So... does this mean that Chris Tucker will be hosting? On Thursday, it was announced that Brett Ratner will be producing the 84th Academy Awards. This announcement was met with, let's just say, overwhelming mass disapproval -- judging from my Twitter feed, the only selection that could have been less popular would be John Boehner. You see, Ratner, fair or not, has established himself as the prototypical poster boy for the Typical Hollywood Movie. And Ratner's image as an outspoken party boy (who's not afraid to Tweet – IN ALL CAPS -- at unassuming movie writers at 3:45 a.m. when he's not pleased) hasn't necessarily endeared him to your average cinephile. But, when you look at the mess that the Oscars has become, Ratner may actually (gasp!) be the perfect guy for the job.
Look, I know what you're afraid of. You can picture it now: Best Picture is about to be announced and, instead of Hollywood Legend gliding up to reveal the winner, two Lamborghinis race on stage, crash, explode -- then Kelsey Grammer in full Beast makeup from 'X-Men: The Last Stand' hands the Oscar to Ratner for 'Tower Heist.' This (probably) won't happen. (O.K., I can't tell you for sure that won't happen, but the odds of this are at least moderately low. Fifteen percent chance, tops.)
Reading through all of the jabs at Ratner on Twitter (and, yes, some are pretty funny), I'm just not sure what show people are defending. Did everyone forget what we all just witnessed in February? A show that was regarded as the worst Academy Awards telecast in history? Seriously, at this point, why not let John Boehner produce the show if it ensured that we wouldn't see a repeat of what we saw this year? Ratner's first act as producer should be to send James Franco a nice cheese platter in appreciation for leaving Ratner with absolutely no expectations.
I love the Academy Awards. I love the history of the Academy Awards. And I love it when the Academy Awards take a risk. Sure, this doesn't always work out: David Letterman hosting in 1995 was a risk -- and it was a much better show than you remember (Letterman's own self-deprecation is mostly responsible for the legacy of the show being labeled a failure; trust me, Ratner will not have this problem.) What wasn't a risk: tapping Anne Hathaway and a very uninterested James Franco as co-hosts. Brett Ratner is a risk, but it's a risk worth taking. I mean, what's the worst thing he could do? Pick two hosts who hate each other? Produce a show that has absolutely zero surprises? Oh, yeah, we just saw that in February. If two Lamborghinis actually did race on stage and explode, it would still be a huge upgrade from what we saw this year.
"I think it's time that the industry embraced the Academy Awards, came out and supported it," Ratner told The Hollywood Reporter shortly after Thursday's announcement. He continued, "I hope to create something that's so exciting that I'm not going to have to twist people's arms. Without having to beg them, they'll want to be involved." You know what? He's right! The Academy Awards could use a little excitement!
The Academy Awards have been desperate to plug new life into an awards show that has been running on fumes. Look, say what you want about Brett Ratner, but no one has ever accused him of being boring. 'X-Men: The Last Stand' was cluttered and over-produced (and before you Tweet at me again, Brett, I will add that it's also the highest grossing 'X-Men' film) compared to the more nuanced Bryan Singer installments, but it wasn't boring. And, you know what? When it comes to the Academy Awards, f*ck nuance -- I just want to be able to stay awake. And I can assure you, no matter how the telecast turns out, Brett Ratner will ensure that you'll be awake at the end -- and, on its own, that's already a huge improvement.
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