Saturday Night Live, that dinosaur of pop culture, may be good for something we never really expected: producing Oscar hosts. Both James Franco and Anne Hathaway, just announced as February's Oscar hosts, have hosted the ancient challenging live comedy program (Franco in 2009, Hathaway just recently) to fine results, so why not Hollywood's High Holy Night? I'm just glad that they didn't take the SNL alum thing to its exhaustively ubiquitous endpoint: Betty White!
Franco & Hathaway have proven themselves as versatile showpeople over the past decade but more importantly for their latest assignment, they're both good industry sports and twinkly showbiz ambassadors. They don't always need the spotlight (witness their frequent onscreen generosity to co-stars) but when it hits them they sure sparkle, they choose a mix of classy projects and check-cashing opportunities (usually a wise career move), and their onscreen personas are buttressed by offscreen personalities that read as amiable, clever and ready for a good time. In short, though they both can be the life of the party, it's just as easy to imagine them hosting one. You can practically see them taping streamers to ceilings or blowing up balloons for a friend's birthday, can't you?
But alas... AMPAS's decision to employ them is problematic. Though Hathaway's Best Actress prospects are on the fade for Love and Other Drugs, most pundits agree that Franco is one of the frontrunners for this Best Actor for 127 Hours. Therefore we can't totally cheer this otherwise sensible decision. The Tony Awards regularly use nominated hosts and The Emmys have been known to double dip, too. But no matter the organization, the event, or the temperament of the celebrity, it's unavoidably T-A-C-K-Y. It's like hosting a party and declaring yourself the Guest of Honor. Who does that?
Vulture 5 Weirdest Oscar Hosts
Deadline brags about calling it. "Toldja"
Hollywood Reporter Youngest hosts ever...
Speaking of which, I love this tweet from Indie Focus about the Oscar's weirdly noncommital desperation to be hipper than than are.