Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Host Watch: Eddie Murphy is selected (updated)

Host Watch 2011 began this summer with rumors swirling around an Oprah-hosted Oscars. They were only rumors after all.

And Tuesday, with 173 days until Oscar Sunday, the Academy has chosen its host for the 84th Academy Awards: Eddie Murphy.

UPDATE: Murphy has withdrawn as host. Read the full story.

Telecast producers Brett Ratner and Don Mischer selected the host and Academy President Tom Sherak approved the decision after Murphy agreed to host. This will be Murphy's first hosting stint on the Oscars.

"I am enormously honored to join the great list of past Academy Award hosts from Hope and Carson to Crystal, Martin and Goldberg, among others," Murphy was quoted in the press release.

Murphy, who has been a stand-up comedian since the age of 15, earned an Oscar nomination in 2006 for his supporting role in "Dreamgirls."

In 1980, at 19, he joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live," becoming the show's youngest cast member to that point. His 1983 album, "Eddie Murphy: Comedian," won a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording. Murphy made his feature film debut in 1982 with the classic "48 Hrs." and would go on to star in such box-office hits as "Beverly Hills Cop" and the "The Nutty Professor" and "Shrek" franchises.

Oscars producer Ratner directed Murphy in "Tower Heist," out in theaters Nov. 4.

Murphy is the third black comedian to host the show. Chris Rock hosted the 77th Academy Awards in 2004. Whoopi Goldberg has hosted four times, with 2001 being her most recent.

The 84th Academy Awards will air on ABC Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012. The Gold Knight will, of course, be covering all angles — from the film festivals to the red carpet. Follow all the news here, on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

Breaking the story
Nikki Finke, for the fourth year in a row, scooped the story about an Oscars host. Over the Labor Day weekend she reported Murphy was in talks to host.

"I’ve learned that Ratner will offer one name to Academy President Tom Sherak: Eddie Murphy," Finke reported Saturday evening on her website, saying the meeting would take place on Tuesday.

Finke then confirmed the story Tuesday morning at 10:47 a.m. PT, saying Murphy agreed to host the Oscars.

And the Academy confirmed the news at 11:55 a.m. PT. "IT’S OFFICIAL! #EddieMurphy will host the 84th #Oscars on Feb 26, 2012!" the Academy tweeted, along with sending out a press release.

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