You can breathe easy now: Billy Crystal will host the Oscars in February 2012.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed that the veteran, much beloved comedian — who has hosted the Oscars eight times — would host again next year, replacing Eddie Murphy, who withdrew from the job on Wednesday.
Crystal was hired by the new producer for the telecast, Brian Grazer, on Thursday, an individual close to the process said.
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Crystal set off a flurry of viral news-sharing with a tweet: "Am doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions. Looking forward to the show."
Just an hour or so earlier, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Tom Sherak, told TheWrap that he thought Crystal would make a great host.
Asked if the 63-year-old comedian Crystal was too old for the job, Sherak said he wasn't: “Bob Hope did the Oscars into his sixties.”
Crystal steps into a familiar role in the wake of the Oscar public relations mess of the past two days.
Director Brett Ratner resigned as producer of the telecast after making a homophobic slur and making raunchy public remarks on the Howard Stern show. Ratner's choice as host, Eddie Murphy, quickly followed to the exit door Wednesday.
The academy quickly moved to clean up the mess, hiring veteran producer Brian Grazer to produce the show Tuesday. Grazer hired Crystal.
The eight-time host has played hard-to-get since his first couple of appearances on the show; the last two times he agreed to host were at the behest of insistent power producers: Joe Roth in 2004, and Richard and Lili Fini Zanuck in 2000.
Crystal is especially known for his elaborate and usually hilarious opening set pieces of the Oscar show, in which he inserts himself into scenes from the nominated movies.
Here he is, zapping himself into "Lord of the Rings" and other films at the 2004 Oscars:
Crystal's history as an Oscar host dates back to 1990, when he assumed the job in the aftermath of the disastrous no-host show produced by Allan Carr. The comic was an immediate hit as host, and over the next four years his stint on the show included such classic moments as his entrance onstage in a Hannibal Lecter mask, and his running jokes after Jack Palance celebrated his Supporting Actor win by doing one-armed pushups.
After those four consecutive shows, Crystal took a three-year break from the Oscars, before returning for the shows in 1997 and 1998. It was at the first of those shows that he began the tradition of inserting himself into clips from the year's biggest and most-honored movies.
Crystal's only appearance as host in the past decade came in 2004, when Joe Roth persuaded him to oversee the show at which "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" received 11 Oscars.