Steve Martin: 'If you can't win 'em, join 'em'

After seven stints as an Oscar presenter, Steve Martin has nabbed the big job — emceeing the 73rd annual Academy Awards.

Gil Cates, who was named last week as producer of the kudocast, made the Martin announcement Monday.

“If you can’t win ‘em, join ‘em,” Martin joked. The actor-writer has never been nominated as a performer or writer for Oscar gold.

However, he wrote and starred in the 1977 Oscar-nominated short “The Absent-Minded Waiter,” and Oscar noms in various categories have gone to other pics in which he appeared, such as “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Parenthood.”

“He’s everything,” said Cates, who will be in the producer’s seat for the 10th time. “He’s a movie star, he’s funny, he’s classy, he’s literate — he’ll be a wonderful host.”

Acad prexy Robert Rehme added: “Steve is a man of great style. I am simply elated to have him on board. He was at the top of our list, we offered and he accepted; it was as simple as that.”

Last year, Richard and Lili Fini Zanuck produced the Oscarcast, which was hosted by Billy Crystal. The previous year, Cates produced, and Whoopi Goldberg hosted. Crystal and Goldberg had previously stated that they would not be hosting the Oscars this year.

Either Crystal or Goldberg has hosted every ceremony for the past decade, with the exception of one critically assailed turn by David Letterman.

TV ratings have ebbed a bit in the past two outings, which is as much a function of the wide-open awards competish as the show’s production values. This year’s free-for-all hasn’t yielded a front-runner, often a key ingredient for ratings success.

Martin, whose novella “Shopgirl” is a bestseller on the New York Times and Los Angeles Times lists, will next appear onscreen with Helena Bonham Carter and Laura Dern in Artisan’s “Novocaine.”

The frosh host has served as a presenter on six shows and introduced a best pic clip in 1997. He also participated in a gag film sequence in 1995.

The 73rd annual Academy Awards ceremony will be held March 25 at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium.

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