HAMMOND: Murphy Exit Throws Oscars Into Further Chaos
Will The Academy Consider Brian Grazer?
HAMMOND: Oscars Post-Ratner – What Now?
SHOCKER! Brett Ratner Out As Oscar Producer
Eddie Murphy Agrees To Host Oscars; Producers Tell Film Academy It’s Official

UPDATED: Only three months before the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and ABC are almost back to square one. Hours after Brett Ratner tendered his resignation as Oscar producer in the fallout of racy-bordering-on-vulgar public comments and the use of an anti-gay slur, Eddie Murphy has stepped down as host. The move is not entirely unexpected given that Ratner was the one who brought in his Tower Heist star Murphy, and Deadline noted that Ratner’s exit Tuesday gave Murphy the perfect chance to bow out. But it still gives the Academy a big headache having to replace a producer and now a host only three months before the February 26 Academy Awards ceremony. On the other hand, Murphy’s acceptance of the gig was abnormally early. With the two departures, the only key member of the creative team remaining in place is veteran TV producer Don Mischer, who had been originally paired with Ratner. As for potential replacements, Brian Grazer, who produced Tower Heist, is being rumored as a candidate to succeed Ratner. Here is AMPAS’ statement on Murphy’s departure:

Beverly Hills, CA – Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak announced that Eddie Murphy has withdrawn as host of the 84th Academy Awards. “I appreciate how Eddie feels about losing his creative partner, Brett Ratner, and we all wish him well,” said Sherak.

Commented Murphy, “First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party’s decision with regard to a change of producers for this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I’m sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job.”

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

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