When word broke last week that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences was planning to have multiple hosts for the Oscars this year and that they'd be chosen in part on the basis of having "different strengths and a different generational appeal," it was easy to envision televisual disaster. This the just the kind of patronizing, ill-conceived demographic slicing that, not so long ago, might have resulted in a Sinbad nod and these days could spark worries of Miley Cyrus.
The situation isn't quite that grim, though, because the Academy's idea of "different generational appeal" evidently involves targeting both fiftysomething white men and sixtysomething white men. Yes, the ultra-dull inheritors of Hugh Jackman's role will be Steve Martin--last funny about 20 years ago--and Alec Baldwin, who, for all his "30 Rock" appeal has little hosting experience and will, in any case, doubtless be saddled with reams of painful banter with his co-host. The Ricky Gervais-helmed Golden Globes are looking better by the minute.
For anyone handicapping at home, the announcement can only be good news for Meryl Streep's (entirely deserved) Best Actress prospects for Julie & Julia: The actress, who last won an Oscar 27 years--and eleven nominations--ago, stars in the Christmas release It's Complicated as the object of romantic attention for two suitors played, not at all coincidentally, by Martin and Baldwin.