Eddie Murphy has spectacularly quit his role as the host of The Oscars in February 2011, less than 24 hours after the show's producer Brett Ratner stepped down amidst a wave of criticism following an anti-gay slur, reports the New York Times.
Murphy, who worked with Ratner on the comedy Tower Heist, appears to have been given no option but to leave the project, effectively collapsing the current plans for the Oscars. The Academy of the Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, who announced the news on Wednesday (9th November 2011) are now without a producer or host with just 3 months to the ceremony, where Steven Spielberg's 'War Horse' is expected to fare well. Mr Ratner resigned on Tuesday morning following a wave of criticism surrounding his public use of the word "fags" - he also claimed to have slept with a "very young" Lindsay Lohan while appearing on Howard Stern's radio show. Murphy was understood to be staying on as host, but appears to have changed his mind, with the president of the academy Tom Sherak saying, "I appreciate how Eddie feels about losing his creative partner, Brett Ratner, and we all wish him well.I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop"
Now the hunt is on to find a suitable replacement for Eddie in time for the February ceremony - veteran comedian Billy Crystal will be the fan's favorite, although controversial Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais would also be a popular choice.