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Posted at 3:00 PM ET, 02/18/2011

Oscars 2011: Five reasons the Academy Awards may be less predictable than usual

By Jen Chaney

Sure, Oscar looks boring. But he may have some life in him this year. (AP)

Every year, roughly one millisecond after the Academy Awards ceremony ends, the grumbling begins. The show was too long. The host wasn’t funny enough. The ceremony was boring.

Honestly, the only thing more predictable than what happens during the Oscars is the post-telecast whineapalooza. But there’s reason to be optimistic about the potential for surprises during this year’s broadcast, which airs Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. on ABC. Specifically, five reasons. And here they are.

1. James Franco: Anne Hathaway will undoubtedly do a fine job as Oscar co-host. But it’s her partner, Franco, who really intrigues us. (Given the number of times we've posted about him lately, we know this comes as a shock.)

The guy is both fearless and candid, which raises the odds he’ll say something delightfully unexpected on live television. In an interview with Vanity Fair he recently said: “If I host the worst Oscar show in the history of the Oscars, like, what do I care? You know what I mean? I’ll try my best.” We dig that attitude.

2. The Banksy factor: The underground graffiti artist with the mysterious identity is nominated in the best documentary category for “Exit Through the Gift Shop." So what happens if the movie wins? According to The Wrap, producer Jaimie D’Cruz will handle the accepting honors. But the Internet is buzzing with questions. Will Banksy show up? Will he leave a mark on the Kodak Theatre, as he apparently has been doing on L.A. buildings as the Oscars approach? Probably not, but the speculation is fun — not to mention great promotion for Banksy and the film.

3. A Melissa Leo upset?: The woman who brings Alice Ward to feisty, stubborn life in “The Fighter" is the presumed front-runner for best supporting actress. But after she recently rolled out her own for-your-consideration campaign in the trades, complete with self-commissioned glamour shots, some speculated she might not be a lock anymore. Could such pettiness stand in the way of rewarding a deserving performance? In Hollywood, anything is possible.

4. Presenters who could go off-script: During the Academy Awards, we viewers live for the trophy presenters who ad lib and say something memorable. Robert Downey Jr., Russell Brand: We’re looking at you.

5. Surprise guests in the opening number: Oscar producer Bruce Cohen recently teased that a special guest or two may show up in the splashy segment that kicks off the telecast. We’re guessing said guests may be hosts from the past who will pass a torch, perhaps literally, to Franco and Hathaway. But we won't know if we're right until Oscar night.

By Jen Chaney  | February 18, 2011; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Awards Season, Friday Lists, Oscars  
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Next: Weekend box office: 'Unknown' wins, 'I Am Number Four' is actually No. 2

Comments

I predict the telecast will run past the time alloted ... oh. it will also be boring as the Rockville Pike Google Steet View.

Posted by: CubsFan | February 18, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I predict the telecast will run past the time alloted ... oh. it will also be boring as the Rockville Pike Google Steet View.

Posted by: CubsFan | February 18, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

“James Franco ... 'If I host the worst Oscar show in the history of the Oscars, like, what do I care? You know what I mean?'

Yes we do, which is why I am extra-excited about not watching again this year.
- - - -
Border Enforcement + Immigration Moratorium = Job, Crime and Eco Sanity.

Posted by: tma_sierrahills | February 19, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I predict (and it's long overdue) that this year the entire Oscar Ceremony will be animated. May as well since all the winners are a given anyway..

Posted by: rufbeefdadsd | February 21, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

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