The fallout from Brett Ratner stupiding himself out of the producer role for the 2012 Academy Awards is just about finished. Now, I don’t condone what Ratner said, though perhaps the Academy should have had a little more foresight into just who they were hiring to begin with (and I’m not sure it was any worse than what we would have heard coming out of Eddie Murphy’s mouth during the awards ceremony.) But while I generally feel that in this country you shouldn’t get fired — or forced to resign — from your job over something you say in an unrelated context, when you’re in the entertainment business, your job largely is about what you say. Making stupid comments is essentially being bad at the job, and if you do a bad job, there’s no room for complaint about being ousted.
With Ratner out, Eddie Murphy backed out of his role as host. It’s probably for the best; Eddie Murphy hasn’t been funny, at least not on his own recognizance, since the 80s. I had little faith in his ability to refrain himself from comedy so low-brow it’s almost no-brow. Billy Crystal may seem like a tame choice as a replacement host, given that he’s been the host 8 times before, but it’s an understandable one. He is a safe choice, and not just because the Academy knows he won’t offend anybody. They also know that he can put together a routine on short notice, and that he knows how the awards ceremony works, and will put in the effort with the rehearsals, which could have been questionable with Ratner & Murphy, given that the comment that got Ratner in trouble was “rehearsals are for fags”. Homosexual slur aside, Ratner arguably deserved ousting just for sheer obliviousness about the job he was signing up for.
I’ve got no problem with Billy Crystal hosting the Oscars again. It doesn’t excite me — certainly not as much as the internet campaign to get the Muppets to host — but at least I know that the hosting segments will be moderately entertaining.