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Did the Oscars pick the perfect hosts?

Last updated on: December 1, 2010 11:10 IST

Did the Oscars pick the perfect hosts?

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Raja Sen in Mumbai

Well done, Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences. Buy yourself a drink, Oscar, you've earned it.

I've routinely complained about all things Oscar -- including the choice of hosts -- and even though Hugh Jackman was an inspired choice a few years ago, this year truly does look like a treat.

The 2011 Oscars, it was announced Tuesday, will be hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway, two of the most exciting young actors in Hollywood today -- dashing, stylish, attractive people, and neither of them a stranger to Oscar nominations.


Image: Anne Hathaway and James Franco
Photographs: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
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James Franco, at 32, might just be the most interesting actor in current Hollywood. Having earned major Oscar-buzz for Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, in which he plays a mountaineer trapped under a boulder, I was personally last wowed by Franco's work in Howl, a film where he played legendary Beat poet Allan Ginsberg to perfection.

I must confess to a bit of a bias here, having recently stumbled upon Judd Apatow's Freaks And Geeks and totally being enchanted by a young, goofy Franco, a complete contrast to the young man who impressed us in Milk and the Spider-Man movies, where he played Harry Osborn.

According to the magazines, he's one of the most cerebral actors around, writing books and making art exhibits and treating his life as a performance art piece -- and then there's the other Franco, who giggles all through Pineapple Express.


Image: James Franco holds up his Pudding Pot award during ceremonies to honor him as Hasty Pudding Theatricals' 2009 Man of the Year at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Photographs: Brian Snyder/Reuters
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Anne Hathaway, wow. 

The little girl most of us first encountered in Disney's Princess Diaries has, over an eventful decade, blossomed into a ravishing star, an elegant young woman with old-world grace and an immensely warm screen presence.

Hathaway's latest film -- Love And Other Drugs -- might not nab her an Oscar nomination this time around, but she was up for Best Actress a couple of years ago with 2008s Rachel Getting Married.

She's a sensational young find, lighting up the screen wherever she appears, from The Devil Wears Prada to Brokeback Mountain -- although the latter might just be because she took her shirt off. Again, wow.

Now 28, Hathaway's firmly a part of Hollywood's highest echelons, a successful young actress with her own unique image -- and, most crucially for the upcoming Oscars, a pretty solid sense of humour.


Image: Anne Hathaway
Photographs: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
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Oscar's decision to go next-generation for the awards is a terrific one, and one wouldn't be totally surprised if Franco nixes the tux and goes for denims instead.

These are two wonderfully edgy performers, and it should be great fun to see them perform together.

Hathaway was brilliant a couple of years ago as part of Hugh Jackman's musical opening number -- she played Nixon in his Frost/Nixon parody -- and both stars have shown great improvisational comedic chops on NBC's Saturday Night Live, hosting the show within weeks of each other in 2008.

All the Academy needs to now do is get Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey to act as script consultants.


Image: James Franco in An American Crime, and Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada

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Clearly, I'm quite kicked by this decision. I totally dig Franco's laidback coolness, and drool all over Hathaway's, um, acting skills. 

I think it's a step up for the Oscars, a chance to contemporarise the show and make it more relatable to a younger audience -- a significant step considering this year's awards are likely to be dominated by David Fincher's The Social Network.

It isn't my dream pair -- that would have to be Franco and Natalie Portman -- but it's pretty darned close, and I'm very pro the decision. How about you? Think these young whippersnappers are too trendy for entertainment's biggest night? Want Steve Martin and Billy Crystal back again?

Do let us know what you think in the comments section below.


Image: James Franco in Your Highness, and Anne Hathaway in Alice in Wonderland

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