Hosting the Oscars is one of the highest-pressure jobs in show business. It is also one of the most thankless. Hosting the show requires months of preparation and the ability to ad lib on the spot. We expect Oscar hosts to be funny without insulting anyone too much. And we tend to blame them when the show is overlong and dull, as it inevitably is.
The hosts are usually people who performed as stand-up comedians, and the most popular have included Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, and Billy Crystal. The announcement today that instead of a comedian this year’s hosts will instead be two young actors, James Franco and Anne Hathaway. Both are possible candidates for awards themselves — Franco’s role in “127 Hours” is likely to get a Best Actor nomination and Hathaway might get a Best Actress nomination for her role in “Love and Other Drugs.”
Both have proved themselves hosting “Saturday Night Live,” showing poise and comic timing. Most important, they have both shown that they can project an instant likability at the same time as real star power. I think it will be a great show.