After almost all of "The Avengers" were on stage to present at this year's Golden Globes (out of costume of course), is it any surprise the Academy is bringing in some of the biggest superhero guns it can find to appear at this year's Oscar show?  Hugh Jackman is already in the mix, but now AMPAS has revealed Robert Downey, Jr. will return to present at the Kodak Theater as well.

A two-time nominee for "Chaplin" and "Tropic Thunder," Downey, Jr. is best known to moviegoers for his roles as Tony Stark, aka "Iron Man" and as the super sleuth Sherlock Holmes (with a sequel conveniently on the way).  Will this entice more young men to tune in this year?  Probably not, considering he also presented last year (with Tina Fey), but considering Jackman's hosting stint actually improved those TV demo rating numbers, it can't hurt to try.

And, don't forget, we're only 27 days away from the 83rd Academy Awards. How time flies...

In other Oscar news, the Academy has announced five special events the week before the big show.  Each screening and panel is open to the public and if you live in the LA area, the "Shorts!" panel in particular is not to be missed.

Tuesday, February 22, 7:30 p.m.  (Doors open 6:30 p.m.)
Shorts!  The 2010 Animated and Live Action Short Film Nominees
Hosted by Kenneth Branagh, actor, writer, director, producer and four-time Oscar nominee

This event features screenings of all of the 2010 Oscar-nominated films in the Animated and Live Action Short Film categories, plus an onstage discussion with the filmmakers (schedules permitting).

Find out more here.

 
Wednesday, February 23, 7:30 p.m.  (Doors open 6:30 p.m.)
Docs!  The 2010 Documentary Short Subject and Documentary Feature Nominees
Hosted by Michael Apted, director and former Documentary Branch governor

This program will include film clips from each of the nominated documentary features and short subjects and panel discussions with the nominees (schedules permitting).

Find out more here.

Thursday, February 24, 7:30 p.m.  (Doors open 6:30 p.m.)
Oscar-Nominated Animated Feature Symposium
Hosted by Tom Sito, animator and animation historian

The Animated Feature Symposium celebrates the nominated achievements in the Animated Feature Film category. The nominees (schedules permitting) will discuss their creative process and the development of their films, and present clips illustrating their techniques.

Find out more here.

Saturday, February 26, 10 a.m.  (Doors open 9 a.m.)
Foreign Language Film Award Nominees Symposium
Moderated by Mark Johnson, producer and Foreign Language Film Award Committee chair

The Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Nominees Symposium brings together the directors of the motion pictures nominated in the Foreign Language Film category to discuss their work and address such wide-ranging topics as art, politics and the challenges of their profession (schedules permitting).

Find out more here.

 Saturday, February 26, 2:30 p.m.  (Doors open 1:30 p.m.)
Oscar-Nominated Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Symposium
Hosted by Leonard Engelman, Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch governor

Oscar Week’s culminating public event celebrates the nominated achievements in the Makeup category with film clips, photographs, models and onstage discussions with the nominees (schedules permitting).

Find out more here.

Tickets to Shorts!, Docs! and the Animated Feature Symposium events are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID.  Tickets to the Saturday events – Foreign Language Film Award Nominees Symposium and the Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Symposium – are free.  Tickets will be available on Tuesday, February 1, online at www.oscars.org, at the Academy box office (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or by mail.  Doors open one hour prior to the event.  All seating is unreserved.