One nomination that shocked no one, though, was James Franco's nod for Best Actor; his harrowing performance in '127 Hours' instantly made him a front-runner in the category. But with the nomination, Franco has been put in a peculiar position: The versatile actor will be pulling double duty as the co-host of the ceremony.
Peculiar, but not unique. Franco joins a short list of Oscar hosts who have also been up for awards the same year. So, how well did previous overachieving creative types fare when it came to taking home the gold?
Let's glance back at the other nominees* who doubled as hosts, and see whether the Academy rewarded them for their troubles.
Oscar Hosts Who Won
1. Frank Capra, 'You Can't Take It with You' (1938)
Category: Best Director
Capra, who was Academy president at the time of the 1939 ceremony, had already won two directing accolades at the Oscars earlier in the '30s (the others were for 'Mr. Deeds Goes to Town' and 'It Happened One Night'), and had hosted the ceremony once previously (in 1936). But the stars aligned at the 1939 ceremony, making Capra the first Oscar host to also win an award, for 'You Can't Take It With You,' which scooped up the Best Picture prize.
2. David Niven, 'Separate Tables' (1958)
Category: Best Actor
Niven was one of six hosts at the 1959 ceremony (the others being Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Sir Laurence Olivier, Tony Randall and Mort Sahl), which was to become one of the most infamous in Oscar history. The show's producer valiantly began cutting musical numbers to ensure that the show ran to time, but he cut too much material -- resulting in the ceremony ending 20 minutes earlier than planned.
3. Bob Hope (1952)
Category: Honorary Award
Hope's inclusion may be slightly tenuous, since he wasn't nominated for any of the official Oscar categories in this particular hosting year, but he was given an honorary award "for his contribution to the laughter of the world, his service to the motion picture industry, and his devotion to the American premise." In total, Hope hosted the Academy Awards a whopping 17 times, and if that isn't deserving of an accolade, we don't know what is.
Oscar Hosts Who Lost
1. Michael Caine, 'Sleuth' (1972)
Category: Best Actor
Caine was one of several high-profile actors hosting the ceremony in 1973 (his co-hosts were Carol Burnett, Charlton Heston and Rock Hudson). But he lost out to Marlon Brando and his seminal performance in 'The Godfather'. Unfortunately, this was also the year that Brando boycotted the ceremony in protest of the treatment of Native Americans in the film industry. We have a feeling that Caine might have had a less controversial speech in mind.
2. Walter Matthau, 'The Sunshine Boys' (1975)
Category: Best Actor
As the ceremony grew ever larger, the number of hosts showed no signs of dwindling -- Matthau was joined in hosting duties by Robert Shaw, George Segal, Goldie Hawn and Gene Kelly. Still, he failed to scoop up the Best Actor prize, an honor that went to Jack Nicholson for his unsettling performance in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.'
3. Paul Hogan, 'Crocodile Dundee' (1986)
Category: Best Original Screenplay
Yes, Paul Hogan is really an Oscar nominee, and yes, the word "G'day" was used; sadly, the Aussie lost out on a screenplay award to Woody Allen's 'Hannah and Her Sisters'. Joining him in hosting were Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn -- man, we miss the 1980s.
Time will tell whether Franco will become the fourth Oscar host to take home a shiny statuette -- but with Colin Firth cleaning up at many of the preliminary awards ceremonies, we're not holding our breath. Still, we can't resist saying that Franco might give his arm for an upset.
The 83rd Academy Awards ceremony will be held February 27, 2011.
[*A note about our list: A number of other outlets are citing seven previous nominee/hosts. They seem to be including Glenn Close and Jeff Bridges, who were nominated for awards at the 1985 ceremony. But according to the official Oscar site, Jack Lemmon was the sole host that year. Bridges and Close may have been part of the ceremony as award presenters, but until we uncover evidence to the contrary, we're sticking with the six previous nominee/hosts we were able to confirm, and welcome any Oscar buffs out there to comment with the names and dates of any other hosts we might have missed.]