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Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin to host Oscars

Will be Martin's third time hosting; Baldwin's first

Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are joining forces to co-host the 82nd Annual Academy Awards, the telecast's producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman said Tuesday.

Doubling down on comedy, the producers said, "Steve will bring the experience of having hosted the show in the past, and Alec will be a completely fresh personality for this event."

As a solo act, Martin hosted the Oscars in 2001 and 2003, earning an Emmy nomination for his first turn at-bat. He's also been a presenter on a number of occasions including this year, when he appeared with Tina Fey to hand out a trophy.

Baldwin has appeared as a presenter, most recently in 2004 when he was nominated as best supporting actor for his appearance in "The Cooler."

"Adam and I, from our first meeting on, knew we wanted an emphasis on comedy," Mechanic said. "If we err in any one direction, we want to take a show that can feel long and boring at times and make it feel shorter and more fun. The idea of two co-hosts who could move things along just seemed like a great idea."

The fact that Martin and Baldwin aren't a pre-existing comedy team also appealed to the producers.

"One way to make it fresher," Mechanic said, "was to find people who aren't doing the same thing they always do."

Shankman has relationships with both men. He directed Martin in 2003's "Bringing Down the House," and during a visit to the Hamptons in September, he tweeted that he'd played Truth or Dare with Baldwin the previous night, and "his truths=amazing." And so Shankman reached out to both.

During the '70s and '80s, the Oscars frequently resorted to multiple hosts. In 1972, Helen Hayes, Alan King, Sammy Davis Jr. and Jack Lemmon shared the honors; Chevy Chase, Goldie Hawn and Paul Hogan made it a trio in 1987.

But the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hasn't relied on two performers since 1957, when Jerry Lewis and Celeste Holm made an odd-couple teaming. Technically, though, that wasn't considered a co-hosting situation: It was the era of bicoastal Oscar ceremonies, and Lewis presided over the main event in Los Angeles while Holm played the role of New York emcee.

The only time two hosts have shared the same locale on Oscar Night was at the first ceremony in 1929, presided over by Douglas Fairbanks and William C. DeMille.

Martin and Baldwin have had plenty of practice with live TV. In fact, they lead the list of repeat hosts on NBC's "Saturday Night Live"; Martin has hosted 15 times, Baldwin 14.

 

They've also worked together before, both appearing on NBC's "30 Rock," for which Baldwin has earned two Emmys. Last season, Martin guested on the show and earned Emmy nom.

They're also appearing together in Nancy Meyer's comedy "It's Complicated," starring Meryl Streep, which Universal will release in December.

Warming up the inevitable banter, Martin said, "I am happy to co-host the Oscars with my enemy Alec Baldwin." Baldwin volleyed, "I don't play the banjo, but I'm thrilled to be hosting the Oscars."

The 82nd Oscars will be held March 7 and broadcast live by ABC from the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland.