Tower Heist director Brett Ratner's appointment as the producer of the 2012 Academy Awards stirred up much debate in Hollywood. The filmmaker's track record of critically-panned blockbusters and party-animal reputation may seem out of step with Oscar tradition, but AMPAS president Tom Sherak had hoped the Rush Hour helmer, who recruited Eddie Murphy to host the ceremony, would bring some edge to the event.
Murphy and Ratner have now departed the prestigious event following the latter's much-publicised outburst in which he described the rehearsal process as "for f*gs". Digital Spy's timeline below takes a look at the series of events that led to Murphy and Ratner's resignation from the Academy Awards.
Murphy lost out on a 'Best Supporting Actor' Oscar for Dreamgirls in 2007 and allegedly stormed out of the Kodak Theatre as Alan Arkin was going to collect his award.
October 12, 2011: Former Oscars host Hugh Jackman, who worked with Ratner on X-Men: The Last Stand, backs the Ratner/Murphy combo to succeed. He told Digital Spy: "My hat's off to Brett Ratner, who's the producer and obviously convinced him (Murphy) to do it. He's Hollywood royalty, a huge movie star and great, great comedian. It's the perfect choice."
November 4, 2011: Shrimpgate. Up-and-coming actress Olivia Munn's candid memoir Suck It, Wonder Woman!: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek recalls her relationship with a Hollywood director, describing seeing him in one encounter "in an oversized shirt holding his undersized manhood in hands glistening with shrimp fat".
Speculation quickly pointed to Ratner, who denied any food-based fetishes while appearing on Attack of the Show. "I used to date Olivia Munn, I'll be honest with everyone here," Ratner said. "But when she was 'Lisa'. She wasn't Asian back then. She was hanging out on my set of After the Sunset, I banged her a few times, but I forgot her. Because she changed her name.
"I didn't know it was the same person and so when she auditioned for me for a TV show, I forgot her, she got p*ssed off, and so she made up all these stories about me eating shrimp and masturbating in my trailer. And she talked about my shortcomings."
November 4, 2011: Taking part in a Q&A session for his new comedy Tower Heist, Ratner makes an ill-advised gay slur when quizzed about rehearsing with his actors. "Rehearsal? What's that? Rehearsal's for f*gs," he responded. "Rehearsal. Not much. A lot of prep, preparation, complex action sequences, visual effects." The director is quickly condemned by GLAAD.
November 7, 2011: Ratner apologises for his comments, saying: "It was a dumb and outdated way of expressing myself. Everyone who knows me knows that I don't have a prejudiced bone in my body. As a storyteller I should have been much more thoughtful about the power of language and my choice of words."
AMPAS president Tom Sherak backs Ratner in a statement released to Deadline, but chastises him for "dumb and insensitive" remarks.
"He apologised and we will move forward," Sherak said. "How do I know this? I've known this man for a very long time. He has many friends who are members of the gay and lesbian community. The apology he gave I truly believe comes from his heart. If I didn't believe it, I would do something about it."
November 7, 2011: The same morning as his apology, Ratner appears on Howard Stern's Sirius XM Radio show and reveals explicit details about his private life.
Ratner claimed to have had a relationship with a "really young" Lindsay Lohan
The director denied sex with Olivia Munn, adding: "I should have said, 'I don't eat shrimp. When I jerk off, I don't eat shrimp'."
Discussing oral sex, he commented: "I'm probably the best in the world at it."
The director revealed that he sends women to his doctor before he sleeps with them to be checked for sexually-transmitted diseases
"I'm now the producer of the Oscars, so I really can't talk about all the sex I got when I was young," the director told Stern during the interview.
November 8: Ratner announces his resignation as producer of the 2012 Academy Awards ceremony following the recent controversies. "Being asked to help put on the Oscar show was the proudest moment of my career," he said. "But as painful as this may be for me, it would be worse if my association with the show were to be a distraction from the Academy and the high ideals it represents."
"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," Murphy said in an official statement.
"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."
Were Eddie Murphy and Brett Ratner right to step down from the Oscars? Leave your comments below!