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Archive for the ‘Oscars’ Category

Jeff Simon: Crystal, Vilanch And Others Make A-List To Host Oscars

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Buffalo News
Murphy bows out, Crystal steps up, but what if Oscar needs another host?
By Jeff Simon
November 11, 2011


Eddie Murphy, as the world now knows, took a powder.

He is not going to host the Oscars after all. His “Tower Heist” director, Brett Ratner, was the fellow who¶d asked him to do it in the first place when the Oscar powers-that- be originally asked Ratner, for their own reasons, to produce the show.

But then Ratner —said to be in life an overprivileged brat from an inept Judd Apatow movie—started lipping off. At a news conference for “Tower Heist,” he was innocently asked by someone in the vast army of Hollywood fawners and junketeers about how he rehearses his actors.

“Rehearsal,” averred Ratner charmingly, “is for fags.”

Dismissive public bigotry about homosexuals is no longer permissible for a producer of the highest-profile entertainment event in the Western world. Frankly, I don¶t think it ever was permissible. Even in the “let¶s-breakevery-rule” late- 1960s and early ¶70s, a producer saying something that dumb about one of the two tentpole
minority groups of Hollywood (the other, of course, would be Jews. See Neal Gabler¶s classic history “An Empire of Their Own”) would have notable difficulty finding people willing to work for him.

Nor was that Ratner¶s only mistake. He went on Howard Stern¶s glands-on-parade satellite radio frat party and discussed his sex life and the physical endowment he brings to its pursuit.

I¶ll say this for Ratner: Any man who supports Stern¶s ongoing First Amendment assault on our current revival of the All- Too-Appropriate ¶50s deserves some sympathy from the thinking classes, even if they don¶t begin to include Ratner himself.

Nevertheless, Ratner¶s “I¶m Way Out of My Depth” openmic tour of all the wrong places got him yanked from the Oscar gig. His appointed emcee, Murphy, merely did what a loyal friend should do and backed up his friend by bowing out.

Leaving, of course, a big hole where an Oscar host ought to be.

Ricky Gervais, bless him, rushed in and offered himself, at reduced cost, as host for a Twofer— the Oscars aQd the Golden Globes, to which he¶s already a committed fixture.

He wasn¶t fast enough. Earlier, Billy Crystal— who has reached the stage of life where his hair has attained that orangish- brown color, never found in nature, which only seems to exist among aging comedians in proximity to West Coast functionaries of the dyer¶s trade—had mentioned that he might want to give the Oscars another go.
The Academy and Crystal, 63, confirmed Thursday it would take him up on that offer.

Crystal tweeted that he is “doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I
pick up my prescriptions.”11/11/11 Murphy bows out, Crystal steps up, but what if Oscar needs another host? – Jeff Simon – The Buffalo«

But, considering that the Oscars, really, belong to us all, I think the time has come for all good people to have their own input for those coastal bigwigs who¶ve been fumbling the matter of Oscar hosts for years. Even though this year¶s Oscar host sweepstakes are settled again, for now at least, we all need to offer our own categories of
acceptability for Oscar show hosts, so that the boredom and cheesiness are minimized, and rare wit, hilarity and entertainment are made a little less rare.

Here¶s my list of possible Oscar hosts. By all means, send yours to the Motion Picture Academy, too.
The A-List (Oh, go ahead, o er them the gig. They couldn¶t be worse than some have been very recently.) Eddie Murphy, still. Ricky Gervais. Oprah Winfrey. Billy Crystal. David Letterman. (No kidding. He was never as bad as he thinks he was, and in his current snarling and dyspeptic incarnation, he¶d be hilariously off-key.) Craig Ferguson.
Robert Downey Jr. Ellen DeGeneres. Robin Williams (no fair, though, setting too many rules for what he¶s allowed to say).

Tom Hanks (with lots of good writers). Julia Roberts (ditto). Bruce Vilanch (my Far Left Field suggestion. The woolly bearded Vilanch has been the chief Oscar gagster for Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal but is, himself, one of the most “inappropriate”- looking men in all of public life, which is why producers, in a bit of “Oh, what the hell” bravado, couldn¶t do better than having Vilanch and Gervais as truly subversive co-hosts for an evening never to be forgotten— whether ecstatic hilarity or infamous calamity).

The B-List (smaller potatoes but on the same plate as some hosting chops). Hugh Jackman. Neil Patrick Harris (with plenty of bigger name co-hosts). Whoopi Goldberg (she¶s done it before—always acceptably but never great). Adam Sandler. Tracey Ullman. Steve Carell and Tina Fey together. Jimmy Fallon (with lots of bigger name cohosts). Bill Murray. Kevin Spacey. Emma Thompson. Anne Hathaway (again; she wasn¶t bad). Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson together. (They¶d set the world¶s record for smirking coastal contempt. They¶d have to make sure, though, that Jack was entirely weed-free for the full week beforehand.) Hugh Grant. Woody Allen and Diane Keaton together (are we talking surreal fun or what? Elaine May would be an acceptable, if entirely impossible,
Keaton substitute).

The C-List (Well, everybody¶s gotta be someplace. Or, you never know until you try.) John Cusack. Dick Cavett (preceded by a massive publicity campaign to remind people who he is). Tom Cruise (with lots and lots of good writers). Steven Spielberg (to take the show in an entirely different direction— toward actual film. Add seasoning from Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard and Francis Ford Coppola to taste). Leonardo DiCaprio. John Goodman. Cate Blanchett. Roseanne Barr. Jamie Foxx. Bette Midler. Kristen Wiig. Susan Sarandon (or Tim Robbins. Not both). Jimmy Kimmel. Ben Stiller. John Travolta. Charlie Sheen (yes, Charlie Sheen). Bruce Willis. Madonna.

The D-List (Never. Never again or let¶s not even try it.)  Steve Martin. Alec Baldwin. Johnny Depp. Chris Rock. Al Pacino. Robert De Niro. Robert Redford. Zack Galifianakis. Mel Gibson (though he¶d have been awfully good in his pretoxic era). Regis Philbin. Chelsea Handler. Wolf Blitzer. Jay Leno. Dr. Phil. Jennifer Lopez. Justin Bieber. Snooki. Dina Lohan. Michael Lohan. All the Kardashians great and small. The Ghost of Bert Parks.

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Billy Crystal To Host The Oscars – Is It Too Much To Assume Bruce Is B

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

It’s Official: Billy Crystal Returning as Oscar Host
November 10, 2011

Billy Crystal to the rescue! The nine-time Oscar host has agreed to replace Eddie Murphy as emcee of the 2012 Academy Awards. “Am doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions,” the comedian tweeted Thursday afternoon. “Looking forward to the show.”

News of Crystal’s Oscar comeback comes a day after Murphy dropped out in the wake ofF-bomb dropper Brett Ratner’s resignation as the telecast’s producer. Brian Grazer will now oversee the ceremony.

Oscars: Brett Ratner Out, Now Host Eddy Murphy Out! Who Will Replace?

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Mister D: Bring back Oscar regular Bruce Vilanch and how about sharing the hosting duties to Bette Midler and Billy Crystal – take a little pressure off them

Eddie Murphy Out As Oscar Host After Brett Ratner Resignation
November 9, 2011


Eddie Murphy is no longer hosting the 84th annual Academy Awards.

Following the exit of his good friend and “Tower Heist” director Brett Ratner as producer of the show last night over a series of controversial comments, the Academy announced that Murphy has withdrawn from his hosting duties, which he first took on in September.

“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,” Murphy said in a statement sent out by the academy. “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.”

The withdrawal caps a tumultuous week for Ratner and the Oscars telecast. Last week, Ratner used a gay slur when asked a question about filmmaking. The director said that “rehearsing is for fags” in a Q&A session following a screening of his new film, “Tower Heist,” at L.A.’s Arclight Cinemas. He apologized for the statement after NY Magazine published his remarks. He also made a series of crude statements about actresses Olivia Munn and Lindsay Lohan.

Statement in Full:

Beverly Hills, CA (November 9, 2011) – 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.

Gays Around The World Applaud As Brett Ratnor Steps Down As Producer Of Next Year’s Oscars

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
Brett Ratner

E OnLine
Brett Ratner Quits as Oscar Show Producer
Today 4:17 PM PST by MARC MALKIN

Brett Ratner is calling it quits.

In a stunning turn of events, the controversial director has resigned from producing the Academy Awards telecast…

READ: Movie Academy Scolds Brett Ratner for Gay Slur: “It Will Not Happen Again”

The Hollywood Reporter was the first to report Ratner’s resignation.

“He did the right thing for the Academy and for himself,” Academy president Tom Sherak said in a statement. “Words have meaning, and they have consequences. Brett is a good person, but his comments were unacceptable. We all hope this will be an opportunity to raise awareness about the harm that is caused by reckless and insensitive remarks, regardless of the intent.”

Ratner came under fire from GLAAD this week for using a gay slur during a Tower Heist Q&A over the weekend. He’s also been blasted for a sexually crass chat he had during an appearance yesterday on Howard Stern’s radio show.

It’s still unclear if Eddie Murphy will stay on as host. His rep didn’t not immediately comment for this story.

MORE: What Does Eddie Murphy Have to Do With Greg Grunberg and Brett Ratner’s Twitter Tiff?

In an open letter to Hollywood, Ratner once again apologized for his actions.

“So many artists and craftspeople in our business are members of the LGBT community, and it pains me deeply that I may have hurt them. I should have known this all along, but at least I know it now: words do matter,” he wrote, in part. “Having love in your heart doesn’t count for much if what comes out of your mouth is ugly and bigoted. With this in mind, and to all those who understandably feel that apologies are not enough, please know that I will be taking real action over the coming weeks and months in an effort to do everything I can both professionally and personally to help stamp out the kind of thoughtless bigotry I’ve so foolishly perpetuated.”

He also said that he resigned this morning. He wrote, “[A]s painful as this may be for me, it would be worse if my association with the show were to be a distraction from the Academy and the high ideals it represents.”

GLAAD applauded Ratner’s decision. “When we sat down with Brett today, he seemed very sincere in his desire to use this experience as a way to begin speaking out against anti-gay language in popular culture,” said Herndon Graddick, the media watchdog group’s Director of Programs and Communications. “We believe this resignation is just the first step and will be announcing a series of concrete actions in coming days and weeks with Brett.”

PHOTOS: 10 Best Things Ever Said at the Oscars

The Oscars: Where’s Bruce?

Monday, November 7th, 2011

New team of writers on tap for this year’s Oscars
By Steve Pond
Mon Nov 7, 2011 1:56pm EST

LOS ANGELES ( – Is Bruce Vilanch joining the ranks of the unemployed when the 84th Academy Awards roll around?

The upcoming Oscars show will make use of a new crop of writers with ties to producer Brett Ratner but little awards-show experience, among them the screenwriters of Ratner’s new film, “Tower Heist.”

Ratner, who is producing the show with Don Mischer, told the Los Angeles Times on Sunday that his writing team for the show would include the “Tower Heist” team of Jeff Nathanson and Ted Griffin, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” writers Alec Berg and David Mandel, “Saturday Night Live” vets Barry Blaustein and David Sheffield and one longtime Oscar-show writer, Jon Macks.

Notably missing from the list is Vilanch, the chief comic voice of the Oscars for the last two decades.

When asked by TheWrap if he was going to work on the show this year, Vilanch replied by email, “Guess not.”

But Ratner told TheWrap early Monday that with the exception of Macks, all the writers he announced were on board just to write for the show’s host, Eddie Murphy. Ratner had yet to determine how much of a writing staff he’d need for the rest of the show, he said, and had not even discussed the matter with Mischer.

That staff could include Vilanch.

But at the moment, Ratner said, he is focused on Murphy’s writers.

Typically, the Academy Awards use one group of writers for introductions and presenter chat, while the host uses a separate team, with some overlap. Many of the writers named by Ratner have worked with Murphy in the past.

Ratner also said that he would bring in additional writers for specific sections of the show. He singled out director and Oscar-winning screenwriter Cameron Crowe, whose film “We Bought a Zoo” opens in December, as a participant.