Eddie Murphy Agrees To Host Oscars; Producers Tell Film Academy It's Official

EXCLUSIVE: Eddie Murphy In Talks To Host 84th Oscars

UPDATE: The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences just made it official.

EXCLUSIVE: I’ve just learned that Eddie Murphy has officially agreed to host the 84th Academy Awards. Today, Oscar producer Brett Ratner is formally telling the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences that he’s chosen Murphy to emcee the Oscars and an announcement will be made. I broke the news over Labor Day weekend that Ratner was in talks with Murphy and was going to offer AMPAS President Tom Sherak only the comedian’s name to host. I was told that a lot of big names had approached the other 84th Academy Awards producer Don Mischer saying they are interested in hosting, and Don was fielding those calls. Brett’s talks with Murphy had been along the lines of, “If the Academy asked you to host, would you accept?” I learned that Eddie has now formally said yes. This is coming months earlier than normal because usually the Oscars host isn’t chosen or announced until January. But everyone is eager to get out the news now. I do know that Murphy’s Hollywood agency WME thinks it’d be a real coup for Murphy’s dormant career, which is about to get a kick-start. That’s because the veteran comedian is starring in the Brett Ratner-directed and Imagine/Universal-produced Tower Heist action laugher with Ben Stiller that opens on November 4th and is receiving great buzz. So Murphy and Ratner already have a close relationship, and this would be a way for Brett to put his personal stamp on 2012′s broadcast. Plus Murphy is starring in the DreamWorks dramedy film A Thousand Words scheduled for release on January 12th.

Eddie, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 2006′s Dreamgirls but lost, is said to worship the Oscars. “Nobody knows movies better or is a bigger cinephile than Eddie. Not Brett. Not even Quentin Tarantino. Eddie can quote scenes from every single movie word for word,” an insider tells me. “He can bring all that experience to hosting. Plus he has Saturday Night Live experience before a live crowd. And worldwide the biggest crossover comedians are Will Smith and Eddie Murphy.” That’s important because a huge part of the Academy Awards telecast audience is global. And with two movies opening before the Oscars, Murphy could benefit from the publicity bonanza especially overseas where international releases usually follow U.S. openings by several months. Besides, the Academy has been after more diversity which is why this October it’s honoring James Earl Jones and Oprah Winfrey (even though she’s much more of a TV personality than a movie star or filmmaker).

The comedy and urban entertainment website Humor Mill posted first an exclusive (sourced from several close friends of Eddie’s) that Murphy was a done deal. But I’ve confirmed it wasn’t until today. A decision like this to host the Academy Awards is made by committee with a star and his/her reps and pals weighing all the pro and con options. Which is why the Academy has such a tough time finding new hosts every year because it can be such a career-altering decision. Meanwhile, I hear that veteran Billy Crystal, who recently expressed interest in hosting again, will almost certainly be incorporated into the show in some marquee way.

This is now the 4th straight year that Deadline has first reported the host of the Academy Awards, including Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, James Franco and Anne Hathaway, and now Eddie Murphy. Although there was tremendous excitement and anticipation over Franco and Hathaway hosting last year, the pair laid an egg onstage. So the general concensus was that the Oscars needed to return to a comedian to emcee. In recent years of Oscar telecasts, even going back decades, the ceremony has been emceed by mostly TV or movie comedians — whether Will Rogers and George Jessel in the 1930s, Bob Hope off and on for the next three decades, Johnny Carson in the 1980s, even David Letterman in 1995. In the 1990s and 2000s, there’s been a mix of film funny people like Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, and Steve Martin as well as stand-up comedians and TV personalities like Chris Rock, Ellen DeGeneres and Jon Stewart. When the producers of the 81st Oscars  decided to omit the stand-up portion of the show (since these one-liners are usually understood only by the movie industry and leave TV viewers bewildered), it opened up the possibility of an actor hosting again. But that flopped for the 83rd telecast.

There was a period in the 1970s when groups of actors emceed: 1973 when Carol Burnett, Michael Caine, Charlton Heston, and Rock Hudson did it as an ensemble; 1974: John Huston, Diana Ross, Burt Reynolds, and David Niven; 1976, Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, George Segal, Goldie Hawn, and Gene Kelly; 1977, Richard Pryor, Jane Fonda, Ellen Burstyn, and Warren Beatty. Only a few thesps have hosted the show by themselves, including first AMPAS president and one of the founders Douglas Fairbanks, followed by Jimmy Stewart, Robert Montgomery, and Jack Lemmon, when the Oscars consisted of an awards banquet, then a radio show, and ultimately a globally broadcast TV spectacle.

Hosting the Academy Awards is like performing the most dangerous stunt imaginable for a Hollywood actor or actress. It’s playing the biggest room with a worldwide TV audience and working in front of a live audience at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre. “There’s no job quite like it in the world,” Bruce Vilanch, the writer of more than two decades of Oscar shows, told Deadline last time around. “You have to entertain this industry crowd. You have to stay cool when the lights are blazing down. You’ve got to move things along. And you’ve got to be charming without offending anyone.” There was general consensus that Steve Martin (who hosted on his own twice) paired with Alec Baldwin were a breezy and classy twosome last time around. So the feeling now is to keep the hosts in the movie family. Whoopi Goldberg was the first woman to fly solo, and her four hosting stints were considered a mixed bag. But by her final two efforts, she’d figured out how to blend wit with charm. In her wake, Ellen De Generes proved to be fun, self-deprecating, and clever as emcee, as well as unafraid to interact with superstars in the audience. Unfortunately for Oscar, both women are now TV talk stars. But it’s not just the host that matters but also the movies. The most-viewed Oscarcast continues to be the 1998 show Crystal hosted that honored James Cameron’s Titanic.

  1. Hopefully Murphy’s involvement will reduce the need for the person I feel is the cause of years worth of lame Oscars – Bruce Vilanch.

    1. The writing for the Oscars has been excruciating. They should just hire as many people as possible from the staff that did the Tonys this year.

    2. Blaming Vilanch for everything that is wrong with the Oscars betrays your complete lack of knowledge on how award shows, and the Oscars in particular, are put together. He also worked on the Tonys, which are so beloved by Skippy below. Your hatred for him clearly goes beyond professional bounds.

    3. Bruce Vilanch is one of the funniest and most professional writers in Hollywood. And, unlike many, he’s earned his status. Trashing Bruce is common by those who envy his position.

    4. I’m not surprised Eddie will host. He’s a darn good actor and very funny. Sock it to them Eddie and we’ll all have a ball at laughing.

      1. Eddie Murphy was humble when he was on SNL, but that all changed when he went to Hollywood. He acquired a ‘posse’ where ever he went, wore leather trousers and bling, and acted like his a@@ weighed a ton. We will see if he has changed and can be funny!

    5. You hire Ratner who comes from the worst filth in Miami who then hires a guy who disrespected himself and the Academy by walking out of the Awards when he lost.

      What are we talking about here? This is the Academy Awards not the MTV Awards!!! Who let this happen? This is the beyond low and OUTRAGEOUS.

      First firing, Don Mischer…time to go. Clearly, you’ve overseen a show that doesn’t work…year in, year out. Call it a day. It’s past you. You had a great career…move on. Academy…I don’t know who is making these decisions. This is ridiculous.

  2. Great news. This will be the highest rated Oscar telecast ever. For better or worse, who’s not going to watch?

    1. You’re implying that he has no professionalism. This is not 20-something yr old Eddie Murphy. Try to look past his shell. Give the man some credit.

  3. This is great news. No matter his very spotty film career the last decade and a half, Eddie is a timeless entertainer.

    Eddie plus Brett Ratner is exactly the kind of team that the Oscars need. They both have a knowledge and respect for film history and won’t shamelessly pander to a young audience. On the other hand, they will make sure that the Oscar show isn’t cheesy or stodgy.

    I agree with the above poster about Bruce Vilanch. He’s horrible.

  4. I wish Eddie Murphy would do movies for adults again like he used to and ceases doing children’s films. It would be sad and disappointing if he doesn’t.
    Everyone is ready to give up on him. He has alienated his fanbase for years and has seemingly gone out of his way to make lousy children’s movies, with only the occasional adult film once in a while.

    1. It is because he was caught with a transvestite on Sunset that he had to ring up a 10 picture deal of children’s films to cleanse his record.

  5. sorry to disagree but as fun as Eddie can be..i still prefer Billy Crystal. I like his ‘tude at Oscars he’s hosted in the past. And i’m sick of the politically correct thing always.

  6. C’mon, let Franco and Hathaway host again. At least, people will have something to talk about like they did after the last Oscars. :P

  7. i want to love this, but i feel eddie will be so watered down by the time the academy edits down his bits, he will be boring and formulaic. please, please, eddie, say the N word- just for me!

  8. Leave ALL SWEARING out of the show. You DO NOT NEED SWEARING
    in any show. The Oscars will be far more entertaining without
    it and so will Eddie Murphy. he is a great comedian
    without all the bad language, He does not need it to be great.

    1. I agree that Eddie is a great comedian and does not need all the profanity to be funny or get a laugh. He is too old to still be using bad language as a crutch.

      I’m routing for you Eddie –do your stuff and Wow us all.

  9. When I saw one his first video’s I laughed so hard I hurt from cheak to cheak,for an hour.I think he’ll be great,I won’t miss the show.

  10. So we should expect the oscars to start 4 hours late then?? Actually they should tell him that the telecast starts at 11am so he’ll be there just about on time. Ratner is still a douche bag.

  11. You know 15 years ago, no one would’ve batted an eye at this. I think this is perfect for Eddie, he should get Louis CK to write his stuff and he will kill it (worked for Chris Rock……side note, notice how since CK is now his own star, Chris Rock hasn’t done a stand up in years.)

  12. For the first tme in my life I wil NOT watch the Oscars show!!!!!Eddie Murphy represents the lowest form of manhood (?) with his total disrespect for women —- he is the poorest in ethics twoards women and gays and least worthy to represent the film industry, the Oscars, and the movie viewing/going/paying publio — he is am insullt to the industry —-what a rotten undeserving choice for this show that honors the best that the flim industry presents to the paying public!!!!!! Eddy Murphy is a rottrn choic — we the public will be laughing at him —- and not for his sense of (?) humor (?)

  13. Eddie will be funny and charming to his fans and joke to his detractors…but in the end Eddie Murphy will deliver a one of the more perfect Oscar nights in a long while.

  14. After he stormed ut of the Oscars after he didn’t win for Dreamgirls, I find it amazing the Academy would let soemone like Murphy host the show. Of course, he has to be better than James Franco.

  15. Is this the best they can do? It’s tough enough to watch the show as is. Now we have a has-been. Who is running the Oscar program? Is that guy on drugs!

  16. Eddie Murphy insulted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, his co-nominees, the Kodak Theater attendees, and viewers around the world, when he shouted out his displeasure at his loss for not winning the Best Supporting award for ‘Dreamgirls’. The winner, Alan Alda, attempted to deliver a respectful acceptance speech, although he  had a look of surprised dismay, when Eddie Murphy stomped angrily out of the theater. Some view this as a film star tantrum. I think it’s the sign of an unstable person. Oscar night 2012 may prove to be a spectacular implosion. 

  17. There are only two people on this earth who should ever be allowed to host the Oscars:

    SIMON PEGG and NICK FROST.

    Seriously. They would be BRILLIANT!! Nobody loves movies more than these guys. They are hilarious. They can write hysterical material AND by funny on the spot. Who is with me here, people?

    PEGG AND FROST on Oscar night. I would absolutely watch that over and over and over again!

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