Academy Award hosts can take a lot of heat for the vitality of the live broadcast. For every respected Hugh Jackman, you get a maligned David Letterman (“Oprah, Uma… Uma, Oprah”). So, for the first time in 23 years, the Academy Awards will be emceed by two iconic Hollywood standbys, alleviating some pressure. On November 3, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were announced as co-hosts of the 82nd annual ceremony.

Martin is no stranger to the ceremony, having hosted twice—most recently in 2003, the year Chicago dominated the festivities. Baldwin, on the other hand, is a relative neophyte, although he has been nominated in the best supporting actor category for 2003’s The Cooler. Lately, the pair has been focusing on other projects besides film. Baldwin is currently in his fourth year on NBC’s “30 Rock,” for which he has amassed two Emmys. Meanwhile, Martin has been touring with his band Steep Canyon Rangers to publicize his latest bluegrass album The Crow: New Songs for the Five String Banjo

“We think the team of Steve and Alec are the perfect pair of hosts for the Oscars,” said telecast producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman. “Steve will bring the experience of having hosted the show in the past and Alec will be a completely fresh personality for this event.”

The hosts themselves seem a bit less diplomatic, and a little more playful. “I am happy to co-host the Oscars with my enemy Alec Baldwin,” deadpanned Martin. To which Baldwin fired back: “I don’t play the banjo but I’m thrilled to be hosting the Oscars.”

The ceremony is scheduled to be broadcast live by the ABC Television Network from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood on March 7, 2010. It will be shown in more than 200 countries worldwide.

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