Monday, May 27, 2024

Brett Ratner Oscar Ouster: Bad Timing After Gil Cates’s Death


Brett Ratner was ousted from his Oscar producer job on Tuesday. Why? He said a lot of things he shouldn’t. And unlike Mel Gibson, he was sorry for them immediately. Ratner was carried away by the adrenalin rush of the publicity for “Tower Heist.” He said homophobic and sexist things, some things that were just too coarse, and the Academy responded. Brett will be back, though. In five years, I predict he’ll get to produce the Academy Awards.

In the meantime, everyone’s learned from this. Words, as Mark Harris noted in his essay, carry consequences. In the new media world, every word is paid attention to carefully and instantly. Ratner should have learned from “Melancholia” director LarsĀ  von Trier. His crazy Hitler-Nazi comments at the Cannes Film Festival were tweeted before people left the room. They played all over the world within minutes. Again, von Trier didn’t exactly apologize. Ratner was sorry instantly, and has already worked to make amends.

This couldn’t have been an easy day him. I’m told that rapper Heavy D, who died on Tuesday, was his good friend. That’s a lot to take in. And what a shame: the Ratner-Eddie Murphy Oscars would have been entertaining. But timing is everything–and after losing beloved Oscar producer Gil Cates less than a week ago, the Academy was probably more sensitive than ever to image issues.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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