Oscar has a secret.
The folks behind the 81st Academy Awards have hatched a new stunt ostensibly to lure millions of viewers to their television sets on Hollywood's Biggest Night—keep the A-list presenters a surprise.
A spokeswoman for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has confirmed that newbie producers Laurence Mark and Bill Condon have decided not to unveil the names until they walk onstage during the Feb. 22 ceremony at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre.
The move breaks from past tradition when the Academy issued press release after press release trumpeting the names of presenters in the weeks prior to the show. Organizers are hoping the mystery becomes a parlor game to gin up more excitement with its global audience.
At this point, the Academy is willing to do anything to boost ratings. Last year's Oscarcast, which saw Old Country for Old Men take home the Best Picture prize, was watched by 31.7 million people, the lowest rated ceremony ever. By contrast, 1998's ceremony which crowned Titanic drew 57.2 million.