Hell freezes over: Brett Ratner to co-produce the 84th Academy Awards

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that Brett Ratner and Don Mischer will produce the 84th Academy Awards telecast.

Hell has officially frozen over in Oscar land.

In case you were unaware, Ratner is best known for films such as “Rush Hour,” “Rush Hour 2,” “Rush Hour 3,” “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “Red Dragon” and “The Family Man.” 

Misher, who co-produced last year’s disastrous show, is somehow back for more.  Before diving into the ridiculousness of this entire announcement, some quotes from Academy President Tom Sherak, new Academy CEO Dawn Hudson, Ratner and Misher.

“I was so impressed with Brett when I met with him to discuss the Oscar show,” said Sherak.  “He has an incredible love of film and its history and is a true student of the business of movies.  He”s unbelievably creative and knows how to take risks that are both interesting and inspiring.  Together with Don Mischer – who, by the way, just earned an Emmy nomination for his work on the 83rd Academy Awards – I think these two will give us a fantastic Oscar show that you won”t want to miss.”

“I”m thrilled that Don will again bring his tremendous expertise to the Oscar telecast,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson.  “And Brett has a really smart and fresh take for the show.  They have great chemistry, and their vision meshed so well with ours.”

“Making movies has been my dream since childhood, and I”ve been fortunate enough to have made several, but the Oscar show is in a league of its own,” said Ratner.  “It will be fantastic to work with a live television master like Don to meld the glamour of legendary Hollywood with the enormous talents who thrill moviegoers today.”

“The Academy Awards are in a class by themselves, and I”m elated that the Academy has asked me to return,” said Mischer. “I hope to take the wealth of knowledge I now have about the Oscars, which is a completely unique kind of show, and work with Brett to create an evening that is fast-paced, fun, and memorable to movie fans and Oscar fans everywhere.”

Be afraid Oscar fans, be very afraid.

There are numerous reason why this Ratner/Misher collaboration is a very bad move. 

First, Misher was largely responsible for last year’s disaster of a show (he was also telecast director something he’ll do again this time around).  The idea you would bring Misher back for another go around without even trying someone else shows that literally no one wants to do it or he’s got some forgiving friends on the Board of Governors. 

Second, Ratner hasn’t made one film where he’s shown an iota of vision.  Every one of his films are middle of the road, uninspired and pegged to the lowest common denominator.   The idea of releasing a quote from Ratner that says “to meld the glamour of legendary Hollywood with the enormous talents who thrill moviegoers today.”  Laughable.  Is Misher supposed to supply the glamour?  Are Ratner’s legendary club outings his reference for the style and sophistication of Hollywood history?  He’s certainly never shown an inclination of style in his movies or TV projects. 

To anyone who truly hopes for the best for the legendary awards show, such as this pundit, this has the potential to be worse than Adam Shankman, Snow White number and James Franco’s contributions combined.  If we’re lucky, we’ll either get a show so boring we’ll have forgotten it the next morning or a show so comically bad it’s unintentionally embarrassing.  At least Shankman knew something about song and dance!

Tom Sherak was just re-elected to his second term as Academy President.  He’s overseen a bizarre flip-flop pushed by a vocal minority over the 10 nominee system, is dealing with fallout from Oprah Winfrey landing an honorary Oscar (guess Werner Herzog was unavailable) and has now agreed to this absurd choice. 

Moreover, this news just proves how hard it is for the Academy to find anyone willing to do this thankful job again or take the chance of standing in the global media’s crosshairs. 

The 84th Academy Awards will be televised Sun., Feb. 26 on ABC.

Be strong Oscar fans. Be strong.

For more entertainment commentary and Oscar musings follow Gregory Ellwood on Twitter @HitFixGregory.