WEDNESDAY 3:50 PM, 3RD UPDATE: The Academy Of Motion Pictures & Arts Sciences just made it official.
3:30 PM, 2ND UPDATE: Imagine Entertainment is confirming that Brian Grazer will produce the 84th Academy Awards with Don Mischer. Still no official AMPAS announcement, though. And there’s more news on this fast-breaking story: As much as the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hoped that Eddie Murphy would reconsider his exit as host, insiders tell me that Brian Grazer has moved on this afternoon. “We are not going back to him. No way,” I’m told.
2 PM, UPDATE from Nikki Finke: I have just learned that Brian Grazer was offered and has accepted to produce the 84th Academy Awards. Nothing has been announced yet, but Grazer is telling Hollywood that he’s committed to the gig. The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences owes Brian big-time for stepping into the breach left when Brett Ratner exited because of the scandal which the director had created around himself. Immediately, Grazer began calling around town looking for the Oscar host (see HAMMOND: Eddie’s Exit Throws Oscars Into Further Chaos; So Who Should Host Now?) and speed-dialed the top agencies checking availabilities for big talent. But the Academy still wants Eddie Murphy to host, and Grazer is tasked with first trying to convince the actor to do it. Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment produced Tower Heist, which Ratner directed and co-stars Murphy. If anyone can get Eddie back in, it’s Brian. For Grazer to take on the Oscars demonstrates a dedication to the movie community that I hope the Academy won’t soon forget. Grazer’s name frequently comes up for the Irving G Thalberg Memorial Award, the most coveted Oscar honor for anyone in Hollywood, and almost received it for the 76th annual Oscars. So maybe sooner rather than later it should be Grazer’s turn for the Thalberg. I say give it to him next year.
11 AM, Mike Fleming reports: Right now, the Academy Awards are still in disarray, but a name that is making the rounds is Brian Grazer as a potential replacement for Brett Ratner. This is unconfirmed and might have made more sense when Eddie Murphy was still the host. Grazer partners in Imagine Entertainment with Ron Howard, and he just produced Tower Heist, the Ratner-directed film that stars Murphy. Developing.