Elizabeth Banks -- star of "W" and "The 40 Year Old Virgin" -- is the latest Hollywood lovely to be mistress of ceremonies at the scientific and technical Oscars presentation. The kudo-fest takes place at the Beverly Wilshire on Feb. 20 with taped excerpts airing in the March 7 Oscar telecast. Perhaps Oscars co-host Alec Baldwin suggested Banks for the job as she just began a four-episode arc on "30 Rock" as his character's newest love interest.
Elizabeth Banks joins a roster of screen beauties who have emceed this part of the Oscars over the years. Last year, Jessica Biel presided and before that Jessica Alba (2007), Maggie Gyllenhaal (2006), Rachel McAdams (2005), Scarlett Johansson (2004), Jennifer Garner (2003), Kate Hudson (2002), Charlize Theron (2001), Renee Zellweger (2000) and Salma Hayek (1999).
The academy recognizes achievements on three levels: technical (a certificate), scientific and engineering (a plaque) and merit (an Oscar statuette). This year, there will be five sets of certificates handed out for technical achievement and 10 groups receiving plaques for their scientific and engineering feats but no actual Oscar awarded for merit.
For a full list of honorees and descriptions of their award-winning work, visit the Oscar website.
Photo: Alec Baldwin and Elizabeth Banks in a scene from "30 Rock." Credit: NBC