When March 7 rolls around, the Oscars will have their usual hype and pomp, with stars and starlets lined up on the red carpet to glitter beneath the lights of Hollywood. Yet in an age increasingly defined by effects-dominated films such as 'Avatar,' the true stars of the industry may be gathering at a much smaller event this year: the Academy's Scientific and Technical Awards.

And perhaps in recognition of that shift, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that 'The 40 Year Old Virgin' star Elizabeth Banks will be performing the emcee duties for the ceremony, which is scheduled to be held on February 20th. The actress, who is currently appearing as a recurring guest star on the hit TV comedy '30 Rock,' is the latest in a long line of film beauties to lend their star power to the annual event, following Jessica Biel (2009) and Jessica Alba (2008) in that role. When March 7 rolls around, the Oscars will have their usual hype and pomp, with stars and starlets lined up on the red carpet to glitter beneath the lights of Hollywood. Yet in an age increasingly defined by effects-dominated films such as 'Avatar,' the true stars of the industry may be gathering at a much smaller event this year: the Academy's Scientific and Technical Awards.

And perhaps in recognition of that shift, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that 'The 40 Year Old Virgin' star Elizabeth Banks will be performing the emcee duties for the ceremony, which is scheduled to be held on Feb. 20th. The actress, who is currently appearing as a recurring guest star on the hit TV comedy '30 Rock,' is the latest in a long line of film beauties to lend their star power to the annual event, following Jessica Biel (2009) and Jessica Alba (2008) in that role.

While the Scientific and Technical Awards are considered somewhat too obtuse for your average filmgoer to appreciate -- for instance, Mark Wolforth and Todd Sedivy are slated to be honored for working on "the development of the Truelight real-time 3D look-up table hardware system" -- their contributions to the current state of cinema can't be overstated, especially in light of effects-dependent 'Avatar's' record-smashing run in the theaters.

Considering that fact, then, it's somewhat surprising that this year's honorees are not only relegated to their own side show (which, as usual, will be referenced during the main broadcast with a small clip package), but that none of them will actually be receiving Oscars. That's because, while the Academy has selected 15 honorees (a full list of which can be seen here on the official Oscar Web site), they have chosen to hand out certificates and plaques only this year, with none of the winners receiving one of the famed golden statues.

Personally, we think it might be wise of the Academy to give these behind the scenes wizards a little more respect in the future, because the work they do is changing the face of cinema, sometimes quite literally. So unless Hollywood's stars want to suddenly find themselves replaced by blue aliens in post-production, they might be better off letting the industry's true power players have their moment in the spotlight at the main event.

Just like they deserve.
CATEGORIES Movies, Oscars