Cruise, Oprah To Host Nobel Show

show host Oprah Winfrey and actor Tom Cruise AP

Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey will continue the tradition of bringing a superstar shine to dark December nights in Norway, when the pair hosts the annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert Saturday.

The concert, held to honor Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, will also feature musical artists such as British teen soul singer Joss Stone, opera vocalist Andrea Bocelli, jazz singer Diana Krall, and pop singers Cyndi Lauper and Patti Labelle.

The 64-year-old Maathai, Kenya's deputy environment minister, was honored as founder of the Green Belt Movement, which has sought to empower women, improve the environment — by planting 30 million trees — and fight corruption in Africa for almost 30 years.

Winfrey said it was a "great pleasure" to celebrate "the first African woman recipient of one of the most meaningful awards of our time."

"Wangari Maathai is a true inspiration because she uses her life to benefit others, from fervently fighting for women's rights to literally turning the earth to improve living conditions in Africa," the American talk show host said.

Cruise said he was "exceptionally proud" to pay tribute to Maathai.

"Wangari is a real example of what one person, determined to help her fellow man, can accomplish," he said. "She has demonstrated that change in conditions can occur simply by one's willingness to roll up their sleeves and do something about it."

All those who perform at the show do so at no cost, but the organizers cover their travel expenses, lodging and food.

The Nobel concert will be carried live in more than 100 countries, and traditionally draws some of the biggest names in show business. Last year, the event was hosted by Hollywood husband-and-wife Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

In the United States, it will be broadcast on Dec. 23 by E! Entertainment Television.

Bocelli, who also performed at Friday's solemn award ceremony in Oslo, said he felt honored to represent with his voice what the peace prize stands for.

"Of course it is a great honor," Bocelli told The Associated Press in a recent interview. "But it is an achievement for me because playing in front of people that have such a high spirituality means for me that those are people who understand art very well."
  • Jaime Holguin

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