James Franco talks Oscars and why he took the job: 'Well, why not?': EW exclusive

FrancoImage Credit: Christopher Smith/PR PhotosNews that James Franco would be co-hosting the Academy Awards surprised some people, but no one more than Franco himself. The actor told EW that Oscar producer Bruce Cohen, who previously worked with him on Milk, had told him that he was hoping the actor would do something for the ceremony, but Franco never expected the “something” would be hosting the whole shebang with Anne Hathaway. “When he asked me to host, I was very, very surprised, and my initial reaction was ‘No,'” Franco said. “Then I thought about it and I thought, well, why not? Because I’ll look bad? Well, I don’t care.”

He admits that another part of his rationale for accepting the gig was the knowledge that other people thought it was a bad idea, mainly because he was in contention for a Best Actor nomination. “When we finally met and discussed it in person, all my representatives were saying, ‘No! Of course not!'” he remembers. “So that always sparks something in me. So I said, ‘Yes, of course!’ Because that reaction that they have is based on conventional wisdom of what makes a good career. And that can be boring — really boring.”

What exactly will he be doing on stage at the Kodak Theatre on Feb. 27? The producers are keeping mum, and Franco doesn’t exactly know quite yet, but he says he isn’t nervous about it. “I’m front and center, but … I feel confident.” And even if it doesn’t go over as well as they hope, Franco’s not worried. “I’m happy to take the criticism. Even if it’s ‘The Worst Oscars Ever,’ I don’t care. It’s one night of the year.”

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  • ed

    Dont worry James not many people going to watch the Oscars anyway. The rating has been going down since they are so boring.

    • AM

      Actually ratings were up last year. And they will probably go up again because he is hosting.

      • Freddie

        The last Oscars worth watching was when Lord of the Rings The Return of the King swept the Oscars, and in all fairness the other two movies in the trilogy should have won best picture as well, Hollywood just does not want to admit it

    • Stephanie

      I always have to laugh when I hear this. Giving out awards is never that exciting. Either you like award shows or you don’t. Everyone wants something different, like short speeches, showing only pretty people, no songs, more songs, etc. It’s impossible to please everyone. If it’s boring, don’t watch. For the rest of us, we will have our EW ballots filled out and watch the preshow red carpet coverage.

      • Larry

        Amen, Stephanie. I hate when producers try to remake the Oscars every year to “shake it up.” The people that never watched before won’t suddenly start watching if some of the changes they’ve made in the past are implemented.

    • M

      Speak for yourself; I LOVE the Oscars!

      • jasmine

        ME TOO!

      • Cate

        Me Three!

    • FromChicago

      Heck, he knows the reason he took the job — it pays $1Million!!!

  • Marlene

    I kinda dig that. He’s a risktaker and an opportunity was offered to him that might lead to complete failure or surprising success. I wish him good luck.

    • DTO

      The fact that he still got nominated for an Oscar after “slumming” it in soap operas long after he’s become an established name speaks to howwell liked and successful he is anyway. He could guest-host Jerry Springer and people’d still think he was a big deal right now.

      • Joe

        I agree, but the nominations haven’t been announced yet. I’m sure he’ll get one.

  • Carole

    Let your heart not be heavy.

    Who is going to see you when all eyes hath a way to look at Anne

    • Rob

      Carole, let me be Franc-o. Oscars = Gay Super Bowl. While we gays might be interested in who designed Anne’s dress, we’ll be plenty gazing at her co-host…

      • Heather

        No Rob, the Tony Awards are more geared towards the LGBT community (although some straight people DO still enjoy live theatre). The Oscars are geared towards stodgy old farts in New York and Los Angeles.

      • Joe

        Rob, Agreed! James Franco…sigh.

      • rob

        Not if looks like that picture EW used!

  • Bill W.

    For all of you Oscar haters out there – last year’s ratings had actually improved over the previous year. Also, the Oscars are the second-most-watched program in the United States, after the Super Bowl.

    • DTO

      True, but the Super Bowls are usually overhyped blowouts as well.

  • Sharkey

    Hopefully he will find a comb before the ceremonies…

    • mike

      …and a razor.

      • Jack Scribe

        I think the vintage porn moustache is for a current movie he’s filming. The guy knows how to groom – remember he’s the face of Gucci men’s fragrances.

  • whatevs

    Way to get the absolute worst picture of him in existence.

    • Brigid

      I think it’s pretty difficult to make him look bad in general, so this picture is just… no.

    • lauren

      I’ve seen him look better, but it’s impossible for James to look bad. He looks gorgeous in anything he does.(:

    • asdf


  • bruno

    i love this guy.
    everyone says no, so he says yes. he’s very right.

  • jasmine

    i love james franco and i am super excited for the oscars this year! but seriously ew, was that the only picture you could find of him!? that is thee worst picture of him i have seen! you should replace it with the ones from this weeks magazine!

  • jack

    He’s the new Heath Ledger. Franco does not care what others want him to do. Very cool indeed. Maybe he is trying to summons Heath so he can land some iconic roles.

  • Kate

    I love that he’ll do anything! From Date Night to Potential best actor nomineer to Oscar host, and multiple stints on General Hospital!

  • lauren

    I’m pretty much obsessed with this guy. I don’t think the Oscars can possibly be bad with him co-hosting in my opinion. I love anything he does. & Anne Hathaway is really great too. It would also be great to see him win for 127 hours, he totally deserves it. He was amazing in that movie but we’ll see how it goes. I just love that he honestly doesn’t care and just wants to have fun and do something he’s never done before.

  • mike

    Wouldn’t it be “funny” if he didn’t get nominated?

    • buzz

      he already was, that is , for this year. no matter.

  • SJ

    I’ve been a James Franco fan since revisiting Freaks & Geeks awhile back, he certainly has an interesting career. A lot of early movie duds, but he keeps trying to reinvent himself through curious roles. I insanely love that he was on General Hospital for the sake of performance art. His Oscars hosting gig has the potential to be really bad, with Anne carrying all the weight on her shoulders, but I’m rooting for him! I’m sure the old guard will dismiss him as aloof, but I think younger generations will give him credit.

  • Heather

    Is it just me or does that photo look like he’s auditioning for John Wilkes Booth in the new Abe Lincoln film?

  • stickittotheman

    Does Franco have any stage/musical/comedy background? He is an actor, so perhaps he can “act” like a host.

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