Some are calling this year's Academy Awards the "worst Oscars ever," and much of the blame is falling on co-host James Franco, who didn't exactly exert himself to make the show memorable. What led Franco, a respected actor and an Oscar nominee himself, to fail on such a big, important stage? Here are five theories:
Franco's "half-hearted" hosting attempt revealed the generally game actor for what he truly is: "a jack of all trades, master of none...certainly not of ceremonies," says Kevin Fallon in The Atlantic. Yes, his Renaissance-man ways didn't serve him, or the audience, well last night, says Daniel Fienberg at HitFix. "Even in the preshow, it became clear that Anne Hathaway was overinvested in this gig and that Franco viewed it as just another oddball life experience he hadn't tried before."
The actor is "so omnipresent and overexposed right now that a very little of Franco goes a loooong way," says Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood. From the Spider-Man star's work on ABC's General Hospital to his frequent reminders that he's working on a PhD thesis, "who isn't getting tired of him" at this point?
"Was James Franco stoned?" asks Max Read at Gawker. He certainly looked and acted as though he was, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. Other critics are noting that he appeared "heavy-lidded and smirky," "a tad bewildered," and "mellow," all euphemistic ways to suggest that the Pineapple Express star was under the influence.
4. Too much multitasking
"Franco was not only a nominee and co-host, he was busy backstage tweeting and sending videos and photographs," says Michael Humphrey in Forbes. He could have been a "victim of Oscar multitasking," which would explain why he seemed so "distracted and distant" throughout the ceremony.
Franco just didn't seem invested in his hosting duties, says Katey Rich at Cinema Blend. "Last night's Oscars felt particularly bloodless and slow — and at the center of it all was James Franco, who did everything in his power to make it even worse." From the opening monologue, he seemed "entirely sleepy and disengaged," and his "low-key affect" forced Hathaway to overcompensate with intense enthusiasm, creating a "grating dynamic."