I watched every minute of the Academy Awards the other night. I’m not going to break it down because you already know how it went. But what I will do may surprise you. I’m going to defend James Franco and Anne Hathaway. You heard me.
No, it wasn’t a great show. Franco was stiff and Hathaway was…well, kinda weird, honestly. But I honestly think they did what you’re supposed to do on these shows: be yourself. They’re adults, so they knew the deal going in. They shoulder some of the blame for a mediocre show. The lion’s share of blame rests with the producers who chose two unproven commodities, gave them the keys to a car that turned out to be a lemon and asked them to drive it to victory lane.
That’s like asking a 20-year old rookie to win the Daytona 500! Okay, bad example. But you get my point. Franco and Hathaway are one part of a larger operation. The producers could’ve done much better all the around. The Oscars were poorly paced, poorly written and staged on a really bad set. Even a formidable talent like Billy Crystal couldn’t have saved the show.
Bottom line: the show went in the tank pretty early and never came out. I don’t blame the hosts entirely. Garbage in, garbage out, you know? I would hope show producers would seriously consider bringing back Billy Crystal. Perhaps it was nostalgia, but his brief cameo last Sunday reminded us of what a pro he really is. And if they choose someone else, please let it be an experienced stand-up comic.
Awards shows are always more entertaining for everyone when you’ve got a pro at the helm who can roll with the punches. You’d think bigtime Hollywood producers of worldwide events would know better than to focus solely on reaching one demographic at the expense of everyone and everything else. So give James Franco a break. Yeah, he phoned it in. But so did everyone else other than Anne Hathaway, who simply tried too hard. Hopefully next year the producers don’t make the same mistake twice.