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Oscars 2011: Hosts James Franco And Anne Hathaway Are Closet Geeks

James Franco is a super-nerd!

This year’s Oscar hosts are, for a change, the kind of people I’d love to see my kids grow up to be.

James Franco and Anne Hathaway aren’t just famous movie stars. They’re actually really interesting people and great role models.

Franco is just a few months older than me, and few things have ever made me feel like more of an underachiever than reading his resume. Not only is he the host of this year’s Oscars, he’s one of the nominees for Best Actor, for his role in 127 Hours.

That’s not what made me feel like an underachiever, though. It’s that, while making movies that have rocketed him to international fame and critical acclaim, Franco has also done something I’ve always yearned to: pursued a Ph.D. in English.

He already has an MFA in writing from Columbia, and he’s currently seeking his Ph.D. from Yale. The man has four master’s degrees, primarily in writing but also in acting. He’s a mega-nerd. Who just happens to also be one of the hottest actors in Hollywood.

Then there’s his co-host, Anne Hathaway. She hasn’t chased down a Ph.D. while making movies like the critically acclaimed Brokeback Mountain and The Devil Wears Prada. But she is no slouch in the academic department. Hathaway is an alum of New York University, and attended Vassar before transferring to NYU.

Hathaway is also an impressive dramatic talent. She’s an accomplished stage actress as well as a movie star. Her work has been compared to Judy Garland and Audrey Hepburn. In addition to being well known for her work, she’s spent a lot of time doing charity work.

It’s a treat to see two young people acting admirably in the glare of such a bright spotlight. Hathaway in particular is a joy to hold up as an example for my kids: with her strong values and charitable track record, she’s like the opposite of Lindsey Lohan. After doing family films with Disney as a teen, she segued pretty smoothly into adult roles, and has continued to choose her roles according to her values.

My girls are too little to be watching the Oscars tonight, but we’ll be watching some of Hathaway’s early movies soon.

Photo: nick step

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