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) -- James Franco and Anne Hathaway will host the 83rd annual Oscar awards show, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today.

Last year's Academy Awards show, which was hosted by Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, earned its best ratings in five years. This year, the show's producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer likely chose the young actor and actress in an effort to attract a younger audience and increase ratings for


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"James Franco and Anne Hathaway personify the next generation of Hollywood icons -- fresh, exciting and multi-talented," the producers said in a statement. "We hope to create an Oscar broadcast that will both showcase their incredible talents and entertain the world on Feb. 27."

In 2008, Hathaway earned a nomination for best actress for her role in

Rachel Getting Married

. She is also known for playing the lead in comedies including

The Princess Diaries


The Devil Wears Prada

. Her most recent movie,

Love and Other Drugs

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, is in theaters now.

Many speculate that Franco will receive a nomination for best actor for his performance in the survival drama,

127 Hours


This year, 41.3 million viewers tuned in to the award show, up 14% from 36.3 million when Hugh Jackman hosted the show in 2009.

Cohen and Mischer hope the young hosts will liven up the award show and entertain a variety of viewers.

"We're really hoping this year to link what James

Franco and Anne

Hathaway are doing thematically to the show," Cohen said. "That they are the world's window in that they are the welcoming committee, but also the two people through the evening who are taking you through this journey of giving out 24 Oscars."

-- Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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