09/06/2011 at 03:55 PM EDT
Eddie Murphy is set to step back into the spotlight in a big way: He's agreed to take on hosting duties at the Oscars next February.
The selection of Murphy, 50, is a departure from last year's Academy Awards
hosts – the unlikely duo of James Franco
and Anne Hathaway
"Eddie is a comedic genius, one of the greatest and most influential live performers ever," telecast producer Brett Ratner says. "I know he will bring excitement, spontaneity and tremendous heart to the show."
– Sara Hammel