crystal would return following his well-received appearance on last year’s show. Crystal’s tribute to Bob Hope was one of the few bright spots in that Oscarcast which was hosted by Anne Hathaway and James Franco. That was the first Academy Awards co-produced by TV vet Don Mischer who also directed the show. He is back in both jobs this year as well.
In making the announcement, Ratner said, “Eddie is a comedic genius, one of the greatest and most influential live performers ever. With his love of movies, history of crafting unforgettable characters and his iconic performances – especially on stage – I know he will bring excitement, spontaneity and tremendous heart to the show Don and I want to produce in February.”
For his part Mischer said, “Eddie is a truly ground-breaking performer, whose amazingly diverse array of roles has won him a devoted audience of all ages. His quick wit and charisma will serve him very well as Oscar host.”
And Murphy added, “I am enormously honored to join the great list of past Academy Award hosts from Hope and Carson to Crystal, Martin and Goldberg, among others. I’m looking forward to working with Brett and Don on creating a show that is enjoyable for both the fans at home and for the audience at the Kodak Theatre as we all come together to celebrate and recognize the great film contributions and collaborations from the past year.”
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