Wednesday, February 16, 2011

News & Links 2/16/2011

Many people (myself included) had some doubts about whether two non-comedians hosting the Oscars was a good idea. ABC has allayed those fears with a recent ad campaign featuring this year's co-hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway, "training" for their upcoming hosting gig.

The first ad, shows the two practicing this year's Oscar tagline, "You're Invited."



The second ad shows Franco and Hathaway preparing for a number of possible situations, including a wardrobe malfunction.



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Last year, the producers of the Oscar telecast made an unusual choice not to give the nominees in the Best Original Song category a chance to be performed on the telecast; it marked only the second time since 1946 that the nominees had not been performed during the ceremony. Thankfully, this year's producers have opted to once again allow performances.

Last week, the Academy announced that Gwenyth Paltrow will perform "Coming Home" from the film Country Strong; A.R. Rahman and Florence + the Machine, will perform "If I Rise" from the film 127 Hours; Alan Menken will accompany singers Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi on the piano for "I See the Light" from the animated film Tangled; and Randy Newman will perform his nominated song "We Belong Together" from the animated film Toy Story 3.

For those of you who want to make your predictions prior to Oscar Night, all four Best Song nominees are available for download at Amazon.com (see the sidebar on the right for links and song previews).

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In the weeks leading up to the Oscars, it is customary for the Academy to announce which A-listers have been invited to present at the upcoming ceremony. Previously, we had mentioned here that Annette Bening, Robert Downey Jr, and Hugh Jackman would be presenting. The Academy has now announced that they will be joined by Academy Award winners Tom Hanks (Philadelphia, Forrest Gump), Cate Blanchett (The Aviator), Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line), and Nicole Kidman (The Hours), and Academy Award nominee Jude Law (The Talented Mr. Ripley, Cold Mountain). Hanks and Downey Jr. both presented at last year's ceremony, while Witherspoon and Kidman last presented at the 81st Academy Awards in 2009, Blanchett last presented in 2008, and Law last presented in 2004.

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Looking for a comprehensive nominees list, trailers for the 10 Best Picture-nominated films, and an interactive ballot to predict winners in each of the 24 Academy Awards categories? There's an app for that! The Academy announced an update to their smartphone app which over half a million people downloaded last Oscar season! The Academy's director of marketing, Janet Weiss, says, "The Oscars App is designed to help movie fans connect with one another and share in the excitement of Hollywood’s biggest night."

The Oscars App is available for free from the iPhone and iPod Touch App Store, or online at www.itunes.com/appstore.

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