Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's Emmy-winning The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, has been selected to host this year's Oscar gala.
Jon Stewart will host the Oscars for the first time March 5. (AP file photo)
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which administers the annual Hollywood film honours, made the announcement in a statement from Beverly Hills on Thursday.
"Jon is the epitome of a perfect host — smart, engaging, irreverent and funny," longtime Oscar producer Gil Cates said.
Though the stint will be Stewart's first time at the helm of the Academy Awards telecast, he has previously hosted the Grammy Awards. He follows a string of comedians with stand-up backgrounds who have taken the gig, including Johnny Carson, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin, David Letterman and frequent host Billy Crystal.
Stewart joked about being tapped for the Oscar podium.
"As a performer, I'm truly honoured to be hosting the show," he said. "Although, as an avid watcher of the Oscars, I can't help but be a little disappointed with the choice. It appears to be another sad attempt to smoke out Billy Crystal."
Last year, organizers drew younger viewers to the telecast by choosing edgy comic Chris Rock as host. However, the acerbic Rock alienated some academy members with his barbs about actors such as Jude Law and Tobey Maguire.
Nominations for the 78th annual Academy Awards will be announced on Jan. 31. The awards ceremony will be telecast on ABC on March 5.