When the 84th annual Oscar awards air live on ABC come Feb. 27, 2012, there’s a good chance that iconic comedian Eddie Murphy will be hosting the show. That’s the news coming from Deadline‘s Nikki Finke, who’s reporting Murphy’s name is at the top of the list. “I’m told that a lot of big names have approached the other 84th Academy Awards producer Don Mischer saying they are interested in hosting, and Don is fielding those calls,” Finke writes. “But insiders tell me that [Brett] Ratner since getting the Academy Awards producing gig has only been talking to one person: Eddie.”
For the better part of the the previous decade (or longer), comedy and film fans have been critical of Murphy’s artistic decisions, siting bad movie after bad movie on his filmography. Most recently, the veteran comedic actor signed on to voice the titular role in a movie version of Hong Kong Phooey, a Hanna-Barbera cartoon that ran for only one season in 1974. Before that questionable decision, however, Comedy Central honored Murphy with the Icon award at the network’s Comedy Awards in April. Murphy also has a pair of promising projects. The first, Tower Heist — an ensemble comedy starring Ben Stiller and opening Nov. 4, is getting good buzz, based mainly on this trailer — and the dramedy A Thousand Words, starring Allison Janney, which is set for release Jan. 12, 2012.
It’s a good time for Murphy to snag the high-profile gig– not just because his starring roles in the aforementioned films, but also because last year’s hosts, actors James Franco and Anne Hathaway received, at the very best, lukewarm reviews for their performances. Murphy would have to do little else than be himself to garner a better reception.