UPDATE: Neil Patrick Harris tweets, “I will not be performing a duet with Martin Short to open the Oscars. Misinformation, I’m afraid. Should I maybe pull a Kanye, mid-show?”
EXCLUSIVE: Stop reading if you want to be surprised, but I know how the Oscarcast will get underway Sunday night. (That is, if Bill Mechanic and Adam Shankman don’t change their minds because of this spoiler.) The first 2 men on stage won’t be hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. Instead, the show will open with a silhouette of a pair of guys only … wait for it … they’re Neil Patrick Harris and Martin Short. Anything can change, but that unlikely duo has been rehearsing an original opening song and dance routine that is one of 2 big production numbers choreographed by executive producer Adam Shankman. (The other involves extreme street dancers who’ve performed on So You Think You Can Dance where Shankman is a judge and who’ll hoof to samplings from the Best Original Score nominees.) Though Harris is predominantly a TV star, he’s an awards show regular. Short also is a TV regular these days, but he has a long relationship with the broadcast’s musical director Marc Shaiman, who put together the opening number. In fact, Shaiman/Short collaborations go back to Saturday Night Live, and include The Martin Short Show and the one-man stage show Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me. I heard the producers had approached Robin Williams, but he declined.