Eddie Murphy Is Out As 2012 Oscar Host

Comedian Eddie Murphy stepped aside Wednesday after the show's producer Brett Ratner resigned amid controversy about a gay slur. Murphy's new film Tower Heist is also Ratner's latest directorial effort.

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STEVE INSKEEEP, HOST:

Now let's go to Hollywood for a different kind of drama. Brett Ratner, the man who was supposed to be the co-producer of the next Academy Awards show, resigned in disgrace this week over statements he made in public and on a radio show. Then yesterday, Eddie Murphy, the show's host, dropped out because he said he didn't want to do the show without Ratner.

Here's more from NPR's Ina Jaffe.

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: In a statement on Brett Ratner's resignation the Motion Picture Academy said, words have meaning, and they have consequences. Do they ever.

First Ratner used a homophobic slur at a screening of his new film, "Tower Heist," which stars Eddie Murphy. Then he went on the Howard Stern show, where he engaged in a long and graphic discussion of his sexual practices, body parts and former lovers - none of which you want to hear first thing in the morning, or maybe ever.

Kim Masters, editor-at-large for The Hollywood Reporter, says that hiring Ratner was a risk for the academy.

KIM MASTERS: I mean, Brett Ratner's reputation is well-established. But there is this desire to try to be young and relevant and - somebody who would be perceived as hip.

JAFFE: The hiring of Eddie Murphy to host the broadcast was no less risky, as Murphy himself demonstrated during a recent appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," where he said he didn't plan on cursing as host of the Oscars.

(SOUNDBITE OF "THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW")

EDDIE MURPHY: No, I don't have any plan to. But every now and then, you know, a curse may slip out.

ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST:

Uh-huh.

MURPHY: Like just now, I said (BEEP) on your show.

DEGENERES: You did, yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

JAFFE: In naming Brian Grazer as Ratner's replacement, the Academy is getting someone with decades of producing credits including "A Beautiful Mind," which won the Oscar for Best Picture. He'll work with veteran Oscars producer Don Mischer. Now the Academy has to come up with another host, which may be a tougher task, says Kim Masters.

MASTERS: It's considered a big burden, a big risk, without necessarily that much payoff.

JAFFE: So send your suggestions to the Academy of Motion Pictures in Beverly Hills. They may be desperate for ideas.

Ina Jaffe, NPR News.

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