US comedian Jon Stewart has been picked to host this year's Oscars ceremony, the organisers of cinema's top awards announced overnight.
The edgy comedian and host of the Daily Show, a news show spoof that has developed a cult following among liberal Americans, will be making his maiden appearance as host of one of the most watched events on earth.
"As a performer, I'm truly honoured to be hosting the show," Stewart said in a statement issued by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
"Although, as an avid watcher of the Oscars, I can't help but be a little disappointed with the choice," he quipped.
"It appears to be another sad attempt to smoke out Billy Crystal," he said referring to one of the Oscars' most popular hosts who reportedly turned down the chance to present the show for a ninth time.
Stewart takes over the revolving role as the host of Hollywood's biggest night as Oscars chiefs battle to buoy a flagging US television audience for the show that organisers say is watched by up to one billion people around the world.