*The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has signed off on Eddie Murphy as host of its 84th annual Academy Awards, which ABC will broadcast live from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 26.

Murphy, who shot to fame in the 1980s – first on “Saturday Night Live,” and then in movies like “48 Hrs.” and “Beverly Hills Cop” – was the first choice of producer Brett Ratner, who also directed Murphy in his upcoming film, “Tower Heist.”

It will be the first time that Murphy has hosted the show. He has appeared as a presenter on several broadcasts, most recently in 2009 when he presented the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Jerry Lewis. He also received an Oscar nomination as best supporting actor for his performance in the 2006 musical “Dreamgirls.”

Universal will release “Tower Heist” Nov. 4. The performer also has a second feature, “A Thousand Words,’ coming from DreamWorks on Jan. 13.