With TV ads promising that this year’s show will be unlike any previous Oscars, it comes as no big surprise that the Academy would want to showcase some fresh faces from big movies – Twilight‘s Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner, Zac Efron and Disney sensation Miley Cyrus will all be on stage March 7, it was announced Monday afternoon. How’s 19-year-old Stewart preparing? “I’ve been looking at shoes," Stewart told reporters. "I’m trying to pick shoes that I know I won’t fall down in.”

In recent years, Oscar producers have been focused on drawing in a wider audience and giving the awards show broader appeal. Ratings for the telecast have slipped dramatically over the last decade – though last year’s show drew in a 13% larger crowd due to a revamping of the format. This year, the Academy has expanded the Best Picture category to include ten films – allowing it to incorporate more commercial films, like The Blind Side that, previously, would have been overlooked in spite of their success with the public.

The four younger presenters will lend a sense of balance to the program, which is being hosted by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, who most recently starred in It’s Complicated, a romantic comedy aimed at adults rather than their offspring. The rivalry for the Best Picture category between James Cameron’s Avatar and underdog The Hurt Locker, directed by his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow, seems like the perfect soap opera twist for the night.

Also creating buzz has been Baldwin’s recent trip to a New York hospital for somewhat mysterious reasons. Baldwin reportedly blamed his ex-wife Kim Basinger for their daughter, Ireland, calling 911 to report that Baldwin had taken a large amount of pills; Baldwin claimed it was a misundertsood joke. Ah, stay tuned for more drama as the countdown begins. –EMILIE LITTLEHALES


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