UCLA grad James Franco gets nominated for the Best Actor Oscar, for his disarming performance in “127 Hours”

Maybe no Bruin will win the Heisman Trophy any time soon, but a Bruin may win the Academy Award for Best Actor, in about 777 hours.  James Franco — yes, the frenemy from “Spiderman” and the stonerdude from “Pineapple Express” — is one of 5 nominees for this year’s Best Actor Oscar, for his role in “127 Hours.”  Franco, who will also be co-Hosting the Awards, enrolled at UCLA in 1996, dropped out after his Freshman year to pursue an Acting career, but then returned to Westwood in 2006 to re-enroll.  Franco earned his Bruin degree soon thereafter, compiling a 3.5+ GPA in the process.

Franco was even chosen to deliver UCLA’s commencement address at a recent graduation, but a pre-production scheduling conflict forced him to regretfully cancel the engagement.  There is some speculation about Franco’s REAL motivation for cancelling, because there was some student opposition to his being selected in the first place.  Apparently, they didn’t want a guy who was so convincing as a total stoner to be ushering them into the professional world.  Maybe those angry students wouldn’t have been so up in arms if Franco had already been nominated for an Academy Award.

Speaking of up in arms, “127 Hours” is the true story of a hiker who had to amputate his own arm to extricate himself from a crevice that he had accidentally fallen into.  The scene was so intense, that audience members around the Country were actually passing out in the theaters.  The movie has been nominated for a total of 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and right after it was released, Franco became an intstant front-runner for Best Actor.  However, “The King’s Speech” got 12 noms, including Colin Firth for Best Actor.  Firth just won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor over Franco, so he would have to be considered the Favorite to win the Oscar, with Franco as the 2nd most-likely winner.

Of course the Oscars are not quite as bought and paid for as the Globes, so anything could happen — just ask Marisa Tomei.  It all depends on whether the voters passed out before they could watch Franco’s entire performance.

And speaking of award-winning performances, here are 18 photos of the UCLA Spirit Squad, most from 2007, when they were presenting trophies to other worthy Bruins at the BeatSC Bonfire.