As reported earlier, the Academy has chosen James Franco (a near nominee for 2008’s ‘Milk’) and Anne Hathaway (a 2008 nominee for ‘Rachel Getting Married’) as the hosts of the 2011 festivities.

This continues the Academy’s favoring of movie stars – this year’s hosts were Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, while 2009’s show was emceed by Hugh Jackman – as well as its desire to draw more and younger viewers to its annual telecast.

The choice is interesting and unconventional.  Movie stars have hosted before – think Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal and Goldie Hawn – but Franco and Hathaway are not exactly box office playas.  On the other hand, this might be a wise decision: Franco has a dry wit and is a likely Best Actor nominee for ‘127 Hours.’  Hathaway showed off her singing chops when Jackman hosted (and she will likely sing again) and is also a possible Best Actress contender for this year’s’ Love and Other Drugs’ – although, given that movie’s disappointing box office performance, she is not as likely to be nominated as Franco.

One thing’s for certain: their performance as Oscar hosts will likely determine who gets the job in the future.  It could also help their careers.  The likelihood of it hurting them are slim, unless they have several Uma-Oprah moments.  Uma…. Oprah…. ?