What Crazy Surprises Can We Expect from the 2011 Oscars?


This year, the Academy Awards need to go big or go gently into that good night, lest they be upstaged by the Golden Globes — which earned stellar ratings last month, probably due Ricky Gervais’s “Who will he offend next?” hosting style. But the Oscars have plenty of opportunities to maintain their relevance, with Hollywood’s biggest wild card, James Franco, on emcee duties and a decent chance at some mischief from Banksy. After the jump, we predict what might be in store on Sunday night’s telecast.

Banksy hijacks the show. A few weeks ago, we learned that the Academy was terrified at the thought of a masked Banksy (whose film, Exit Through the Gift Shop, is nominated for Best Documentary) showing up and storming the Oscar stage. And yesterday, it was reported that the street artist had been unceremoniously barred from the ceremony. But just now, we’re learning that Academy president Tom Sherak may not be planning to ban Banksy. They’ve merely suggested that he come unmasked, if at all. If he does turn up in a monkey mask, however, “I’m not gonna stand up to stop him,” Sherak told the Hollywood Reporter . “Nobody is, that’s not what we do.” We’re not sure what’s going to happen, but we’ll be disappointed if Banksy doesn’t pull some kind of prank.

James Franco performs Cher’s Burlesque anthem, “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me.” He did, after all, tweet a hilarious audio clip of himself incompetently belting it out (and then, sadly, had to take it down). In order to make the number Oscars-ready, he’s going to have to jazz it up a bit. Perhaps he’ll bring in the awesome P.S. 22 chorus to drown him out?

Aron Ralston rappels off a giant Oscar statue and stage dives into the crowd. The daredevil mountaineer Franco portrayed in 127 Hours is slated to attend the ceremony. And, in a new Hollywood Reporter interview, Franco admits Ralston may play a part in the evening’s festivities: “Aron is full of surprises. I’m sure he’ll find his way into the show.”

Two words: Kalup Linzy. The Academy Awards telecast is all about big, silly production numbers — just the kind of thing that Brooklyn performance artist Kalup Linzy is wonderful at sending up. Seeing as Franco and Linzy are close friends and collaborators, we can imagine seeing the awesome art star take the Oscar stage by storm. Maybe he’s the one who will be singing Cher’s ditty?

Anne Hathaway pulls a Ricky Gervais. We know everyone’s counting on Franco to give us something to talk about Monday morning. But what if they pull the ultimate switcheroo? What if he plays it straight and Hathaway goes the mean-girl route, á la Gervais at the Golden Globes? This sounds unlikely, but hey — we’ve seen Rachel Getting Married, and we know Hathaway can go dark if she wants to.