Brian Grazer accepts Oscar producing gig

Now the search for a replacement host begins

Brian Grazer has accepted the job as replacement Oscar producer, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday, ending a days-long run of turmoil that saw the resignations of both producer Brett Ratner and host Eddie Murphy.

Though it was suggested that Grazer — who’s worked extensively with Murphy — could try to lure him back, Variety has learned that the comedian essentially quit alongside Ratner, and that both sides have moved on. That means Grazer is on the lookout for a new host, a process that could take several days, as he and new Academy topper Dawn Hudson met for the first time late Wednesday evening and had yet to assemble a wishlist.

Ratner resigned Tuesday night over his comments from the Friday before, when he told the crowd at a post-“Tower Heist” screening Q&A that “rehearsing is for fags.” Murphy, who’s close to Ratner and only considered the job because of his creative partner’s involvelment, officially tendered his resignation early Wednesday.

Reports surfaced soon after that Grazer was AMPAS prexy’s top choice, who made it official a matter of hours later.

“Brian Grazer is a renowned filmmaker who over the past 25 years has produced a diverse and extraordinary body of work,” AMPAS prexy Tom Sherak said in a statement. “He will certainly bring his tremendous talent, creativity and relationships to the Oscars.”

Though it’s tempting to perceive disarray in the Academy ranks, the Oscars planning process is roughly two weeks ahead of schedule, insiders say — with telecast vet Don Mischer already putting much of the template into place. The portion of the show that Grazer will actually influence — something less than 40 minutes total — will have plenty of time to come together once the host is named and writers are hired.

Grazer could very well have a dog in the Oscar hunt, too, with “J. Edgar,” which opens Wednesday in limited release. Besides “Tower Heist,” Grazer’s most recent films include “The Dilemma,” “Cowboys and Aliens,” and Gus van Sant’s “Restless,” none of which performed all that well at the box office.

Grazer, who won the Oscar for producing “A Beautiful Mind” in 2001, joins Mischer, who was already set to co-produce with Ratner.

— Josh L. Dickey contributed to this story.

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