So let's get this out of the way right up front: Yesterday the Academy announced that Brett Ratner and Don Mischer will be producing the next Academy Awards telecast. Mischer is a veteran of these big fancy awards shows, so that's not a surprise, but folks did a double take when they saw Brett Ratner's name. Brett Ratner even did a double take when they asked him to produce, as he thought he was being kicked out of the Academy when Tom Sherak called him in for a meeting. Ratner told Deadline, "I thought my maid had started bootlegging my Academy DVDs and I would be escorted out of the building and asked to relinquish my Academy cards."
Ultimately it was that sense of humor that won him the job, with the Academy bringing him on because they wanted more humor, as he confessed to the LA Times, "They said: 'You love comedy. You love to laugh, and we want to bring entertainment value and comedy to this show. I'm a laugher and a lover of comedy. That is what's going to make the show work." Ratner admitted that he asked the Academy for every single Oscar telecast while deciding on whether to take the gig, pouring through the footage, brainstorming ideas.
While fanboys will forever hate Brett Ratner for ruining X-Men: The Last Stand and churning out crappy Rush Hour movies, the fact is that Ratner knows his film history. He has a ridiculous amount of passion for show business, and knows how to deliver comfortable relatable humor for a mass audience. Whether that will translate to a new kind of Oscars telecast, we don't know. We imagine Ratner will come at them with a ton of ideas, and after last year's debacle with poor hosting choices, the Academy will probably have to take some risks this time out.
That's the problem with the telecast right now. They pretend to take these risks behind the scenes -- by asking James Franco and Anne Hathaway to host, or Brett Ratner to produce -- but when it comes to the actual show, they freak and continue to play it safe like they always do. This time they can't afford to play it safe. They'll need to go with a few of the bizarre ideas Ratner is about to throw their way.
And for Ratner, this is really a win/win. If he fails to light an entertaining fire under this show, then the same old "Ratner is a hack" jokes continue, while he goes on to keep directing movies that make money at the box office. And if he succeeds by surprising the audience with a fun, lively show that tries different things and takes chances, then Brett Ratner will be Hollywood's "Chosen One" and it may open the door to a much larger (and more appreciative) fanbase.
So go for it Brett! Bust your ass on this. We look forward to the outcome.