Wait, we’re still talking about the Oscars? Take a time warp back a few months to the Kodak Theater and you might remember an extremely awkward awards show hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway. While it was an interesting move by the Oscar producers to enlist two younger hosts, presumably in a bid to engage a younger audience, they kept their stock staff of terrible writers on hand resulting in a show that was woefully unfunny and resorted to cross-dressing to try and wring some kind of laughter out of the easy audience there looking for a good time. Well, in an interview in Playboy (not online, via 24 Frames) Franco addresses the fiasco and admits that he knew the show was doomed.
“I was going with their program; I wanted to do the material they gave me, not be one of the many cooks doing the writing,” he said. “There were a lot of cooks who shouldn’t have been cooking but were allowed to. There were some cooks my manager tried to bring in, like Judd Apatow, who wrote some very funny stuff that wasn’t used.” Of course, the history between Franco and Apatow doesn’t need to be reiterated, but it’s interesting to note that the director hosted the Producers Guild Awards and did a sketch (see below) with Franco in which he tried to impart some hosting advice to the actor which played during the ceremonies.
And that’s not all. Franco also said, “I felt kind of trapped in that material. I felt, ‘This is not my boat. I’m just a passenger, but I’m going down and there’s no way out’ ” adding that he was “pissed” about having to do that Marilyn Monroe routine.
This isn’t the first time Franco has talked about the Oscars — he famously told David Letterman that the reason he looked stoned on stage was due to Hathaway’s energy which he compared to the Tasmanian Devil. Either way, it looks like Franco admirably went down with the ship but in hindsight, it looks like he was simply taking a wet blanket approach rather than trying to at least match Hathaway’s swing for the fences with the material. In any event, tossing out contributions from someone like Apatow is bound to get people talking — we can’t imagine it was any worse than what they had — and only raise the stakes more for next year’s ceremonies. For whoever is tasked with the hosting job next year: good luck.