James Franco and Anne Hathaway have been tapped to co-host the 83rd Academy Awards.
Both have films currently in release: Franco stars in “127 Hours” and Hathaway co-stars with Jake Gyllenhaal in “Love and Other Drugs.” Neither have hosted before, but Hathaway participated in a song-and-dance routine when Hugh Jackman hosted in 2009.
Move comes a year after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences had Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin front the show.
The decision also marks the first time since 1957, when Jerry Lewis and Celeste Holm hosted, that a man and woman will co-host together.
Oscar producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer said that in addition to bringing a male and female perspective to the show, the Academy wanted to put the focus on movie stars who are just as capable as comedians.
“There was a period in the 50s and 60s where movie stars co-hosted the show all the time, and we really want to give the show that kind of feeling again,” Cohen told Daily Variety. “With the combination of these two names we think they can help give the show a refreshing feel.”
Mischer added that both had shown their hosting abilities on “Saturday Night Live” with each hosting an episode of the show.
Mischer said the producers have begun brainstorming but that as of now, it is still a work in progress. He added that Franco and Hathaway have said they’re committed to giving their own input on the telecast.
The decision emphasizes how much the Academy wants to appeal to a more youthful aud. Cohen and Mischer said the hosts “personify the next generation of Hollywood icons.”
At 28, Hathaway becomes one of the youngest to co-host the Oscars telecast ( Donald O’Connor was also 28 when he hosted in 1954) since the Oscars began airing on TV in 1953. With Franco, who is 32, the pair “add up to the age of a usual Oscar host,” quipped Vanity Fair.
While recent hosts Chris Rock and Jon Stewart are not quite as young, their material is often aimed at a younger demographic.
Not only do both actors have films playing in theaters, but Franco is gathering considerable buzz for his perf in Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours.”
If either thesp were Oscar-nommed, it would mark the first time in more than 20 years for a host to be nominated.
The last person who was both a host and nominee was Paul Hogan, who co-hosted with Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn in 1987, and was nommed for his “Crocodile Dundee” original screenplay.
Other past hosts who were also nommed include Michael Caine and David Niven, who won best actor for his perf in “Separate Tables” in 1959.
The Oscars will be telecast on ABC from the Kodak Theater on Feb, 27.