The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) has announced that James Franco and Anne Hathaway will serve as co-hosts of the 83rd annual Academy Awards, which will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre in LA.
The decision has been received with a mixture of excitement and surprise in Hollywood, not least because Franco is a hot contender for a Best Actor nomination for his role in 127 Hours. Some argue that to act in hosting capacities could increase Franco’s chances to win the award to the detriment of other contenders, especially Colin Firth, who is considered by many to be this year’s frontrunner.
Anne Hathaway, who had some Oscar buzz for her role in Love and Other Drugs, seems now out of the race, so she’ll be able to focus on her work as presenter. Personally I am delighted with the AMPA’s choice to bring freshness to a show that was dangerously wearing off. The Franco/Hathaway duo will be a perfect successor to last year’s hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, who did a decent but unmemorable work.
In my opinion, the decision to cast Hathaway, a frequent Oscar presenter, as main host of the ceremony may well go back to her fantastic opening number with then host Hugh Jackman two years ago (see clip below). Hathaway, who was then nominated as Best Actress for her role in Rachel Getting Married, showed a pitch-perfect combination of flawed spontaneity and professionalism.
Wonderful news for the Oscars. Looking forward to it.