Eddie Murphy to host 2012 Oscars ceremony
The once-controversial comic, with three Razzies under his belt, will present the Oscars next year
THE UP-AND-DOWN career of US comedian Eddie Murphy is on the rise once more after he was chosen to host the 2012 Oscars, apparently beating off competition from the likes Billy Crystal, who has hosted the ceremony eight times, and Jerry Seinfeld.
After two years in which double acts have presented the show, the organisers have reverted to the traditional format of a single host, perhaps in reaction to the very mixed reviews afforded to James Franco and Anne Hathaway last year.
The buzz enjoyed by Ricky Gervais, who has hosted the Golden Globes for the past two years, attracting a TV audience of 17m for this year's appearance, might also have played a part in the Oscars organisers' decision.
Murphy may have Brett Ratner to thank for landing the gig. Ratner is producing the 2012 Oscar telecast with Don Mischer, and directed Murphy in his latest film Tower Heist, which comes out in November. He is a big fan of the comedian, recently telling MTV: "I've been around some big stars, some of the greatest actors who've ever lived. The only time I ever really had to pinch myself was the first day of shooting with Eddie Murphy."
After hiring him for the Oscar show he described Murphy as a "comedic genius, one of the greatest and most influential live performers ever".
But Murphy comes with an element of risk. Although he appeared in comedy classics such as Beverly Hills Cop and Trading Places, he has also been involved in some of the biggest screen flops in history, including the 2002 film Pluto Nash, which reportedly cost more than $100m to make, and grossed just $7m. And while the comic was once nominated for an Oscar for his role in Dreamgirls, he won three Razzies for Norbit and was named worst actor of the decade in 2010.
His stand-up routines have also proved controversial. During the 1987 film of his live show, Raw, he used the word 'fuck' 223 times, the most of any movie made in the 1980s. Four years earlier his TV special Delirious, which was not released as a film, contained 230 uses of the word.
However, Murphy's recent work, including voicing the character Donkey in the Shrek films, has been rather more homespun and after being announced as the Oscar host he offered a rather formulaic reaction, saying: "I am enormously honoured to join the great list of past Academy Award hosts from [Bob] Hope and [Johnny] Carson to Crystal, [Steve] Martin and [Whoopi] Goldberg, among others."