The Oscars are starting from scratch. Following the heels of Brett Ratner's ouster as producer, The New York Times is reporting that Eddie Murphy has dropped out as host of the Oscars telecast. "The hasty departures represented an embarrassing collapse of the Academy’s plans for the Oscar presentation and left it with just over three months to fill key roles for one of the most elaborately staged television shows of the year," reports The Times' Michael Cieply. The news shouldn't come as a surprise to New York's Vulture blog who predicted the drop out, albeit in inside-Hollywood terms, this morning:

One well-placed Academy member intimately familiar with the Oscar telecast explains to Vulture that the odds of Murphy remaining as host have now dropped to even money, because now he can step down with minimal PR damage: “It’s like when Mike Nichols asks Meryl Streep to do a movie, and then suddenly, Mike Nichols is not doing the movie anymore," says our source. "There’s no reflection on her if she then steps away from the project. But [Murphy] would have to do it fast, before a new producer is named. Otherwise, that’s just, well ... that’s just shitty.”

In Hollywood currency, apparently Murphy's departure is just as bad as Meryl Streep turning down a non-Mike Nichols Mike Nichols movie.