Was he stoned? Or just apathetic? Did he think he was too cool to even be there? Critics and Oscar viewers puzzled over such questions after James Franco's dismal, listless attempt to co-host the Academy Awards (with Anne Hathaway) on Sunday night. Some commentators say Franco "ruined" the Oscars. Will this public disaster derail his career?

This could be the end: Franco had declared he'd do his best at the Oscars, but if that was his best, there's "no way" his career can fully recover, says Annie Lubin at New York Press. He's beginning to seem like one of those people who's "interested in doing a mediocre job at everything." Still, "we've seen more unlikely comebacks after worse falls." He's got five movies set to come out this year — "let's hope at least one of them is decent."
"After Last Night's Oscars, is there hope for James Franco?"

I'm done with him: Franco basically "took a massive dump on roughly 37 million Americans who looked forward" to the big night, says Mike Ryan at Movieline. Now, "I'm pretty much done with him." Moving forward, he needs to "seriously reevaluate what he's doing and what it really means to accept a job — especially one like 'master of ceremonies,'" though I'm not sure I'll be there to watch.
"I am so over you, James Franco"

But the Oscars weren't his fault: Yes, this was "the worst Oscar telecast" in decades, but the fault lies with the writers, says Scott Mendelson at The Huffington Post. Franco was working with "awkward... poorly-scripted banter," so it's understandable he checked out. Plus, "not every actor can be an Oscar host." Whatever he chooses to do next after this experience, he "probably has material for another documentary or short play or Ph.D thesis or interpretive dance."
"Oscar 2011: Don't blame James Franco and Anne Hathaway, blame the writers"

He'll survive this: Franco has become an actor whose primary vocation is deconstructing his own celebrity, says Kyle Buchanan at New York. But "Hollywood is more forgiving than you might think to actors who indulge in long-term self-satirization" (see Joaquin Phoenix). While the general public may have soured on him, top directors are still likely to seek him out.
"James Franco: Now what?"