Here’s What Really Happened When Anne Hathaway And James Franco “Bombed” While Hosting The “Worst Oscars In History” – BuzzFeed News

2011 Oscars Hosts Anne Hathaway And James Franco “Bombed”

“She was like, ‘Maybe you should try that.’ And he was like, ‘Don’t tell me how to be funny.'”

Posted on April 15, 2021, at 10:58 a.m. ET

The team working behind the Oscars telecast in 2011, which has since gone down as one of the more awkward nights in the award show’s history, have opened up about what was really happening behind the scenes at the time.

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To cast your minds back, the the Oscars that year saw organizers try their best to modernize the ceremony and appeal to a younger crowd, which is how Anne Hathaway and James Franco ended up hosting.

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The pair were enjoying career highs, with then-27-year-old Anne fresh from her role in Love & Other Drugs and soon to be nominated for the Oscar she would go on to win, while James, then 31, was nominated for Best Actor after starring in 127 Hours.

However, the night didn’t go as planned, with Anne and James appearing at odds with each other during the show, leading to a ton of awkward moments that made audiences and critics alike cringe.

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The Hollywood Reporter called it “one of the worst Oscar telecasts in history,” while LA Weekly said the night was “at best qualified as lazy, and at worst, totally embarrassing.”

“It was like the world’s most uncomfortable blind date between the cool rocker stoner kid and the adorable theater camp cheerleader,” David Wild, who was a part of the writing team that year, said in a recent interview with the Ringer. “I call it an incredibly dark significant comic event in my life.”

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According to Wild, there were rumors of friction behind the scenes between Anne and James, which apparently wasn’t made much better after Anne offered James an acting note.

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“Again, this is a memory, but [she] was like, ‘Maybe you should try that,'” he revealed. “And [James] was like, ‘Don’t tell me how to be funny.'”

Jordan Rubin, who was also hired to help put together the show, recalled the difference in energy between Anne and James from the outset, which seemed to contribute to the awkwardness.

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“She showed up ready to play and committed 110 percent,” he explained. “And he was a great guy but often looked like he had just woken up from a nap. It’s almost like you’re showing up to a tennis court and one person decided that they were going to play in the US Open and the other wanted to play in jeans and just kind of hit a few balls.”

And Megan Amram, then a stand-up comedian who was also drafted in to help out, noted that she thought the pairing was “random” from the beginning.

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“I thought that it sounded at the time like someone had run pop culture through an algorithm and spit out this thing on paper that sounded like it would appeal to the youth,” she said. “But in practice, it was very random.”

Talking about the preparation of the event itself, she went on: “A lot of stuff that made it into the show was written a few days beforehand. We wrote all these jokes, but I don’t think we ever landed on a tone or a cohesive feeling of what the show would be.”

Both Anne and James have both commented on their hosting gig over the years, with both pretty much just playing it off and not paying too much attention to the critics.

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“In the grand scheme of things, I got to have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Anne told Harper’s Bazaar a few months later. “I met great people, wore beautiful clothes. And I got to put on a show. I don’t see a downside. Anyone who disliked my personality probably disliked my personality before the Oscars.”

And in 2016, James, who actually asked Anne to host with him after she apparently declined, played the whole thing off as an experiment. He explained: “In the best-case scenario, even if I killed it, it’s not going to help my career, because that’s not what it’s based on. It was an experiment.”

You can read the Ringer’s full interview here.

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