Brett Ratner's a jerk and Eddie Murphy's out of touch, but those qualities could have made their Academy Awards show interesting. It's too bad they quit.
I was looking forward to the Brett Ratner Oscars, a lot. Red Dragon is the best Hannibal Lecter film. The Family Man is not without its charms. As someone who watches a lot of Turner Classic Movies, I appreciate that Ratner's always on the network, narrating the commercial bumpers, talking about the films, the actors, the behind the set-intrigue. He really does love the history of film. He's like a doltish, less nimble Quentin Tarantino, or a Robert Evans who hasn't made any masterpieces or gone through any fires.
He's heavy on his feet as a director and a personality, as everyone knew even before his latest bout of buffoonery, a bit of a jerk. His "rehearsing is for fags" comment was obviously idiotic, but you have to wonder if he'd been looking for a way out—since he's behind the cameras, he could have weathered the controversy and stuck with the ceremony if he'd wanted to.
And I was excited about Eddie Murphy hosting. He seemed excited too! The schtick they'd been setting him up to do sounded a lot like David Letterman's in 1995: The guy who doesn't want to do anything and who doesn't know why he's there. Letterman got panned, but other than his Uma/Oprah stuff he was really, really good. But now he quit, too, which is understandable: If Murphy had stayed without Ratner, he'd have been adrift, and that apathy/sadness of his that's dominated his public persona for more than a decade would take back over.