Brett Ratner is about to get as close to the Academy Awards as he is ever likely to get. The director of the Rush Hour movies and the upcoming Ben Stiller–Eddie Murphy comedy Tower Heist has been hired to co-produce the 2012 Oscar telecast with long time Academy protege Don Mischer.
To say that Brett Ratner was an unlikely choice would be an understatement; the Los Angeles Times headline on the announcement says it all: “Brett Ratner to Produce the Oscars (Really?).” For his part, Ratner has been quite humble about receiving the producing assignment from the Academy. Again from the LA Times, Ratner said the following:
“One of my dreams was just to be a member of the Academy. I was shocked they let me in after ‘Rush Hour.’“
Brett Ratner has a huge job ahead of him as the new Oscars producer. The 2011 telecast was roundly ridiculed by critics who pointed to the Academy’s decision to get young with hosts Ann Hathaway and James Franco as a disasterous choice. Hathaway was game and upbeat but Franco appeared not to be fully invested in the event; to put it mildly.
By hiring Brett Ratner the Academy is once again chasing younger viewers. On the other hand, the hiring buys the Academy insurance against another bad broadcast. Consider this, if Ratner succeeds, the Academy is hailed for its brilliant choice. If Ratner goes down in flames, the Academy has the kind of a built in scapegoat that they did not have this year.
My conspiracy theories aside, while many critics rage against the choice of Brett Ratner, Movie City News-man David Poland was particularly hard on the choice of Ratner, I’m keeping an open mind though. For all of his bad movies Ratner has rarely been boring. Brett Ratner‘s Academy Awards may end up being a train-wreck but it will be a memorable, fun to watch train-wreck.
The 84th annual Academy Awards air on ABC Sunday, February 26th 2012.