Eddie Murphy to host next Oscars

Funnyman Eddie Murphy follows last year's Oscar co-hosting team of Anne Hathaway and James Franco.

Los Angeles (CNN) — Comedian Eddie Murphy will host the Oscars next February, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday.

Brett Ratner, who will produce the 84th Academy Awards show along with Don Mischer, called Murphy “a comedic genius, one of the greatest and most influential live performers ever.”

“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,” Ratner said.

Critics panned the co-hosting team of Anne Hathaway and James Franco after last February’s awards show, putting pressure on producers to hire a host who will stir positive buzz and draw viewers.

“Eddie is a truly ground-breaking performer, whose amazingly diverse array of roles has won him a devoted audience of all ages,” Mischer said. “His quick wit and charisma will serve him very well as Oscar host.”

Murphy was nominated for best supporting actor in 2006 for his supporting role in “Dreamgirls.”

“I am enormously honored to join the great list of past Academy Award hosts from Hope and Carson to Crystal, Martin and Goldberg, among others,” said Murphy, referring to previous hosts and show-business legends Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin and Whoopi Goldberg.

Murphy, who started his stand-up comedy career at 15, was 19 when he became the youngest cast member on TV’s “Saturday Night Live” in 1980.

His feature film debut came in 1982’s “48 Hrs.” and was followed by “Beverly Hills Cop” and the “The Nutty Professor” and “Shrek” franchises. Murphy’s movies have earned in excess of $7 billion at box offices worldwide, according to the Academy’s news release.

The show will be televised live in more than 200 countries from Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre on Sunday, February 26, 2012.

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