Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin are good, solid choices to host the Oscars, but it's hard to make sense of why they were tapped — and combined as a pair. Lately, Oscar chiefs have seemed eager to lure younger viewers and add song-and-dance entertainment to the ceremony. Martin is age 64, Baldwin is 51. Neither is known as a musical showman a la last year's emcee Hugh Jackman.
But they're both stars of the upcoming comedy directed by Nancy Meyers, "It's Complicated," which opens this Christmas featuring them as dueling love interests of Meryl Streep. If either nabs a bid for acting, he'll be the first Academy Awards host to be nominated while presiding at the ceremony since Paul Hogan was nommed for writing "Crocodile Dundee" as he hosted the Oscars with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase in 1987 (honoring films released in 1986).
That was the last time that the Oscars had multiple hosts, which rarely occurs nowadays. A trio also presided one year earlier — Alan Alda, Jane Fonda, Robin Williams. Notice that both of those examples included something missing from this year's combo: a woman. Why don't they add Meryl Streep to this year's mix? If they want a dash of musical panache, let's recall that the two-time Oscar champ recently crooned successfully in "Mamma Mia!" and earned one of her record 15 nominations for her singing performance in "Postcards from the Edge." Oh, wait -- that's right: last year there were reports that producers wanted her to join Hugh Jackman in a musical duet on stage, but she declined.
Photo: Scenes from "It's Complicated" (Universal)