You may recall the 2011 Oscars — particularly that it was, uh … bad. And weird. Or, as Oscars writer David Wild told The Ringer, "like the world's most uncomfortable blind date between the cool rocker stoner kid and the adorable theater camp cheerleader."
Two of the era's most in-demand actors, Anne Hathaway and James Franco, played host for the evening — a confounding choice, at best.
According to writer Jordan Rubin, Hathaway "made herself readily available" in the months leading up to the telecast. Franco? Not so much. "He always seemed to be on a flight and it was very hard for me to get a hold of him," Rubin told The Ringer. "That was a red flag."
"It's almost like you're showing up to a tennis court and one person decided that they were going to play in the U.S. Open and the other wanted to play in jeans and just kind of hit a few balls," Rubin explained.
Wild remembered a moment of palpable tension during rehearsals when the Princess Diaries star gave her co-host a note. "Again, this is a memory, but [she] was like 'Maybe you should try that,' and he was like 'Don't tell me how to be funny,'" Wild said.
The telecast itself ran about as smoothly, with jokes and segments added and changed just days ahead of the ceremony. Many watching at home assumed that Franco was "stoned," but Rubin insisted he wasn't. "I don't even think he drinks."
Both parties later discussed the fateful hosting gig. Franco told Letterman he "honestly played those lines as well as I could," while Hathaway said that she'd come off as "slightly manic and hyper-cheerleadery on-screen."
The annual awards show has evidently learned from its mistakes. This year, for the third year running, the Oscars will go host-less.
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