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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
Crystal returns to present Oscars
Billy Crystal
Crystal said he was looking forward to returning to the show
Comic actor Billy Crystal will host the Oscars ceremony for the eighth time next year, organisers have announced.

He was named as the presenter of the 76th annual Academy Awards to be held in Hollywood on 29 February.

Crystal, 56, hosted four consecutive Oscars shows starting in 1990. He returned following a three-year gap to front the shows in 1997, 1998 and 2000.

Last year's show was presented by fellow comic actor Steve Martin.

Crystal said: "I am really excited about coming back. I felt I could have a great time doing it again.

"It was either this or run for governor," he joked, in reference to Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger's political campaign.

Joe Roth, who is producing the Oscars live broadcast, said: "Billy's personality and quick wit are uniquely suited to this 900 pound gorilla of live shows. He's proved he can tame it with style and flair.

"To me, this was the most important element of the show - the rest of the way suddenly feels very comfortable."

Nominations for the 2004 Oscars will be unveiled on 27 January. The show itself is being held a month earlier than normal in an effort to shorten the drawn-out Hollywood awards season.

New York-born Crystal, star of When Harry Met Sally and Analyse This, has won four Emmys for his writing and hosting of the Oscars show.

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