Snubbed Ben Affleck to present at Oscars

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Los Angeles - Ben Affleck will join the presenting cast for next week's Oscars, organisers said on Thursday, despite the perceived snub that saw him miss the best director nominees' shortlist.

Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, nominated for best actress for romcom Silver Linings Playbook, and Jessica Chastain, frontrunner for her role in Osama bin Laden manhunt film Zero Dark Thirty, will also present awards.

Affleck's Iran hostage crisis drama Argo is nominated for best picture Oscar - and could cause an upset for veteran Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, after sweeping up top prizes during Hollywood's awards season so far.

Stellar cast of presenters

But the actor-filmmaker was seen as having been snubbed when he failed to make the director nominees' list, announced in January. Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow was also left off, raising some eyebrows.

Nevertheless, being asked to present at the Academy Awards is hardly an invitation to refuse, especially with a film in the running for the top prize at the 85th Academy Awards, on 24 February.

Affleck, Lawrence and Chastain join an already stellar cast of presenters, including Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Mark Wahlberg and his foul-mouthed cuddly companion, Ted.

The Avengers cast members Robert Downey Jr, Samuel L Jackson, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo will also present, as will 2011 Oscar winners Jean Dujardin, Christopher Plummer, Octavia Spencer and Meryl Streep.

A musical theme

On Monday, the Oscar show's producers announced that the stars of Chicago - Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones - will reunite on the 10th anniversary of the film's best picture Oscar win.

Former Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe will also present, as well as Channing Tatum, Charlize Theron and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

The Oscars, the climax of Hollywood's annual awards season, have a musical theme this year, with highlights set to include Britain's Adele singing Oscar-nominated 007 theme tune Skyfall.

Shirley Bassey, Norah Jones and Barbra Streisand also will perform. It will be Streisand's first Academy Awards performance since 1977, when she sang the winning song from A Star Is Born.

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