The Analyze This star, who is currently touring the self-written two-act play about his childhood, refused to give in to persistent requests by Academy Awards producer Gil Cates to "please do the show". It would have been his ninth appearance as host.
The job has now gone to The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, who is thrilled to host the awards despite suspecting ulterior motives by the show's bosses.
He says, "As a performer, I'm truly honored to be hosting the show. 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."
The 78th Annual Oscars ceremony will be broadcast on March 5.
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