James Franco, Anne Hathaway’s 2011 Oscars Presentation Concert Was ‘Awkward Blind Date’, Show Writers Say


A decade ago, James Franco and Anne Hathaway hosted the 83rd Academy Awards and the experiment turned out to be quite uncomfortable, according to several writers who worked on the concert in 2011.

At the time, the broadcast was criticized for being embarrassing and lacking in chemistry between the two artists who were doing just that while facing off against each other.

“It was like the most awkward blind date in the world between the stoner rock boy and the lovable theater camp entertainer,” writer David Wild told The Ringer on Wednesday of the couple’s opening monologue in which the star of “Love & Other Drugs” was subject to Franco bragging for his best actor nomination for “127 hours,” while Hathaway was overlooked.

Wild recalled a time when that sparked friction among the co-hosts after Hathaway, just 28 years old and the youngest host in history at the time, tried to offer Franco advice.

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Actors James Franco, left, and Anne Hathaway present the 83rd Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater on February 27, 2011, in Hollywood, California (Gabriel Bouys / AFP via Getty Images).

Actors James Franco, left, and Anne Hathaway present the 83rd Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater on February 27, 2011, in Hollywood, California (Gabriel Bouys / AFP via Getty Images).

“Again, this is a memory, but [she] It was like, ‘Maybe you should try that,’ and he said, ‘Don’t tell me how to be funny,’ “Wild claimed.

“Oh my gosh, you are real!” Hathaway, 38, exclaimed to the audience at the time as Franco, 42, seemingly disinterested, barely looked at the crowd.

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Another writer on the telecast said the moment ran parallel to each of the actors’ approach to the coveted host job.

“Anne made herself available,” Jordan Rubin said of the “Princess Diaries” star. “I went to her house and worked on the script and she was on a lot of conference calls and answering emails and she was a great contributor.”

The Oscar writers reflected on James Franco and Anne Hathaway's 2011 Oscar presentation concert, calling the audition an 'awkward blind date'.  (Reuters / Mike Blake)

The Oscar writers reflected on James Franco and Anne Hathaway’s 2011 Oscar presentation concert, calling the audition an ‘awkward blind date’. (Reuters / Mike Blake)

On the other hand, Franco supposedly “always seemed to be on a flight and it was very difficult for me to locate him,” Rubin continued about the funny man, who at the time was incredibly busy maintaining his acting career while earning his title. Graduated and working as an acting coach.

Viewers at the time speculated whether the “Pineapple Express” star was really high during the broadcast.

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Hathaway was eager to get down to business, Rubin pressed, adding that the “Devil Wears Prada” star “appeared ready to play and 110% engaged,” and while Rubin described Franco as “a great guy,” he said. Franco “often looked like he had just woken up from a nap.”

“It’s almost like you’re showing up on a tennis court and one person decided they were going to play at the US Open and the other wanted to play in jeans and just hit some balls,” Rubin explained.

Commenting on the alleged verbal dispute that allegedly occurred between Franco and Hathaway during rehearsals, Rubin said that he viewed the situation as a time when Franco deliberately tried to provide a different element to Hathaway’s approach and presentation style.

“I think I wanted to interpret it as a friend cop movie with two opposing characters,” Rubin said.

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In 2019, the “Oceans 8” actress opened up about the now infamous attempt to host an awards show when reports surfaced that the show would have no hosts for the first time in decades.

“No matter what happens to today’s show, just remember, it’s already been worse. Happy Oscars!” he joked in an Instagram post at the time.

Anne Hathaway, winner of Best Supporting Actress for her role in 'Les Miserables', poses with her Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California on February 24, 2013.

Anne Hathaway, winner of Best Supporting Actress for her role in ‘Les Miserables’, poses with her Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California on February 24, 2013.
(Reuters)

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He also spoke about the difficulties of hosting the biggest night in Hollywood.

“[Franco] he didn’t give me anything, “Hathaway told People in January 2019.” God, I only remember the night before we went there, and I turned to everyone and said, ‘Am I too much? This feels really great to me. ‘ And the producer just said, ‘No! Do not do less. Do more if you need it. ‘ And I was like, ‘Oh, okay, I guess it’s going really well.’ And I didn’t realize what was going on with all that. “

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Hathaway would win an Oscar two years later in 2013 for best supporting actress for her role in “Les Miserables.”



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