- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 30, 2010

LOS ANGELES (AP) - James Franco and Anne Hathaway have just what Academy Awards producers want as hosts of Hollywood’s biggest night. They’ll put on a show, rather than just another awards ceremony, organizers say.

Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer, producers of the Feb. 27 telecast, said Monday they had chosen Franco and Hathaway as hosts because the two are rising stars with broad talent that will help turn the night into a celebration of film.

“What we have here are two really emerging talents who are very respected and are going to have, I think, magnificent careers,” Mischer said. “They deserve to be there, they’ve got the chops to be there, they want to be there, and I think that’s going to make the audience really relate to them.”

Both have done serious drama and comedy. Hathaway earned a best-actress Oscar nomination for 2008’s “Rachel Getting Married” and starred in such comedies as “The Princess Diaries” and “The Devil Wears Prada.”

Outside the Gotham Independent Film Awards in New York, where she was presenting an award, Hathaway said she couldn’t yet discuss her Oscar night duties.

“I can probably let it slip that I’m terrified and exhilarated and excited,” she said.

Franco had an Emmy nomination for the title role of 2001’s “James Dean,” costarred in the Oscar-winning “Milk” and delivered a memorable comic turn as a spacey pot dealer in “Pineapple Express.”

Hathaway also showed off her musical talents in a duet at the 2008 Oscars with the show’s host, Hugh Jackman. Oscar producers were uncertain whether Franco can sing.

“There’s a rumor that he can, and we will be exploring that,” Cohen said.

“What we do know is they both have a great sense of humor and a great sense of comedy,” Mischer said.

While most Oscar shows over the past two decades had a comedian such as Billy Crystal, Chris Rock or Jon Stewart as emcee, Hathaway and Franco continue a recent trend of using film stars.

Steve Martin, a past solo host of the Oscars, and his “It’s Complicated” co-star Alec Baldwin teamed up as hosts last time, while “X-Men” and Broadway star Jackman was host the year before.

That harks back to a period in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, in between the years when Bob Hope and later Johnny Carson were fairly regular Oscar hosts, when big-screen stars would partner up as masters of ceremony.

“There was a period for many years after Bob Hope and before Johnny Carson where movie stars would host every year,” Cohen said. “Mostly, that hasn’t happened in years since, but perhaps we’re entering another period of the glory years of movie stars hosting the Oscars.”

Hillary Swank, a two-time Oscar winner for her lead roles in “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Million Dollar Baby,” praised the Hathaway-Franco teaming at the Gotham Awards.

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