Today's announcement of the first wave of presenters and performers at the 80th annual Oscars included both the expected (all four of last year's acting winners will be on hand) and the somewhat surprising (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in a tux).
It is easy enough to predict that last year's Oscar-winning quartet of actors will be bestowing awards on their opposite sex counterparts this year (i.e., Forest Whitaker will hand out best actress, Helen Mirren best actor, and Alan Arkin and Jennifer Hudson the supporting gongs). In a year when so many of the winners seem obvious, it is more of a guessing game to figure out who will be giving them their awards.
While a trio of two-time Oscar winners are scheduled to appear -- Tom Hanks (an Academy governor to boot), Denzel Washington, and Hilary Swank –- it could well be Harrison Ford who hands out the best picture award. He has done it twice in the past –- first in 1993 when his pal Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List" won as expected and then in 1998 when Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" was pipped at the post by "Shakespeare in Love." Hanks has handed out this honor only once, in 2001, when his pal Ron Howard's "A Beautiful Mind" prevailed.
With Martin Scorsese there to possibly present best director, Hanks could be handling the "In Memoriam" segment or perhaps a tribute to the first eight decades of the Academy. Regardless, it would be surprising of these double Oscar winners — along with a pair of one-time winners who are nominees this year, George Clooney and Cate Blanchett, and previous winners Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger -- did not dole out the top tier of prizes. Washington and Swank could preside over the screenplay awards while Kidman and Zellweger, one-time co-stars in "Cold Mountain," present best foreign film and "The Good German" stars Blanchett and Clooney could award cinematography and editing.
For Clooney, the other option might be to present the clip from best picture contender "Michael Clayton." With Josh Brolin there for "No Country for Old Men," James McAvoy "Atonement," and Jennifer Garner "Juno," only "There Will Be Blood" is without a representative.
Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz seem like a good fit for costume design and art direction while another beauty, Jessica Alba, will be recapping the technical Oscar ceremony she presided over last weekend.
Could "Hairspray" co-stars Queen Latifah and John Travolta be handing out best song? Other probable pairings are "Get Smart" stars Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway as well as "Knocked Up" duo Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl.
Also on hand will be Jonah Hill who appeared in almost every hit comedy last year including that one, as well as "Superbad" and "Walk Hard." And box office stars Johnson and Miley Cyrus clearly represent the business side at this show.
Finally, "Enchanted's" Patrick Dempsey could be introducing the song suite that includes performances by his co-star Amy Adams as well as Kristen Chenoweth, Marlon Saunders and Jon McLaughlin. And Dubliner Colin Farrell could be welcoming "Once" stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova who will perform their nominated song, "Falling Slowly."