Eddie Murphy Quits The Oscars

Less than 24 hours after Brett Ratner stepped down as Oscar producer amid controversy surrounding a recent anti-gay slur he made, Eddie Murphy has followed suit

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Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Actor Eddie Murphy arrives for the premiere of the film "Tower Heist" in New York on October 24, 2011.

Looks like we will never know whether Eddie Murphy had any of that old stand-up comedy magic left. Less than 24 hours after Brett Ratner — who directed Murphy in the recently released movie Tower Heistresigned as producer of the 2012 Academy Awards amid widespread complaints about his recent use of an anti-gay slur, Murphy has followed him out the door (or rather, off the stage). According to the Hollywood Reporter, Murphy offered this explanation:

First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party’s decision with regard to a change of producers for this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I’m sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job.

Murphy’s resignation was suspected last night, as he has recently referred to himself as a “semi-retired gentleman of leisure” and said that he will only engage in projects that he personally wants to do. He and Ratner are friends, and their involvement in the Oscars has been largely characterized as an informal two-for-one deal.

The Oscars air February 26 on ABC.  That means Academy has three months to find a replacement producer and host.

Who would you pick as the new Oscar host? An old favorite (Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg), a new favorite (Neil Patrick Harris) or someone completely unexpected? Let us know in the comments below.

(LIST: The Top 10 Worst Award Show Hosts)