At 28, she will be the youngest host ever. Franco, 32, is also up for an Oscar -- his first -- for his leading role in "127 Hours." Still, with the big show days away, they seem completely at ease, joking with each other, dispelling some show rumors and even starting others.
"We're dating," Franco quipped.
The two actors took time out from rehearsals Thursday for a lightning round of back-to-back three-minute TV interviews, and while they refused to reveal anything specific about what they'll be doing on the show, they did spill a few secrets.
-- The show's writers have given them a celebrity nickname: Francaway.
-- When asked who she'll be rooting for on Oscar night, Hathaway said that, as hosts, they're not allowed to have favorites. "James can't even root for himself," she said. Added Franco: "Yeah, screw that guy."
-- Franco said he will try to tweet during the show.
-- Though they had never worked together before, both said their chemistry was instantaneous. Said Hathaway: "I've been thinking of having chemistry with James Franco for years."
-- Seriously, though, Hathaway said she has been inspired by working with her co-host. "James has really made me question what it means to be an actor and an artist," she said, describing him as "an entirely original mind." "James doesn't allow anything to be conventional or cliched."
-- Franco isn't worried about the pressure of the big show. "Nobody thinks I'm Chris Rock or Billy Crystal," he said. "I can try anything and nobody has high expectations, so nobody cares if I'm not great."
-- Both are thrilled at the chance to host the Academy Awards. Franco said he moved to Los Angeles about 10 years ago -- the same time the Oscars moved into the Kodak Theatre: "I remember every Oscar season, I'd be driving by and probably getting in a traffic jam because they closed off Hollywood Boulevard or whatever and just feeling like, 'Wow, that was it, that was the top.' So it's nice to be here."
Hathaway said hosting the show is an honor. "I love the Oscars. I do. I think it's wonderful. I love being an actor. I feel like the luckiest girl in the whole wide world, and this is just a continuation of the amazing fortune and remarkable and unusual experiences I've gotten to have in my life. I couldn't be more grateful."
The Academy Awards will be presented Sunday at the Kodak Theatre and broadcast on ABC.