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Academy Confirms: Billy Crystal Will Return As Oscars Host For 9th Time

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It's a rumor no more: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences officially announced late yesterday that funnyman Billy Crystal will indeed return to host the Oscars in 2012.

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

The "comic legend" let the cat out of the bag with his signature self-deprecating wit ahead of the Academy's announcement via Twitter, when he posted: "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."

Crystal is essentially replacing Eddie Murphy, who had been tapped by producer Brett Ratner to take on the challenge as a first-time host. But Ratner stepped down from the gig, and buddy Murphy followed suit a day later. The Academy scrambled, but rallied, and announced almost immediately that Brian Grazer and Don Mischer would serve as producers for the 84th Academy Awards.

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Commented Grazer, "Like so many others, I've been eager to see Billy host again. It's very gratifying that he agreed to do it with Don and me at the helm."

Said Mischer, "With Billy, we're moving forward with one of the greatest hosts in Oscar history. His return to the Oscars® is, in a sense, a celebration."

The February 26 ceremony will mark Crystal's ninth time as host. While some viewers have expressed concern that Crystal will be unable to provide a "fresh" take on the octogenarian awards, may we all remind you of the disaster that was the "youthful" take on the 2011 ceremony.

No word yet on if the Muppets will get to make an appearance.