As it appearing there will be little surprises among the winners on Oscar night, a lot of the focus has turned to just how entertaining first time hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway will be. Like the Super Bowl halftime show, Academy Award hosts are many times given a thankless task that few can walk away from with critical raves. Besides Billy Crystal who, let’s be frank, became a tad predictable in his later gigs, there hasn’t been one host or hosts that made everyone happy. Last year’s team up of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin was an unqualified disaster, Ellen DeGeneres was surprisingly boring and forgettable, Chris Rock made the horrible David Letterman mistake of pissing off the room in his monologue (even though he was funny the rest of the night), Steve Martin’s solo acts were a bit dry for some, Hugh Jackman was upstaged by the show’s production (not necc a bad thing) and Jon Stewart never seemed entirely comfortable in the position, even during his second go-around. Enter: James Franco and Anne Hathaway.
The adorable duo are featured in a new behind-the-scenes feature released by the Academy today and as a snapshot its quite revealing. Unless the written material is great, Hathaway is going to be providing much of the comedy and Franco will be the “straight” man for her jokes and witty observations. There is nothing in the piece that would even begin to suggest otherwise. And honestly, it’s better they figure that out now then during the run throughs on the Friday and Saturday before the show.
Also interesting is the fact Hathaway admits she originally turned down the gig because it was pitched to her without a confirmed co-host. When Franco came on board, she changed her mind (whew). That shows that at least Hathaway has confidence the duo have enough real chemistry to pull it off. Considering how predictable the winners may be, keep your fingers crossed.
You can watch the two stars talk about their gig in the video embedded in this post.
In other Oscar news…
– Catch up on Oscar show presenters. Nicole Kidman, nominated for best actress for “Rabbit Hole,” Jude Law and Tom Hanks, an Academy Governor, are all slated to present at this year’s big show. They join Robert Downey, Jr, Annette Bening and Hugh Jackman as previously announced presenters. We know the hosts are young and rangling presenters is literally the most gruellng and difficult part of the job, but here’s hoping show producers Bruce Cohen and Don Misher bring in some hipper participants in the next few weeks.
– Melissa Leo can’t stop doing interviews about her own “rogue” ads which ran last week in the trades and on a number of awards-worthy websites. On Feb. 4, she broke down her thinking with Pete Hammond at Deadline. Then on the 6th she spoke to The Hollywood Reporter. That was followed by “her good friend” Scott Feinberg’s embarrassing “defense” of her on the 8th (don’t get me started) and now yet another interview with Thelma Adams today, Feb. 10. Melissa, suggestion: stop talking about it. People have short attention spans, but ballots aren’t due for another 12 days. The more you keep talking about it the worse it seems. At this point the stories about the ads are doing more damage than the ads ever did. ‘Nuff said.