Eddie Murphy has been named host of the 2012 Oscars.
After weeks of rumours it was announced the actor, star of Beverly Hills Cop, Bowfinger – and the voice of Donkey in the Shrek series – will present the 84th Academy Awards on February 26.
He’ll follow in the footsteps of comedians such as Billy Crystal, Steve Martin and Jon Stewart in the most prestigious presenting job of them all.
It may not come as too much of a surprise that Murphy has been named host. The 50-year-old stars alongside Ben Stiller and Matthew Broderick in forthcoming crime comedy Tower Heist, directed by Brett Ratner. Ratner is also producing next year’s Oscar ceremony.
In his statement, Ratner, director of Rush Hour and X-Men: The Last Stand, said:
Eddie is 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 onstage – I know he will bring an excitement, spontaneity and tremendous heart to the show Don [co-producer Mischer] and I want to produce in February.
Earlier this year Ricky Gervais revealed he had been approached to present the awards for the first time following on from his headline-grabbing performances at the Golden Globes in 2009 and 2010. Academy Award bosses have since denied they made such an offer.
Brooklyn-born Murphy rose to fame as a stand-up comedian, eventually becoming a Saturday Night Live regular between 1980 and 1984.
Films such as 48 Hrs, Beverly Hills Cop and Trading Places saw him become one of the most bankable actors at the Box Office, although his career dipped during the late-80s and early-90s after a string of unsuccessful films.
The Nutty Professor reversed the slump, while Shrek in 2001 gave the actor a second lease of life and new fanbase. He was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 2007 Oscars for his role as James ‘Thunder’ Early in Dreamgirls.