Worst Oscar Host: James Franco
It was a promising start. The montage was good. Alec Baldwin was good. Morgan Freeman was good. Their Billy Crystal-esque movie insertions were good. Kirk Douglas was good! More than good! So good he should have stayed!
Because goddamn as the night went on, the good disappeared, only to be replaced by a spaced out James Franco who could not seem to look at the camera (do they not teach that at film school?) and a Hathaway who overcompensated for her partner’s indifference by trying way too hard. I’ve read your emails and tweets, I know you are all hating on her right now, but I think HE has to own most of that. Because if you were her, and your co-host just f-cking gave up 15 minutes after the open, wouldn’t you at least giv’er to try and save it? SHE was the conscientious one. SHE wanted to do a good job. SHE cared more. Duana’s taking over on Hathaway later on. My point right now is that if we’re talking about who took a sh-t on his duties, yeah that would be him.
Franco looked bored. He looked disinterested. He looked like the job was beneath him, because it was only ONE job. You can’t host the Oscars and, like, make a sculpture or something. You can’t host the Oscars and go to class at Yale at the same time. Franco couldn’t multi-task. So that means hosting the Oscars is easy? Doesn’t require too much concentration? Whatever the reason, his f-cking attitude made for a loser show. Guess what Film School? We found something you failed at. Congratulations.
As for Hathaway, before Duana gets into her, what I will say is that I wish she would stop being the Woo Girl. Do we Woo at the Oscars when we’re the host of the Oscars? I liked it at the very end when she was with the school choir, but in between every introduction and award, Annie was irritating. Add that to Franco’s complete lack of effort and the energy was nothing if not awkward and I actually thought they were great together when I interview them the other day. This is the meangirling story. And f-ck him because now that you’ve seen him suck, it’s taken all the amazingness out of the meangirling story. If he’d been good, telling you that he meangirled me would be so awesome. It would have no other possibilities. It would have only one answer: they’re bitches. As it stands now, it turns out the meangirling was only just a simple ego overcompensation situation.
The interview happened at the Kodak Theatre during a break from their rehearsal. I was nervous. I was intimidated. It’s the Academy, you see. It’s the aura of it all. They really do run their sh-t like it’s royalty. The protocol is strict. They take themselves very seriously. Even the volunteer uniforms are impeccable. You are required to wait in a certain spot. You may not stray, not even two feet from your spot before someone is on your ass, asking politely, to get back into your spot. They don’t raise their voices. They use a very specific vocabulary: “the Academy asks that this, the Academy requests that this…”
I have been watching the Oscars all my life. Interviewing the hosts, two days before the show, inside the heart of the Kodak, it’s the closest I’ve come to that centre of the Academy universe. So yeah, I was tight, tense, and when it was my turn to talk to them, they knew it. I was too deferential, I was too eager, I was too accommodating. And James Franco decided to pick that apart.
Let me preface that by saying that Franco was being a dick to the interviewer who was just before me too. He was barely paying attention. Totally not present. So much so that the reporter actually said to him, jokingly, “Hey James, why are you so distracted, is there a pretty girl behind me or something?”
I happened to be standing behind the reporter. So every head in the room turned to me. Franco, in fact, hadn’t noticed me at all. I’m not telling you this because I want you to think I’m some kind of cheese. I’m telling you this so you know his state of mind. By the time my interview started, he already had something up his ass from the interview before. He was determined to prove that I was nothing.
You always open up with a general question to get the flow going. I asked them since they only just met when they both agreed to host what it was like the first time they got together, if they clicked instantly.
“Oh yeah, inst. Like, totally inst.”
Like “instantly” but with only the first syllable. Like shortening “definitely” to “def”. Inst.
That was supposed to be funny, I guess…? So they have their own secret language now? It got worse from there. He answered every question like there was an inside joke. And she went along with him, covering for him, because she – as we know now – was trying to make up for the fact that he’s a prick. She did light up though when we talked about clothes. She was sweet when she talked about getting advice from Hugh Jackman and Alec Baldwin. To bring him back into the conversation I wondered if he was able to fully experience both the host experience and the nominee experience or if he felt torn. His reply:
“Fully. (long pause). Experience. (long pause) Both. (long pause) Yeah.”
She laughed. At the time I thought she was laughing with him at me. Looking back now, she was laughing along because she didn’t want to make him worse. But, being polite, she would then try to make up for his lack by going super extra. At one point, I can’t remember how it came up, when she somehow realised we were from Canada, she looked me in the eye and said:
At the time, I interpreted this as sarcasm, like they were f-cking with me together for kicks. That would be the Meangirling. And a really good story – remember when Anna Wintour blew off me and Lara at the Costume Institute Gala? Remember when James Franco and Anne Hathaway meangirled me? But it turns out they didn’t. What I now realise is that she was trying to be nice, too nice, because she knew that he was being so f-cking rude. Which totally takes the bite right out of the story, though it doesn’t change the fact that he’s a dick. And that seems to be a unanimous opinion today. “Franco bombs” is a common headline. Ricky Gervais, you win.