Following a report by Deadline over the weekend that Oscars producer Brett Ratner was in talks with Eddie Murphy, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences officially announced this afternoon that the actor/comedian will host the Academy Awards telecast, which airs Feb. 26 on ABC.
The selection of Murphy, who was nominated for an Oscar in 2007 for Dreamgirls, is being viewed as a return to the comedic roots for the awards show after a disastrous turn as co-hosts by James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Over the decades comedians ranging from Will Rogers and Bob Hope to Jerry Lewis and Chevy Chase to Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal have hosted the ceremony.
While this is Murphy’s first stint as host, 24 Frames notes his selection isn’t a big surprise, as he’s starring in Tower Heist, the upcoming comedy directed by Ratner, who’s producing the Oscars with Don Mischer.
“Eddie is a comedic genius, one of the greatest and most influential live performers ever,” Ratner said in a statement. “With his love of movies, history of crafting unforgettable characters and his iconic performances – especially on stage – I know he will bring excitement, spontaneity and tremendous heart to the show Don and I want to produce in February.”