Eddie Murphy to host 2012 Oscars

Veteran Hollywood comedy star Eddie Murphy is to host the Oscars awards show next year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Tuesday.

It will be the first time the standup comic turned actor - famous for films from "Beverly Hills Cop" in the 1980s to "Shrek" in which he does the voice of Donkey - has hosted the Oscars, the climax of Hollywood's awards season.

"Eddie is a comedic genius, one of the greatest and most influential live performers ever," said telecast co-producer Brett Ratner, who will put on the February 26 show with Don Mischer.

"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," he added.

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

Murphy, who gained fame on TV show Saturday Night Live in the early 1980s before breaking onto the big screen, said he was looking forward to the gig.

"I am enormously honored to join the great list of past Academy Award hosts from (Bob) Hope and (Johnny) Carson to (Billy) Crystal, (Steve) Martin and (Whoopi) Goldberg, among others," he said.

"I'm looking forward to working with Brett and Don on creating a show that is enjoyable for both the fans at home and for the audience at the Kodak Theatre" in Hollywood, he added.

The Oscars organizers will likely hope Murphy gets a better reception than this year's co-hosts, Anne Hathaway and James Franco. The latter was notably criticized for a wooden performance in February.

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