Eddie Murphy to host Oscars and I'm not delirious about it

Photo: Eddie Murphy in a scene from the 2008 film. "Meet Dave." Credit: 20th Century Fox It’s hard to get excited about Tuesday’s news that Eddie Murphy will host the 2012 Academy Awards, because — how do I put this as respectfully as possible? — his last three live-action movies have been embarrassingly schlocky stinkers. Maybe Oscar producer Brett Ratner thinks he has an ace up his sleeve. Or maybe he just likes hiring his pals; Murphy is, after all, the star of Ratner’s upcoming thriller, “Tower Heist.”

It’s hard to think of a comedian with a career that is more in eclipse than Murphy. After a meteoric rise to stardom, first on “Saturday Night Live,” then in a string of hit films including “48 Hrs.,” “Coming to America,” “Beverly Hills Cop” and “The Nutty Professor,” Murphy has aimed low, and even then often missed, be it with lightweight hits like “Daddy Day Care” or with disasters like “The Adventures of Pluto Nash.”

Murphy has now made three consecutive critical duds: 2007’s “Norbit,” which was a commercial hit but was greeted with derisive reviews, then “Meet Dave” in 2008 and “Imagine That” in 2009, both losers at the box office. Murphy has another film, “A Thousand Words,” which was filmed in summer 2008 but was such a troubled production that it has sat for years; it will finally see a release early in 2012. All he’s had going for him is the animated “Shrek” franchise, where he voices the role of a motor-mouthed donkey.

It’s great to have an African American Oscar host again — the last was in 2005, when Chris Rock tried to bring a little

Academy Awards Patrick Goldstein
09/06/2011 17:40

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