Oscars writer: Franco wasn't high, just unprepared
March 22nd, 2011
01:02 PM ET

Oscars writer: Franco wasn't high, just unprepared

Viewers weren't the only ones who were critical of James Franco's Academy Awards hosting gig. Longtime Oscars writer Bruce Vilanch admits that even he thought Franco was a snooze during the ceremony.

"No, he wasn't high," Vilanch tells Vulture of Franco's lackluster performance. "I was with him, and he wasn't high. And I asked him, 'Are you high, and can I have some?' And he said no to both."

So what was the problem?

"I don't think he realized how big a deal it is to do it until he was actually confronted with it," Vilanch says. "I think he thought he would kind of ... I don't know what he thought. I thought maybe it was a performance-art prank, and then I realized he sincerely wanted to do it."

Vilanch believes the everywhere actor might have been a bit too busy beforehand to fully prep for his hosting job.

"He has so many balls in the air, he didn't get to town till Thursday before the show on Sunday," he explains. "And so we e-mailed a lot. But we had a lot of meetings. He had a bunch of people who were writing for him, and if it had been him alone, it would have been different. But it was him and Anne Hathaway, and they both had to be serviced. So there was a lot of communication beforehand."

Despite the constant contact, Vilanch feels that Franco flopped. "He didn't get there," he tells Vulture.

Meanwhile, Franco didn't seem to appreciate Vilanch's remarks. The same day the interview ran, the "127 Hours" star tweeted a picture of himself with Vilanch, over which he scrawled, "James Franco f—ed up the Oscars. Trust me, I know comedy. I mean, come on, I write for Bette Midler."

Vulture reports that Franco deleted the tweet shortly afterward.


soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Roger Rabbit

    Bring Billy Crystal back please!!!!!!!!

    March 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bill & Ted

    Dudes, just put the list of awards on the web. Cancel the tv show. Show cartoons instead! Wake & Bake time!

    March 23, 2011 at 6:18 am | Report abuse |
  3. Think about it?

    Honestly, I think that the Oscars are really not all that they that use to be. There aren't any real movies worth nominating or winning, and the older people don't go to the movies anymore because they aren't movies or theaters that cater to them. With that said, I understand why they chose those "young actors" because they are trying to reach the audience that actually goes to the the movies. Billy Crystal, and Whoppi Goldberg are OLD and out of touch with this techy generation, plus, half of the movies are geared to the YOUNG generation, I agree, Franco, wasn't "present" and Anne was just plain scared. Honestly, I think they should have a montage of Hosts...with today's comedians. The old people complaining about how the hosts performed are still the ones wishing Bogart and Sinatra was alive.

    March 23, 2011 at 5:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. Layla

    the only thing that bugs me bout him is he has sooooo much money, why dont he get his teeth whitend?

    March 23, 2011 at 2:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. Carm

    I believe Franco was kinda of out of his element. Probably had no idea what he was getting himself into. At least Anne Hathaway saved the evening. Oh well, at least Franco is extremely easy on the eyes!!! He is a brilliant actor.

    March 23, 2011 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. D

    Why couldn't he just host? He thinks he can do everything else...If you're prepared and get used to it, public speaking is not that bad I'd thought he'd be used to it by now...

    March 22, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. OMG! PUKE!

    Theres no reason for him to be unprepared. He knew he had the job far enough in advance to be ready. Not high. Just stupid. Her too. But if you saw any of the pre show commercials, you wouldve already have known what to expect. The commercials sucked, so why would the show be any different? We just expect too much from these actors, who are out of their element to begin with. Stick with people who are more suited to this type of work.

    March 22, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. The Big Lebowski

    I don't care if he was high, he wasn't funny. Get me another White Russian. The Dude Abides.

    March 22, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jespola

    Bring Billy Crystal back please!!!!!!!!

    March 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. SteveB

    Hollywood would eventually forgive his being high as an act of desperation in the face of nervousness/an act of blatant stupidity/addiction. But being unprepared – is unforgiveable to most at every level of the industry.

    March 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Superhiro

    Racism in caps? Yea, someone desperately needs attention.

    March 22, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Travis Y

    Like the situation on the Donald Trump Roast. Sad to watch. No duos anymore. Too much.

    March 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. @Eroc

    Sheen's too good for the Oscars.

    March 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mike Masters

    More cowbell!

    March 22, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Eroc

    My vote is for letting Charlie Sheen host next year. If the oscars are going to continue to be an annual snoozefest, at least give us some comedy in between naps. TI-GER BLOOD.. TI-GER BLOOD.. TI-GER BLOOD!!!!

    March 22, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Cindy K

    "They both had to be serviced". . . I'd like to coddled. How lame! It was your job – – take it seriously.

    March 22, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Tom D.

    It's "Anus" not "anis"...just a FYI
    And it's the "Oscars" not the high school prom.
    Let's not forget either that these are basicly a huge maketing gimmic, not the serious recognition it pretends to be. Look up how it started...to pump admissions up during the slower late winter/spring movie season. Why not have the sham-wow guy host? At least he'd keep it moving!

    March 22, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Tom D.

    It's "Anus" not "anis"...just a FYI
    And it's the "Oscars" not the high school prom.
    Let's not forget either that these are basicly a huge maketing gimmic, not the serious recognition it pretends to be. Look up how it started...to pump admissions up during the slower late winter/spring movie season.

    March 22, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Superhiro

    The last few years haven't been any better. Hugh Jackman? Really?

    March 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  20. ci ci

    i really could not figure out for the life of me why they never called Billy crystal or alec baldwin, whoppi goldberg or steve martin back. It was boring as hell. I think they were trying to appeal to younger audiences well, they both sucked, please never have them back if you care about ratings, as that was bad. I really do not care if the presenters are young, middle aged or old, they must have much more personality and talent than those two. I have more talent in my anis than those twol combined.

    March 22, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Superhiro

    Lol because I don't like the oscars? You fanboy.

    March 22, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  22. johnjaconjingleheimersh1

    I hope chris brown knocks out superhiro's teeth!!

    March 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Zipster257

    I agree with Mormon...heck, the only reason any hetero men should watch the Oscars is because of all the delicious cans on display!!!

    March 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Stem

    Chris Brown should host and then punch everyone as they accept their award.

    March 22, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • DanMan97

      Maybe he could co-host with Charlie Sheen - now THAT would be an event to remember!!

      March 22, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Superhiro

    But the oscars are silly so it doesn't matter. I mean who still has respect for that show honestly?

    March 22, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  26. portalpunk

    Franco is a pu55y

    March 22, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  27. The Truth

    I think Anne Hathaway had the opposite problem, she was way too excited. It looked like he was high and she was on speed. I think she is a great actress and person, but it seemed like she could not say something without woooing. She has the poise, elegance and personality to host these things by herself, but she needs to drop the woo girl bit.

    March 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • kkkkkatie

      I agree about the "wooing". It just wasn't the right event for that type of cheer. It made her come across as silly. I hope someone provided constructive feedback afterward. :-)

      March 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • SometimesElla

      I got the distinct impression that she was trying to compensate for his lack of energy. I think if he had been a little more...present...she might have toned down her own performance a bit.

      March 22, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  28. kkkkkatie

    I think the biggest issue is neither Anne nor James are talk show hosts or stand up comedians. They may be actors but aren't used to addressing large audiences for more than a few minutes at a time. Public speaking (I have been doing it for 10 years) isn't always easy, even when material is prepared in advance and you've been doing for a long time. I think Anne tried really hard and James thought he could BS his way through it without anyone noticing. It doesn't work that way. Anyone that is a public speaker will do you it's all about the prep work.

    I know the Oscar producers wanted to reach out to a younger audience but they should have tried to recruit a host that at least feels comfortable in that environment. It was obvious during the entire show that both were miserable and counting down the minutes until it was over. :-)

    March 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Mormon

    Maybe he was distracted by Hathaway's delicious cans?

    March 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Superhiro

    Sure he was terrible, but that only means he fit the show perfectly. The oscars are a joke and should be treated as such. I'm actually disappointed he wasn't high.

    March 22, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  31. WLM

    He was terrible and on that note, I think which ever university that hired him to teach a call (Columbia or NYU) should reconsider!!! Anne was not good either... They should get real comedians to host... Bring back Billy Crystal!

    March 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Head Diva In Charge

    I thought that Anne made the show. Poor Franco was in over his head. He is a really talented guy, but he seemed really out of it. Maybe that is just how he reacts to being nervous. I am thinking he won't be asked back though.

    March 22, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • DanMan97

      I wouldn't say she made the show - she was just better than he was (which wasn't hard). Overall, I thought they both flopped, and I can't imagine how they'd ever be invited back.

      March 22, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Eddie King

    Say, Eddie King really likes " Oscars writer: Franco wasn't high, just unprepared"

    March 22, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |

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