Eddie Murphy Out as Oscars Host

Eddie Murphy will not be hosting the Academy Awards next year.

The comedian backed out of the hosting job on Wednesday, a day after his friend Brett Ratner resigned as producer of the grandest awards show in Hollywood. The Academy confirmed Murphy’s resignation and also announced that Brian Grazer of “A Beautiful Mind” will take over as producer. Grazer, who is co-founder of Imagine Entertainment, has also been given a freehand to pick Murphy’s replacement.

The drama surrounding the Oscars preparation stemmed from Ratner’s alleged use of a gay slur during a weekend screening for his new film, “Tower Heist,” which also stars Murphy. According to reports, Ratner was quoted as telling the press that “rehearsing is for fags” when asked whether he rehearses before shooting scenes. The comment earned a maelstrom of criticism from academy members, forcing Ratner to step down.

Murphy said that he understands the recent development although he was really looking forward to hosting the awards. “I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I’m sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job,” he said in a statement.

The Academy Awards will take place on the final Sunday of February next year.