Billy Crystal Locked to Replace Eddie Murphy as Oscar Host

Billy Crystal is one of the most popular Oscar hosts, having been at the helm for a mammoth eight times. Crystal, widely considered the best host of the last decade, maybe longer, was called in to fill the slot left vacant when Murphy followed his producing partner Brett Ratner out the door, according to the New York Times.

Crystal, 63, will fill the void left by Murphy, who withdrew from his hosting duties overnight after his friend, director Brett Ratner, was forced to step down as the show's producer. Ratner, director of the movie "Tower Heist," which features Murphy, issued an apology for using a gay slur during the film's screening in Hollywood last week.

Tom Sherak, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, also confirmed the news in an official statement. "I'm thrilled to welcome Billy back to the Oscar stage. He's a comic legend and Oscar icon, and it feels good to have him back where he belongs," said Sherak.

Crystal last hosted the show back in 2004 and received a standing ovation after appearing for a brief segment in this year's ceremony which was hosted by Anne Hathaway and James Franco. Murphy, who worked with Ratner on “Tower Heist,” bailed out Wednesday, saying he understood both sides of the issue between Ratner and the Acadamy, though he’d lost his creative counterpart.

The 84th Academy Awards will be broadcast live by ABC on Feb. 26 from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood in western Los Angeles. 

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