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Oscars arm candy: Will you watch James Franco and Anne Hathaway?

If you're trying to attract young viewers to a traditionally snooze-inducing Oscar ceremony, picking Anne Hathaway and James Franco as hosts isn't a bad idea.

Just look at them.

Franco, 32, a best actor nominee for his work in "127 Hours," and Hathaway, 28, who bared all for "Love and Other Drugs," are two of Hollywood's most popular stars. They're smart, dynamic—and hot. And their combined age—60—is younger than that of just one of last year's hosts, 64-year-old Steve Martin.

But are they enough to suck in viewers for the 83rd Academy Awards, beginning at 7 p.m. Sunday on ABC? Oscar producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer are counting on it. Tapping the unlikely duo is just one of several tweaks they've made to the broadcast this year, but it's the most dazzling to be sure.

Franco and Hathaway were generating buzz for the show almost as quickly as the announcement they would host was made. And despite not being comedians, they've been getting laughs in a series of ABC promos. The pair is shown at "Oscar Boot Camp" training for the hosting gig: Franco runs a race through gown-draped mannequins and Hathaway speed reads from a Teleprompter. In the funniest clip, Franco screams "Wardrobe malfunction!" and tackles Hathaway when her dress strap falls.

The promise of a wardrobe malfunction by either host definitely would attract viewers, but enough of my wishful thinking. What we can expect to see is a little song-and-dance, which could be just as fun—if not as fantasy fulfilling. Franco on Wednesday tweeted a link to a YouTube video showing he and his co-host rehearsing an homage to the "You're the One That I Want" carnival scene from "Grease." Another "leaked" video shows Hathaway singing "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" from "Evita" before switching to Wreckx-N-Effect's "Rump Shaker's" and, well, shaking her rump. (Watch those Oscars promos here.)

It would seem both hosts are up to try anything, except Ricky Gervais-style jabs at the stars in attendance.

"I can guarantee that if you're looking for someone to call people out, we're not your hosts," Hathaway told The Hollywood Reporter. "I think that humor is really difficult to pull off, and I'm not particularly adept at it. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing it. Also, I don't mean to sound overly serious, but I am the youngest host in history and I have no business being cynical or calling anyone out. I certainly haven't earned the right to do that."

Personally, I much preferred Gervais' verbal bombardment of attendees at this year's Golden Globes ceremony—but I'm not a nice person. I like seeing Hollywood—all glammed up and self-congratulatory—get skewered by someone with sharp wit.

The producers seem completely put off by the Gervais style to the point of being afraid of even a little irreverence. They apparently nixed Franco's very funny idea to dress as Cher did in "Burlesque" and sing the ballad, "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me." OK, the song wasn't nominated, but how funny would that be?

Still, the multi-talented and witty Franco is bound to sneak something unexpected into the proceedings. Remember when he told Vanity Fair, "If I host the worst Oscar show in the history of the Oscars, like, why do I care?" And he displayed a healthy willingness to mock himself during the interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

"Nobody is shy about saying Colin Firth is going to win," Franco said. "I've accepted that. By hosting, it makes it easier to ... not feel like a total schmo."

No matter what happens Sunday, this swoon-inducing pair will be anything but schmos. Break an arm, you two! Um, I mean break a leg.

MAJOR CHANGES TO THE SHOW
James Franco and Anne Hathaway aren't all that's new about this year's Oscar ceremony. Here are five other changes producers have made. (Source: The Hollywood Reporter)

Mominees
To humanize the show, producers enlisted some nominees' mothers to participate in pre-show activities. There also will be live-tweeting and audience participation during the telecast.

Virtual reality set
The traditional set has been jettisoned for a virtual reality set. "Projections" will help Franco and Hathaway take viewers through Hollywood history with six or seven scenic transitions.

No movie montages!
Last year horror films were saluted. This year, only nominees will be.

Testimonials
Five presenters will no longer offer tribute testimonials about each of the best actor and actress nominees.

Nominated song performances
Scrapped last year, performances are back. Randy Newman will sing "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3;" Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi will perform a duet on "I See the Light" from "Tangled;" Gwyneth Paltrow will do "Coming Home" in "Country Strong;" Florence Welch from Florence + the Machine will team with A.R. Rahman for "If I Rise" from "127 Hours." (Dido, who sang the song for the film, was not available.)Copyright © 2018, CT Now

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