Oscar co-producer Brett Ratner asked his Tower Heist star Eddie Murphy to consider hosting the Oscars on February 26. And Murphy has said yes. “Eddie is a comedic genius, one of the greatest and most influential live performers ever,” said Ratner. “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.”
“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,” said Murphy. “I’m looking forward to working with Brett and Don [Mischer] 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.”
Murphy rocked the 1988 Oscars when he presented the Best Picture Oscar, pissing off then-Academy president Robert Wise when he criticized the Academy’s neglect of African American performers. Oscars 2012 will mark the first time Murphy will do a live comedy performance since his filmed 1987 Raw comedy tour. Murphy infamously walked off the 2006 Oscars when he did not win a supporting actor statuette for Dreamgirls. In 2009, Murphy behaved when he presented the Jean Hersholt Award to his idol Jerry Lewis. So now the Academy is welcoming him back. He’s an exciting, unpredictable choice who might actually pull in some much-needed viewers.
Murphy began his career at the age of 15 as a stand-up comedian. In 1980, at the age of 19, he joined the cast of “Saturday Night Live,” becoming the show’s youngest cast member to that point, and bringing to life many of the show’s most memorable characters. His 1983 album “Eddie Murphy: Comedian” won a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording. It included portions of his groundbreaking HBO special “Eddie Murphy Delirious.” In 1987, “Eddie Murphy Raw” was theatrically released and went on to gross over $50 million. Murphy made his feature film debut in 1982 with the classic “48 Hrs.” and would go on to star in such box-office hits as “Beverly Hills Cop” and the “The Nutty Professor” and “Shrek” franchises. All told, movies in which he has performed have earned in excess of $7 billion worldwide during their theatrical releases. Murphy earned an Oscar nomination in 2006 for his supporting role in “Dreamgirls.”