Earlier this year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences mystified the world with news that hack director Brett Ratner had been hired to produce next year’s Oscars telecast. This seemed like a spectacularly bad idea to just about everyone except, perhaps, AMPAS President Tom Sherak. Ratner quickly announced that once-funny actor Eddie Murphy (who oh-so-coincidentally happens to be the star of the director’s new film, ‘Tower Heist’) would host the ceremony. That part, at least, didn’t sound like nearly as huge of a mistake. Well, now they’re both out, thanks to Ratner’s stunning self-destruction, and the Academy has to scramble to make alternate plans for the February broadcast.
How did this happen? Ever the charmer, Ratner hosted a Q&A session for ‘Tower Heist’ last weekend in which he stated, “Rehearsal? What’s that? Rehearsal’s for f*gs.” (I’m sure you can figure out what the word at the end is supposed to be. I’ll give you a hint; it’s not “figs” or “fogs.”) Needless to say, that remark didn’t go over so well with the gay community. Later, the director went on Howard Stern’s radio show and talked explicitly about his sex life with starlets such as Lindsay Lohan and Olivia Munn. The Hollywood Reporter has a lovely selection of his choicest quotes from the past week.
Despite Ratner’s attempt to make apologies for his behavior, the uproar against him quickly escalated to the point that he was forced to resign from his position as Oscar producer. Although Eddie Murphy had no part in any of this, he wisely decided that it would be a good idea to distance himself from the whole fiasco as well.
Personally, I’m not a fan of overzealous political correctness, and it’s pretty clear that Ratner didn’t mean to refer to homosexuals when he made his ill-advised slur. However, ignorance is not much of an excuse for being an obnoxious asshole. Brett Ratner is a repulsive human being, and I take great glee in watching him fall on his face.
Who will produce and host the Oscars now? Rumors have it that the Academy has approached Lorne Michaels and Tina Fey. We’ll have to wait and see if that pans out.