Choice could open the door to the nearly unprecedented possibility of nominees hosting the show
Will a pair of nominees serve as hosts of the Oscars?
Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman” src=”http://www.thewrap.com/sites/default/wp-content/uploads/files/anne_hathaway_oscars.jpg” style=”margin: 15px; width: 200px; height: 300px; float: left;” title=”” />Hathaway (left) made a well-received appearance with host Hugh Jackman at the Oscars two years ago, when he pulled her out of the audience for what was supposed to look like an impromptu song-and-dance number. She also hosted "Saturday Night Live" earlier in November.
Franco is an actor, writer, poet and student, among many other things. He has also hosted "SNL" twice.
Both star is current movies and could conceivably be Oscar nominees this year, which would add an interesting (and in modern times unprecedented) wrinkle to the hosting duties. Franco is considered a Best Actor lock for his starring role in "127 Hours," while Hathaway is a longer shot for a Best Actress nomination for "Love and Other Drugs."
“James Franco and Anne Hathaway personify the next generation of Hollywood icons— fresh, exciting and multi-talented," said the show's first-time producers, Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer, in a press release announcing the new hosts.
The AMPAS release came on the heels of a report on Deadline that the pair had been offered the job.
Earlier, Cohen and Mischer were reported to have offered the job to Hugh Jackman again this year.
The choice of Franco and Hathaway combines a couple of the moves made over the past two years on the Oscar show. Two years ago, producers Bill Condon and Lawrence Mark went outside the usual ranks of standup comics to tap Jackman, an actor who had stage and musical experience. Last year, producers Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman booked a pair of hosts, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, after a decades-long run of a single host.
While few details leaked about Cohen's and Mischer's lengthy search for a host or hosts, insiders have said that many of the names mentioned as possible hosts were actors with comic flair, rather than the once-traditional comics with acting experience.
The Oscar show will take place on February 27, 2011, from the Kodak Theater at the Hollywood & Highland Center.
NOTE: This story was updated from an earlier version after the Academy press release confirmed the selection of Franco and Hathaway.
(Photo by Darren Decker/AMPAS)