Ever since last year's experimental hosting gig pitted a hyper Anne Hathaway against a lackadaisical James Franco, with results that were mixed if not downright horrendous, movie fans have wondered who would be brave enough — or crazy, or desperate — to take a stab at hosting the next Oscars ceremony. Today, the votes are in, and the winner is… Eddie Murphy.

Rush Hour director Brett Ratner was announced as co-producer early last month, replacing last year's Bruce Cohen in what has become the most high-profile revolving door in Hollywood as the Academy clamors to stay relevant to young viewers in the age of Facebook and Twitter. Ratner's announcement today was largely unexpected, though not surprising, given the fact that his first feature film to be released in the past four years, Tower Heist, features Murphy as an ex-con consultant to a motley crew of thieves led by Ben Stiller. Some had speculated that Ratner would choose Stiller for the gig, but he went with Murphy, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his work in 2007's Dreamgirls but lost to Little Miss Sunshine's Alan Arkin.

Ratner intends to bring quality comedy to the forefront of the hosting gig, he told Entertainment Weekly last month, and choosing veteran comedian Murphy as the host certainly falls in line with that plan. "Eddie is a comedic genius, one of the greatest and most influential live performers ever," Ratner said in a statement Tuesday. "With his love of movies, history of crafting unforgettable characters and his iconic performances — especially onstage — I know he will bring an excitement, spontaneity and tremendous heart to the show [co-producer] Don [Mischer] and I want to produce in February."

The 84th Academy Awards which will air live on ABC on February 26.

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