The Oscars go KABOOM no more
It’s been a rough week for Brett Ratner. First Olivia Munn outs him as the pervy director who jacked off in front of her while holding a shrimp, then he admitted to banging Munn, but not the shrimp/jacking off part, then Tower Heist was a disappointment, then he went on Howard Stern and apologized for making Munn sound like a tart but proceeded to share off-color remarks about his sex life. And then things got really, really bad when Ratner appeared at a Q&A after a screening of Tower Heist over the weekend. There Ratner uttered the line, “Rehearsal is for f*gs” and the uproar was loud and angry. Many were calling for Ratner’s head, demanding he step down from his position as co-producer of the 2012 Oscars. Well everyone got their wish. Though the Academy initially stood by Ratner, the disgust directed at him was too strong and on Tuesday Ratner announced he was stepping down as producer, which is a nice, face-saving way of saying he got sacked.
In a perverse way, I was looking forward to Ratner’s inevitably awful, insane take on the Oscars. However, his behavior in the last few days has been so far beyond crass and unacceptable that there was no other alternative. He had to go. Ratner was not the right choice for
anything producing the Oscars in the first place, and these past few days have just shown everyone why. As much as we make fun of the Oscars around here, they aren’t a frat party. The kind of juvenile, malicious thinking that Ratner has displayed is in no way appropriate for the Academy. I was shocked that Academy president Tom Sherak bothered defending Ratner at all in the first place. It’s unknown as of right now where Eddie Murphy, who Ratner brought on to host the telecast, stands, and whether or not he’ll still host (I think he will).
Ratner’s comment was obnoxious because really, who says that? It’s offensive, it’s rude, it’s reductive, and it’s outright insulting to former Oscar showrunners like Bill Condon, Bruce Cohen and Adam Shankman, all of whom are openly gay. Tossing around that word is like spitting in their faces, and in the faces of anyone who’s faced down that word and the kind of ignorant jack*ss that uses it. Ratner has always been a crude, arrogant dolt and now he’s revealed himself to be a genuine, unredeemable asshole. He says he’s going to work with GLAAD to make amends, to turn this into an educational opportunity. Brett Ratner is forty-two years old. Shouldn’t he have been educated by now?
The reason the decision to hire Ratner as an Oscar producer was so dumbfounding was not so much that he's a sh*tty filmmaker but that he's out of touch with current tastes and trends. I called the Academy's decision "tone deaf" because that's what it was--ignorant to contemporary feeling. Ratner's whole persona is that of an overgrown, over-indulged frat boy douche and the kind of intolerance that comes with that is not as acceptable these days (sadly, it used to be--Ratner got famous directing Rush Hour, racisty action comedies). The saddest thing for Ratner isn't that he lost the Oscar gig. It's that he's over and doesn't even know it.