James Franco looks back at hosting the Oscars
Actor James Franco got roundly criticised for his stint hosting the Oscars. But now, he’s putting forward his side of the story…
It caused some surprise when it was originally announced that it was a pair of non-comedian actors who were set to host the 2011 Academy Awards earlier this year. And when the show itself came around, Anne Hathaway and James Franco attracted some less than pleasant reviews.
Hathaway, to be fair, came out of things quite strongly. But Franco was the target for much of the critical ire aimed at the show.
Chatting to Playboy, Franco has now been telling his side of the story, though, arguing that he said to the producers of the show, "I don't know why you hired me, because you haven't given me anything. I just don't think this stuff's going to be good."
In particular, he argued that the moment when he appeared in drag, as Marilyn Monroe, was a low point. He revealed that the idea behind the skit was that he was going to go on stage to sing as Cher, on the assumption that her song from the movie Burlesque would be Oscar nominated. When it wasn't, the song was cut from the show. But the drag sequence remained in.
"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 went on. "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."
Responding to the specific criticism that he looked disinterested while hosting the awards, he cited the fact that Anne Hathaway was "going the enthusiastic route", and that he's been trained to respond to what others are doing. "I thought I would be the straight man and she could be the other, and that's how I was trying to do those lines," he explained.
It certainly throws a different complexion on one of the most criticised Oscar hosting stints of recent times (certainly since David Letterman took the reins), and it's probably fair to assume that Franco won't be back to host the awards next year (expect the Academy to pick a comedian). He did add, "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."
And if what he's said was all true, it's hard not to feel some sympathy for him.