Hello from an alternate universe! Here, Brett Ratner never uttered his infamous gay slur about rehearsing, and Eddie Murphy is still hosting the Academy Awards instead of Billy Crystal. Since, for all intents and purposes, the larger races are a foregone conclusion, people in this alternate universe are, unlike you, still excited for this weekend's show based on Eddie Murphy's unpredictability as host alone. (Though, for some unexplained reason, in this alternate universe, Jonah Hill is the sure-to-be winner for Best Supporting Actor and he sports a goatee that all women adore.) In this alternate universe, I'm still the senior writer for Moviefone and I, like most people of Earth, am very excited about an Eddie Murphy-hosted Oscars. So excited, in fact, that I wrote a list of the five things that I'm looking forward to from Eddie Murphy as host this weekend. In that alternate universe, this is what I wrote.
1. In 1988, Murphy gave a controversial and impassioned speech about the lack of Academy Award recognition for African-American actors (which you can watch here on Myspace, the most popular social networking site on the planet) -- which, at the time, totaled three Oscar wins. Since 1988, ten African-American's have won acting Oscars (and two more are favorites to win Sunday night) -- so it will definitely be interesting to find out if Murphy thinks that that things have changed, of if there's still work to be done.
2. Yes, we know who's going to going to win -- damn you, Jonah Hill and your beautiful goatee! -- but Murphy brings an X-factor that, thankfully, still makes this must see television. Let's be honest here: Murphy could say anything. He doesn't give a rat's ass what you think about him and he's certainly not trying to cement his final legacy as Oscar's host. But the last thing Murphy wants is a snoozer of a show. Whether it's done by sharp humor or by sheer controversy, Eddie Murphy is going to do something that you're going to be talking about on Monday morning. I mean, it's not like you're spending a Sunday night watching, I don't know...Cirque du Soleil.
3. Every year there are rumors that Eddie Murphy is going to return to standup. Well, this isn't technically standup, but he will get a chance to give a monologue that will be as close to standup as we're probably going to get from Murphy. Now, I wouldn't expect Murphy to channel his younger self from Raw, but this is live television so, who knows? Regardless, I can't wait to see what he does.
4. Murphy seems to almost have a disdain for Hollywood. This was evident after he left the ceremony early after losing the Best Supporting Actor award for Dreamgirls. Will Murphy play nice? Will Murphy be openly hostile? Well, no matter what, we know that Murphy won't go out of his way to be a Hollywood crowd-pleaser like, oh, someone resembling Billy Crystal would make sure to do.
5. When Jonah Hill accepts his award for Best Supporting Actor -- yawn -- Murphy will finally tell him how ridiculous he looks with that goatee. The men in the audience will roar with approval as the women in the audience jeer Murphy. So, yes, in a year this predictable and dull, boy, thank goodness someone as unpredictable as Murphy is hosting. I mean, with little awards' drama ahead on Sunday night, could you imagine if someone safe were hosting? Could you imagine?!?!
Mike Ryan is the senior writer for Moviefone. He has written for Wired Magazine, VanityFair.com, GQ.com, New York Magazine and Movieline. In the alternate universe, he likes Twilight a lot. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter