On Thursday, the motion picture academy announced that TV vet Don Mischer will be pulling double duty again on the Oscars as a producer and director while feature film helmer Brett Ratner will join him as a co-producer. Mischer and producer Bruce Cohen oversaw last year’s kudocast which was pilloried by the press.
Ratner has directed nine films including all three “Rush Hour” action comedies. His newest movie, “Tower Heist,” is due out in November but, as with the rest of his output, this caper flick starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy is destined for commercial success rather than critical acclaim.
While Ratner is an academy member and even sits on the committee that oversees admission to the directors’ branch, he lacks the awards pedigree of many of the past producers of the Oscars. Does this matter? After all, Cohen won an Oscar for producing 1999 Best Picture champ “American Beauty” but it would be hard to argue that last year’s telecast was one for the ages.
Ratner is promising to bring his comic sensibility to the table. Might he also bring along his two stars of “Tower Heist”? Stiller has always excelled as a presenter at past Oscars while Murphy, who has a more tempestuous relationship with the academy, would make for must-see TV.