What a wild idea: Eddie Murphy as Oscar host. On the bright side, it's a relief from James Franco and Anne Hathaway, whose chemistry last February rivaled that of a sasquatch and Kathie Lee Gifford.
For this year's ceremony producer, Brett Ratner, Murphy is a means to resuscitate the flagging awards show, a risk not unlike a Rush Hour karate stunt: It's crazy and hysterically funny, but in the end, is Murphy going to get kicked in the nuts?
If Academy members thought Chris Rock was blue — get ready for his mentor. Sean Penn, who was irritated by the 2005 host's jabs at Jude Law, can go ahead and book his Haitian retreat for Feb. 26, because the Oscars are about to get Delirious.
Even worse, Murphy, who came to fame as a notorious adult comic, hasn't performed stand-up since Ronald Reagan was in office. So in case he gets confused on where to draw the line, we devised a list of Do Nots for him:
10. Singing the Best Song Nominees
Any chance Murphy gets to croon, he'll take it. It doesn't matter if it's a corny '80s pop wannabe like his one-off “Party All the Time” or an unusual duet with Michael Jackson (as in in the '90s music video “What's Up With You?” above). Despite Murphy's soul, not every song is cut out for his throat. And with the Academy's inclination toward Disney princess ballads and global tracks like 2004 winner “Al Otro lado del rio” (from The Motorcycle Diaries), any attempt by Murphy to sing the best song nominees would surely frighten cats in the Hollywood and Highland area.
9.Joe Piscopo cameos
Piscopo's prescence alongside Murphy (see their Stevie Wonder and Frank Sinatra routine from Saturday Night Live, above) would only confuse those industry players at the Kodak. Few remember Piscopo as a SNL legend while others mistake him for their former body trainer after his whole beefcake phase. Should Murphy and Piscopo perform the best song nominees respectively as Wonder and Sinatra, expect more people to flee the Kodak than when Eliza Kazan was controversially lauded.
8. Playing dress-up like Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg broke the ice with her Queen Elizabeth get-up at the 1999 ceremony, but Murphy's costumes would simply offend: A Nutty Professor fat suit is juvenile and dressing up as Viola Davis from The Help (should she be nominated, which she will be) is just downright wrong.
7. Having Donkey from Shrek announce the Best Animated Films Category
Enough already. Put this animal out to pasture, he's overstayed his welcome at every awards ceremony.
6. Making Gay and Lesbian jokes
Do we really need to say this? Yes, because we don't know how raunchy Murphy is going to get. (Above, Murphy crosses the line with homophobic jokes in 1983's concert film Delirious.) Go down this path, Eddie, and you'll be in Mel Gibson movie jail, making films like The Beaver, about deranged men with stuffed puppets on their hands.
5. Roman Polanski jokes and impersonations
Murphy is renowned for his crude celebrity imitiations from Mr. T to Desi Arnaz, so if he happens to be working on a Roman Polanski impersonation for the show, he should just toss it. The French-Polish director is a revered tragic hero to Academy members and could be a contender again this year with his film Carnage (above). Much like the Vietnam War was taboo material for stand-ups in the '70s, so is Polanski now. This rule also extends to Murphy recreating his James Brown Celebrity Hot Tub Party skit onstage with Piscopo portraying Polanski.
4. Adapting “Ice Cream Man” into a full fledged Oscar song and dance routine.
See Murphy's famous “Ice Cream Man” ditty from Delirious in the video above. Murphy will only alienate Hollywood should he decide to wave the Oscar trophies in front of the losing nominees and sing “You don't got no Oscars. You didn't get none, you didn't get none, you can't afford it, because you're an alcoholic.”
3. Wearing tacky leather jumpsuits
Like Murphy's X-rated jokes, these get-ups are also passe in the 21st century. In fact, the Kodak Theater has a policy forbidding all leather suit-clad hosts from appearing onstage.
2. His Trading Places Cameroon exchange student presents the award for Best Foreign Language film.
Again, it's gonna be hard for Murphy to be Murphy at the Oscars. What alter ego does he possess in his mental dramatis personae that isn't going to insult this button-down crowd? How hysterical would it be if Murphy's Cameroon guy (see video) handed out the award for a somber German drama? Forget it. As Jerry Seinfeld proved with his candid crack at the documentary category, there's no comedic justice in the room.
1. The Klumps present every single award
In his mission to revolutionize the Oscarcast, Ratner decides that A-list actors and actresses won't be presenting the awards this year — rather, Murphy's Klumps characters will be. This outrages divas like Julia Roberts and Halle Berry who assume Murphy's notorious ego is wrecking havoc on the show, rendering him unable to work in this town again.