Poor James Franco. Not only was he widely panned for being the suckiest Oscar host that ever sucked ("distracted"—New York Times; "disinterested"—Hollywood Reporter; "probably incredibly baked"—everyone who watched the Academy Awards), it turns out he knew ahead of time just how embarrassing his performance was going to be. According to Franco, he bombed on stage not because he was bombed, but because he was given bad material.
Franco says that while Judd Apatow originally contributed some funny material for the Oscar hosts, producers ultimately chose not to use it. (Probably because it was offensive as hell, and everyone was still freaking out about Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes.) By the time Franco started doing run-throughs of the live show a week before it aired, he realized how bad things were. He claims he tried to warn the Oscar execs, telling the producer:
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.
If you thought the part where he came out on stage dressed like Marilyn Monroe was profoundly, painfully lame, Franco agrees with you. Apparently the original plan was for him to dress like Cher and sing with her onstage, but when Cher failed to receive a nomination for best original song, someone came up with the Marilyn gag instead. While Franco says he considered sabotaging the routine by deliberately falling and tearing his dress (?), he reluctantly agreed to to the skit:
I just didn't want to fight anymore, even when they said, "You'll come out as Marilyn Monroe. It'll be funny." Me in drag is not funny.
As for why he appeared so stoned mellow next to Anne Hathaway, he claims he was just trying to be the straight man to her enthusiastic performance—but mostly that he felt "trapped in that material."
You know, I can kind of see where he's coming from with all this. No one likes to be asked to do something that's lame and unrewarding, and I'm sure we can all identify with the feeling of putting in a half-assed effort as a result of being unmotivated.
On the other hand, it seems like those situations always involve two potential scenarios. You either drag your feet and do a crappy job because the whole thing is so stupid anyway, GOD, or you suck it up and do your best with what you've got. I'd guess that Anne Hathaway took the second route, and while she may have been mocked for being overly perky, I give her way more credit for getting up there and working her ass off. Franco earned his "Participant" badge, but that's about it.
I can understand his desire to whine about how it wasn't his fault, especially since he got so many poor reviews for his performance, but I'd have respected him more if he'd just laughed it off. Also, I can't imagine it helps an actor's career if they complain that they weren't able to rise above their material.
What do think about Franco's Oscar explanations? Do you think he was justified in blaming the writers?
Image via Flickr/everydaypants