Osc2BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Well, I beat the Academy to their own announcement, but only by a coupla minutes. (So I’ve changed “wants” to “picks” in the headline!) The two are starring with Meryl Streep in the upcoming holiday movie from Nancy Meyer, It’s Complicated, from Universal. And they’re friends, something Steve Martin kidded about in the AMPAS press release. (“I am happy to co-host the Oscars with my enemy Alec Baldwin,” said Martin.) I think it’s a natural and even perfect pairing (short of adding a woman or minority), and, for once, I’m actually looking forward to the Oscars, especially under Bill Mechanic’s and Adam Shankman’s stewardship. This will be Baldwin’s first, and Martin’s 3rd time hosting the Academy Awards. As I’ve been reporting, the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hoped first to reteam host Hugh Jackman with producers Larry Mark and Bill Condon, but all were busy with other projects. Then AMPAS picked  Mechanic and Shankman to produce the Oscar-cast, and they went to Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr and asked them to host as a duo. It would have been a killer combo, too. But the answer was no. So now here’s the AMPAS press release:

Beverly Hills, CA—Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin will serve as co-hosts of the 82nd Academy Awards®, Oscar telecast producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman announced today.

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

“I am happy to co-host the Oscars with my enemy Alec Baldwin,” said Martin.

“I don’t play the banjo but I’m thrilled to be hosting the Oscars – it’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Baldwin.

Martin hosted the 73rd and 75th Academy Awards shows, earning an Emmy nomination for the first stint.  He has also served as a presenter on the show several times, most recently at the ceremony in February when he appeared with Tina Fey. He is currently touring with the bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers in support of his latest album “The Crow: New Songs for the Five String Banjo.” In 1977 and 1978 Martin won Grammys for Best Comedy Recording. He earned a third Grammy in 2001 in the Best Country Instrumental Performance category.  In 2007 Martin earned a Kennedy Center Honor.

Baldwin was nominated for an Academy Award in 2003 for his supporting role in “The Cooler.”  That year also marked his most recent appearance as a presenter on the show.  Baldwin currently stars as Jack Donaghy on the comedy “30 Rock,” a role for which he has won two Emmys (in 2008 and 2009).  Baldwin earned a Tony nomination in 1992 for his performance in “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.