James Franco was asked to host the Oscars before he was nominated, so we can't blame him for that awkward dynamic. Like so many award hosts before, he's taking a bashing today and may need some image control. It's a wonder they get anyone to take those gigs!
Where was he? Was he high? Was it performance art? Is he just too post-post-something to care? That's how the press sounds today. It doesn't help that he told Vanity Fair's Screening Room earlier this month that he felt no pressure, had no jitters, and didn't particularly care how he did.
"If it's the worst Oscars show ever, who cares? It's like, it's fine. It's one night. It doesn't matter. If I host the worst Oscar show in the history of the Oscars, like, why do I care?"
In his defense, that probably came out wrong or was taken out of context. I suspect what he meant was "It's showbiz, not DIY surgery." He's curious, creative, intellectual — we love that — but between attending multiple grad programs, writing a book, creating art installations, using himself as an art object, teaching courses, and acting in feature films, sitcoms, and soap operas, Franco fatigue is in the air. Maybe he just makes us feel lazy?
His real image problem lies not in last night, but in the expanding chasm between his blasé, not-even-trying persona and heaping pile of achievements. It's hard to be perceived as genuine when this gap gets too wide; it can look like a Joaquin Phoenix-style joke on the world, and fans don't want to be the butt of that.
The fact is he works hard, ditching last night's afterparties to hop on a plane and return to school. I say, Franco, gather your books and art and awards, and just own it. It's OK to care. So you're ambitious? There are worse things.