FRANCO AND HATHAWAY PICKED AS CO-HOSTS FOR THE OSCARS
James Franco and Anne Hathaway have just what Academy Awards producers want as hosts of Hollywood's biggest night. They'll put on a show, rather than just another awards ceremony, organizers say.
Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer, producers of the Feb. 27 telecast, said Monday (29 NOV 2010) they had chosen Franco and Hathaway as hosts because the two are rising stars with broad talent that will help turn the night into a celebration of film.
Both have done serious drama and comedy. Hathaway earned a best-actress Oscar nomination for 2008's "Rachel Getting Married" and starred in such comedies as "The Princess Diaries" and "The Devil Wears Prada."
Franco had an Emmy nomination for the title role of 2001's "James Dean," costarred in the Oscar-winning "Milk" and delivered a memorable comic turn as a spacey pot dealer in "Pineapple Express."
Hathaway also showed off her musical talents in a duet at the 2008 Oscars with the show's host, Hugh Jackman. Oscar producers were uncertain whether Franco can sing.
"There's a rumor that he can, and we will be exploring that," Cohen said.
While most Oscar shows over the past two decades had a comedian such as Billy Crystal, Chris Rock or Jon Stewart as emcee, Hathaway and Franco continue a recent trend of using film stars.
Steve Martin, a past solo host of the Oscars, and his "It's Complicated" co-star Alec Baldwin teamed up as hosts last time, while "X-Men" and Broadway star Jackman was host the year before.
The producers say they aim to keep the Oscar show fast-paced and shorter than it has been in recent times. The show has dragged on for four hours in some years.
The job of keeping the show brisk has been made easier since lifetime-achievement Oscars and other honorary awards were moved to a separate event. But producers will have to squeeze in 10 best-picture nominees for the second-straight year, double the usual number.
Cohen and Mischer said they also plan to continue recent efforts to liven up the way some awards are presented and group awards together in ways that make sense to viewers.
"We're really hoping this year to link what James and Anne are doing thematically to the show," Cohen said. "That they are the world's window in that they are the welcoming committee, but also the two people through the evening who are taking you through this journey of giving out 24 Oscars."