We’ve teased James Franco to the breaking point! The Rise of the Planet of the Apes actor has had enough snarking, and he wanted the world to know: Franco knew the Oscars were going to bomb before the show even hit the air, especially the sight of James Franco dressed as Marilyn Monroe. “I was so pissed about that I was deliberately going to fall onstage and hopefully my dress would fall off or something — they couldn’t blame that on me; I was in high heels,” Franco explains in his new Playboy interview, later adding, “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.” Just admitting it is the most important step, James; it’s going to be okay. It’s all going to be okay.
There is something else that’s been stuck in the actor’s craw: a little rumor in 2008 that claimed James Franco is a gay rapist. “Then Gawker picked that up and did this ‘Gay Rapist’ story that was so f—ing offensive because I have friends who have been raped,” Franco rages, referring to a New York Post blind item that claims an A-list actor sexually assaulted, then paid off, his boyfriend. “My lawyer called them and said that it was completely untrue and to take it down. They said, ‘Well, we’re just reporting what the New York Post told us. If James wants to make a comment on our blog, we’re happy to report it.’ It was a choice. Either let this thing build and become bigger and bigger, or just let it go and let them be the petty scumbags that they are.” At least this explains why Franco always has that sleepy half-smirk on his face: he must be using every ounce of his strength not do constantly go ballistic on us gossip mongers.
James Franco has been criticized plenty for his Oscar-hosting gig with Anne Hathaway earlier this year, and after all the digs about his energy not matching up to Hathaway’s, his Tweeting from the stage, and the possibility that he was high, he’s finally responding to critics.
Franco was on The Late Show With David Letterman and discussed his hosting with Dave, who has hosted the award show himself and is familiar with the gig. The segment airs tonight, but in this video, you can get a preview of Franco defending himself from the critics and telling Dave “People said I was under the influence. I’ve thought about it. I think I know why. I love her, but Anne Hathaway is so energetic, I think the Tasmanian Devil would look stoned standing next to Anne Hathaway.” After defending himself a bit more against the hatorade, Letterman says to Franco, as only Letterman could, “Let me ask you a question. What the hell do you care?” Exactly. It’s been over a month, let’s all let it go!
Looks like James Franco is awake after all. The actor promptly responded to Oscar joke honcho Bruce Vilanch’s criticism of Franco’s hosting abilities by scrawling some word balloons onto a photo of the two smiling backstage. “James Franco f—ed up the Oscars. Trust me I know comedy,” ‘says’ Vilanch. “I mean, come on, I write for Bette Midler!” Franco tweeted, then deleted the photo. Then republished it and deleted it again. We do the same thing, James—though when you’re famous such timidity its a hopeless gesture. Once you’ve posted sometime, it’s immediately too late to take it back.
While it’s good to remember that Vilanch’s comedy isn’t always the freshest, since Franco’s big idea was to sing a song from Burlesque, it’s not obvious why he dissing someone for working with a brassy cabaret singer. Hopefully sometime in the future everyone involved can decide whether Franco was funny, whether he thought he was funny, whether he was trying to be funny, and what any of this has to do with Anne Hathaway‘s song about Hugh Jackman. Seriously, what was that about?
Update:James Franco posted an e-mail from Vilanch on his photo feed (“I was trying to DEFEND you”), scrawling “Thanks Bruce, sorry for reading all the stupid blogs” over it in response. Guess they’re all set to team up for the 2012 Oscars, then, right? Right?
Aside from inexperience, Vilanch chalks up Franco’s detached performance to a lack of preparation. “He has so many balls in the air, he didn’t get to town till Thursday before the show on Sunday. 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…but it was him and Anne Hathaway, and they both had to be serviced. So there was a lot of communication beforehand. But he didn’t get there.” Don’t feel bad about assuming Franco might have been stoned, either—Vilanch was initially suspicious, too. “He wasn’t high. 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.” Maybe he knew he’d need all of it to get through, Bruce.
Looks like the audience weren’t the only people who enjoyed seeing Billy Crystal at the Oscars this year. The eight-time host is considering coming back to the Academy Awards for another go. “It might be fun,” said Crystal, who last hosted in 2004. “I think the show needs to change. There’s too many awards and it has to sort of freshen itself up, and if I can be a part of that, that would be great.” Here’s the real question: can he manage to fit ten movies into a medley?
Considering how well hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway went over this year, the odds would seem to be in Crystal’s favor for a big return. Sure, his talk about “freshening up” the Oscars is ironic enough to get Alanis Morisette stuck in our head ever since we read it, but it’s hard to imagine they’ll find a better mix of industry insider and irreverent comedian than Billy for the job. And he still has plenty of months to let his face de-Botox a little, maybe. Just consider it, Billy. Please.
The Hollywood Reporter made Justin Bieber‘s night yesterday. “#NeverSayNever3D in the Oscars?!?!” Bieber tweeted, with a link to the paper’s article about Never Say Never‘s Academy Award chances in 2012. “Never Say Never right? crazy.” Crazy is right—weren’t the 2011 Oscars not even a week ago? But according to THR, there was enough buzz at the Vanity Fair Oscar Afterparty to suggest Bieb could get a crack at the podium next year. “You’d be surprised at the caliber of people who came up to Justin… most of whom had seen the movie and loved it,” says their source. “There was even talk of putting it up for an Oscar next year in the documentary category. People appreciate that it’s not just a kids’ movie.”
People should also appreciate that the Oscars just happened. Sure, everyone’s happy with the kid now, but unless 2011 is a phenomenally craptastic year for documentaries, does anyone really think the film can maintain buzz until the end of the year? Besides, it doesn’t look like Bieber’s got his schmoozing game down. While the NY Daily News was buzzing with excitement after Tom Hanks reportedly told Justin “Don’t become a jaded professional actor” (oh, like Justin could be a professional actor) and “Good luck to you” (as opposed to “watch out, you little s—, I run this town”?), the encounter obviously meant less to the teenybopper. “I don’t remember what he said, he’s just a cool guy.” Will even Justin remember this rumor in a few months?
Seriously? The one thing that would have jazzed up an otherwise super-beige Academy Awards, and we didn’t even get to see it? Many who attended the Academy Awards reported Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem kissed at the Oscars, right before they broke into a romantic little two step on-stage. We wouldn’t know, because the most important moment of the 2011 Oscars never reached our television. “It [the dance and the kiss] was unscripted, and the plan in the truck was always to cut to Penelope [Cruz] in the audience applauding Josh’s and Javier’s introduction,” Oscars producer Bruce Cohen explains. Well, we’ll have to watch the show again; if Penelope’s eyes bulge out of their sockets and her tongue unfurls to the ground, then we’ll know we’re definitely missing something great.
The gay news site AfterElton questioned whether homophobia kept Brolin and Bardem’s kiss off the air, a claim Cohen denies. We should hope not; it’s the only thing that would have made up for Anne Hathaway‘s musical number. “So that is what happened, just as they were starting to dance. Josh and Javier’s moment…would have made a great TV moment, but since no one knew it was coming, we cut to the gorgeous Mz. Cruz as planned,” Cohen said. “By the time, we cut back from her close-up, Josh and Javier were walking to the podium.” Next year the producers are going to have to be on their game to catch precious moments like these. Either that, or they can script them into the show. In which case, we will welcome James Franco back with open arms…and lips.
It’s another rough PR week for Alex Pettyfer. Not only is the Beastly actor getting rough reviews for that film but he was also reportedly uninvited to a pre-Oscar party last week. A source tells Us Magazine “His agents told him not to go to the February 26 Night Before party,” no word on whether it was because Pettyfer’s ex, Dianna Agron also attended (and reportedly was sweet talking Chris Pine), or because of his generally volatile behavior. His agents are also considering firing him because his reputation seems to get worse by the day.
There was a thing called ‘Up With People’ in the ’70s or ’80s. Here’s what: Oscar night is not about Up With People. Like, I don’t need to see that. It was just bad. It was just awful. It was horrible…A public school chorus singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I literally — if I wasn’t going to go out to some parties I would have slit ’em right then. It was the worst. I was looking for a knife to stick in my eyes, it was so terrible. Everything has its time and place. The end of the Oscars is—we don’t want to see this. You just ruined everything.
While having the winners march out mid-song was a bit much, we’d argue that the presence of sweet little schoolchildren would be welcome if the show didn’t shoehorn them into a weird “old movies meets new media” theme that the hosts and writers were too incompetent or too indifferent to get over. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin would have had no problem setting up the stage for these sweethearts last year. And wasn’t it worth it just to see when Anne Hathaway told P.S. 22 they were going to Hollywood? Though Cohen swore that he loved, loved public schoolchildren before his rant, anyone who thought P.S. 22 was the worst part of the show probably hates kids just a little.
They say familiarity breeds contempt, and Anne Hathway and James Francodid just spend a month in close quarters rehearsing together for the Oscars. Us Magazine reports that Hathaway and Franco “grew to hate each other” during their preparations to host the Academy Awards. Another source says “She had to provide all the energy—he was just phoning it in.” Literally. He was on his phone Tweeting the whole time.
While we agree that Hathway provided all the energy, we do feel a wee bit bad that Franco is the one people are taking a crap on, since we actually liked the pre-taped bits he was in. But apparently he wasn’t thrilled with things himself, since he even bailed on his own after party. Reps for both actors deny that there’s a hate-fest, but we’ll be combing his Twitter page for any subtle digs at Hathaway’s expense.