Didn’t see that coming.
James Franco and Anne Hathaway, both expected to be Academy Award nominees themselves this year, have been selected to host the show.
Surface-wise, it has to be primarily seen as “youth re-branding” by The Academy – scooping up two actors more in the age, persona and career-phase one associates with the MTV Movie awards (Hathaway is a Disney-escapee branching out bigtime, Franco is basically the art-school-student-ironically-pretending-to-be-a-homeless-street-musician-to-stay-“in-the-real” of movie stars at this point) to headline what’s increasingly seen as an older-audiences event.
What makes it more than a little unusual – and will come more to the forefront once the nominations solidify – is that both of them are very heavily-favored as serious contenders for awards themselves this year, he for “127 Hours” and she for “Love & Other Drugs.” Sure, it “shouldn’t” matter if the person hosting the show also wins if they gave the “best” performance… but everyone knows it will because “it’ll look weird.”
Honestly, I think that may be what The Academy is banking on, at least in-part: Deliberately going after a pair of likely nominees in order to generate interest via an “oh noes!! what’s gonna happen!!??” drama to draw a bigger audience: “What if one of them wins!?” “GASP! What if they LOSE!? Will there be all kinds of bitterness to the jokes after that!” “GASP! What if only ONE of them wins!? Will the banter go all edgy!?”
Meh, it’s an interesting choice either way. I don’t think either of them are likely to actually win – “127 Hours” is pretty far outside The Academy’s comfort-zone (plus Colin Firth is “due” and will be the frontrunner for his performance in “Dignified WWII-Era Upper-Class English Historical Drama #5,981”) and Best Actress is looking like Natalie Portman’s to lose at this point – but the “drama” probably will rope the People Magazine/“Dancing With The Stars” audience. On the brighter side, they’re both fun – Franco is a real wild-card unafraid of playing chicken with his dignity, and I can certainly think of worse things to look at for four hours than Anne Hathaway…