Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Oscar® Update: Co-hosts named for ceremony

Next year's Oscars has a host! In fact, make that two hosts. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin will serve as co-hosts of the 82nd Academy Awards, Academy President Tom Sherak announced Tuesday.

This comes two weeks after Sherak announced Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman producers of the ceremony. (Good things must come on Tuesdays.)

“We think the team of Steve and Alec are the perfect pair of hosts for the Oscars,” said Shankman and Mechanic, quoted in the press release. “Steve will bring the experience of having hosted the show in the past and Alec will be a completely fresh personality for this event.


The news comes on the heels of Hugh Jackson, last year's musical-inspired host, announcing that he turned down an offer to host again (source). It was also announced that Ricky Gervais signed on to host the Golden Globes, airing Jan. 17 on NBC. Los Angeles Times columnist Patrick Goldstein called that "a crushing blow to the Academy Awards, which desperately needs some heat of its own to propel its show back into the must-watch-TV category" (source).

Goldstein said the Gervais announcement was a "wake-up call" for the Academy. He went on to say producers were leaning toward a multiple-host format and Goldstein said a good pairing would be Steve Martin and Tina Fey, who presented together last year. So, Goldenstein was almost right. Baldwin stars on "30 Rock" with Fey so he gets a silver star for his guesswork.

I am happy to co-host the Oscars with my enemy Alec Baldwin,” said Martin, who has hosted the 73rd (view opening monologue) and 75th Academy Awards, earning an Emmy nomination for the first stint. Only time will tell to see if Martin will bring along his banjo - he is currently touring with the bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers with songs from his album, “The Crow: New Songs for the Five String Banjo.”

Baldwin was quoted: “I don’t play the banjo but I’m thrilled to be hosting the Oscars – it’s the opportunity of a lifetime." Baldwin was nominated for an Academy Award in 2003 for his supporting role in “The Cooler.” He has won two Emmy Awards for his portrayal as Jack Donaghy on "30 Rock."

How did the producers pair Martin and Baldwin together? The two actors appear together, alongside Meryl Streep and John Krasinski, in the comedy "It's Complicated," due out Christmas Day. Martin guest-starred on "30 Rock" last season as a billionaire friend of Baldwin's character. Both also appeared together on "Saturday Night Live." Entertainment Weekly's Dave Karger seems pretty pumped about the combination: "And I for one say Hallelujah! They’re both adept comedians who’ll certainly play off each other well" (source).

Similar to the Academy returning to past traditions with 10 nominees for the Best Picture category, multiple hosts have shared the Oscar stage before. The first time this happened was on March 15, 1945, when Bob Hope hosted with John Cromwell at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Incidentally, it was the first year the Academy reduced the field to five for Best Picture. There were 21 other times in Oscar history when there was more than one host; most recently was for the March 1987 ceremony, where Paul Hogan, Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn emceed.

All eyes will be watching the pair in 124 days (on March 7, 2010) when the iconic golden statuettes are handed out.


Other news:
• The Academy announced Oct. 28 it will again be teaming up with mtvU the second annual “Oscar Correspondent Contest,” which will give college journalists the chance to win a trip to cover red carpet festivities and backstage activities at the 82nd Academy Awards. (View the promo.)

Now through Dec. 18, college students can submit a video at http://oscars.mtvu.com, showcasing their broadcast journalism skills and proving why they deserve to cover the Oscars. Similar to last year, all videos submitted must be from teams made up of one anchor and one videographer. The Academy and mtvU will select the top ten videos to be posted online at mtvU.com, where viewers will choose their favorite journalists from Jan. 20 through Feb. 10.

The three teams with the most votes will advance to the final round of online voting from Feb. 16 through March 2. The Grand Prize-winning team will be revealed on Saturday, March 6. The anchor and videographer will be awarded a spot on the red carpet, as well as credentials for access to backstage press rooms. The winning team’s coverage will be aired on MTV News and mtvU. The two finalist teams will receive bleacher seats along the red carpet and admission to an Oscar viewing party. View last year's coverage on Rethink.

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