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Posted at 4:00 PM ET, 02/15/2011

Oscars 2011: Who will make a cameo appearance in the opening number?

By Jen Chaney

We're less than two weeks from Oscar showtime. And that means the people behind the scenes are starting to leak tidbits to the media.

Specifically, producer Bruce Cohen tells Entertainment Weekly that the closely guarded James Franco/Anne Hathaway opening number will include "a very exciting and special guest star or two."

Naturally, that got our mental juices flowing. Who would be the perfect guest star -- or two -- to join our young Academy Awards hosts Feb. 27? Here are a few guesses, ranked on a scale from possible to totally never going to happen.

Meryl Streep and Sean Penn: What better, more special guests than a pair of multiple Oscar winners, both of whom previously co-starred in films with the hosts? Streep and Hathaway could reprise their adversarial "Devil Wears Prada" routine, and Franco and Penn could again become lovers as they were in "Milk" -- all for the benefit of a few quick, cheap laughs. Likelihood on a scale of 1 (least) to 10: 7

Julie Andrews: The ever-regal "Sound of Music" star -- and Hathaway's "Princess Diaries" mentor -- would be the ideal choice if the opener happens to involve giving Hathaway a "My Fair Lady"-like, Oscar host makeover. Likelihood on a scale of 1 to 10: 8

The cast of "General Hospital": Incorporating some soap stars into the mix would remind the Oscar audience that Franco is quirky enough to play his own twisted alter ego on the daytime drama. And, of course, it's a fab promotional opportunity for a show that airs on ABC, the network broadcasting the Oscars. Honestly, this sounded totally stupid when I first thought of it. But that cross-promo part makes it slightly less ludicrous, given how networks like to exploit their award show opportunities. Likelihood on a scale of 1 to 10: 2

The cast of "Freaks and Geeks": Bring out Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Linda Cardellini and the whole Judd Apatow gang to remind the Oscar audience how Franco got his start. This will never happen because the show aired on NBC and was canceled eons ago. Therefore, there is no promotional benefit. But would it be awesome? Totally. Likelihood on a scale of 1 to 10: 0

Hugh Jackman and Billy Crystal: Choosing Franco and Hathaway feels like a passing of the Oscar host torch. The producers would be wise to acknowledge that by literally showing past emcees giving their blessings to the plucky young duo. We already know Jackman will be there. And perhaps Crystal -- or even other Oscar vets, such as Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg or Jon Stewart -- would be willing to do a pop-in, either live or via a recorded segment. Likelihood on a scale of 1 to 10: 9

Which, if any, of these ideas sounds most appealing? Or do you have a better one? (Let me guess: It involves Lady Gaga and an egg.) Share your thoughts by posting a comment.

By Jen Chaney  | February 15, 2011; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  Awards Season, James Franco, Movies, Oscars  
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I think that a troupe of transvestite Bristol Palin impersonators should join in the dance.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | February 15, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Please, please, please, please: No Lady Gaga. This is motion pictures. Motion pictures. Movies. Cinema.

Posted by: dadinkel1 | February 22, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

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