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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oscar Says "Otay" To Eddie Murphy As Host

American film fans can breath again. After a treacherous attempt at hosting the biggest entertainment event of the year, the duo of Anne Hathaway and James Franco will NOT be returning as co-hosts of the Oscars. Surprised? If you watched the event, I am sure the answer is no. The replacement has been announced and it is both surprising and obvious at the same time...Eddie Murphy.

Why did the Academy choose Eddie?
It seems like an annual tradition, The Academy Awards loses some viewers and everyone starts asking how to fix The Oscars.  The funny thing is, The Oscars were not broken until they tried to fix it.  The focus has shifted from the films and toward attracting new viewers through big openings, risque comedians or the latest buzz star.  It is as if The Academy has lost faith in what made them so successful and had resorted to parlor tricks.   At one time they were prestigous, respected - the royalty of the entertainment world.  But, as the desperate pandering for viewers became the focus, the awards felt cheapened.

If the producers want to return to the glory days of The Oscars the focus needed to return to the films.  The attempts to build on target demographics was a failure, there have been no significant gains in new viewers no matter what demographic were aiming for.   Last year, not one teenager upon hearing who was hosting last year's Oscars thought, "hey, James Franco likes to twitter and smoke weed just like me, I am going to watch the Oscars!"  (other than Jesse Winkman of Somerset, Iowa).  It seems that last year's reviews finally got through to them; instead of attempting to build hype they chose to start rebuiding the empire they once had.  They brought in an A-List celeb - not the latest and greatest, but someone that had been around the block a few times, someone that will remind you Hollywood is not a five-year-old inststution. Will he improve ratings? Unlikely... but he should retain the numbers from last year and begin the return toward prestige.

Why did Eddie choose to do it? At first it is a bit shocking. Superstar, Eddie Murphy? Really? Then you simply remember his last couple decades of films, from bad to terrible is pretty much the range in where they fall.   Sure he had a couple successful roles, but what seems to stick in most people's minds are rolls, fat rolls... from his numerous fat suit "comedies."  Once the funniest man on the planet he  has lowered himself wearing latex fat suits and telling repetitive fart jokes. A shame. The most shocking part about it is the man is still funny.  Other comic actors may resort to fat suits and gimmicks (Looking at you, Martin Lawrence), but as seen in his earlier films and even as the voice of Donkey in "Shrek," Murphy is a true comedian.  His problem is not only his lack of critical praise for his films, nor a lack of box office successes (Norbit made about $100 million - shame on you, America), he also has been known to be quite difficukt to work with.  Perhaps this is his attempt to redeem himself, in the eyes of Hollywood and the public.

I believe, Eddie Murphy may be one of the best choices in years. He is the perfect bridge between old and new Hollywood, a true fallen A-lister and a also a true entertainer.  Quite a nice combination of qualities to get at a discount price.   Sure, some people may want Billy Crystal back, but he just seems like a retread.  Murphy, unlike most hosts over the last decade has something to gain from this... perhaps more than the Oscars can gain from him.  He will have to swallow some pride to host these awards (since they did not give him his shoo-in win for Dreamgirls) and in doing so perhaps makes some steps toward a comeback.  I know, I know - he's loaded.  If you consider having money the only measure of success then you are a fool.  If all goes well with this Eddie experiment it may hit the trifecta; ratings for The Academy, some redemption for Eddie and an entertaining show for the audience.

If you believe in second-chances and redemption this may be the show for you.  I for one, cannot wait to watch them.


Joe William said...

It was very painful to watch Anne Hathoway and James Franco hosting. At least we don't have to worry this year knowing real talent is hosting, even if he has been out of the spotlight lately.

Michael P said...

Personally I cannot stand Eddie Murphy, but considering how much the last few years have bombed, it couldn't be much worse, could it?

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