Eryl’s Angle: Oscar, Meet Eddie

Written by Eryl McCaffrey September 12, 2011

Imagine that. It’s just been officially confirmed that Eddie Murphy will be hosting the 84th Academy Awards this February. The stellar star of such films as “Norbit,” “Meet Dave,” and “The Haunted Mansion,” will emcee the ceremony for the first time. Sarcasm aside, I can sort of see how this might work. I mean, after the lackluster hosting performances that Anne Hathaway and James Franco gave last year, Larry the Cable Guy could be doing the deed this year and audiences everywhere would be ecstatic.

 Murphy has been out of the A-list spotlight for some time, focusing more on kid-friendly craptastic films such as “Daddy Day Care” and “Imagine That.” But, I think that’s part of the appeal for Eddie. He’s probably thinking that if you’re face down in the dirt in your career, Oscar will surely pull you out of it. I’m sure that’s true….to some extent. He has the acting chops somewhere. He was nominated at the golden guy awards in 2006 for his role in “Dreamgirls,” and he has done some substantially hilarious SNL performances in the past. However, we haven’t seen Murphy in a truly funny role in many years, and let’s face it the uptight awards need a little laughter here and there.

The 50 year-old could very well blow all past Oscar hosting performances out of the water. I hope that happens. If the opening act has him donning the Steve Urkel-esque get-up he wore in “Bowfinger,” I’d be very pleased.  Heck if all he does is go off the script a little here and there, rather than looking at the teleprompter like a flesh-hungry zombie (thank you Franco), I’d be pleased. I really want him to do well this year, and I have a sneaking suspicion he will surprise all of us skeptics. If you can’t remember how comically genius this guy is, check out his performance as Mr. Robinson in Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood on SNL back in 1983. If you ever watched Mr. Rogers growing up, you’ll never look at that yellow cardigan, sneakers and pedophilic smirk again the same way.

For all those die-hard Billy Crystal fans, he will apparently be involved in the Academy Awards this year in some capacity. Whether that will be by way of presenting an award or sweeping the stage floor post-ceremony, I don’t know. What I do know is that Murphy has big shoes to fill, gracing the same stage that Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Whoopi Goldberg and Hugh Jackman once did.  His upcoming film “Tower Heist” should certainly see the effects of his new role as host. If he’s keeping that in mind, I’m sure he’ll truly pull out all of the stops at this year’s Academy Awards.

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