The 2011 epic fail was reportedly even worse behind-the-scenes.
James Franco and Anne Hathaway’s hosting gig at the 2011 Academy Awards went down as one of the more cringe-worthy debacles in Oscar night history.
Writers in charge of the spectacle have now shed some light on how awkward it actually was between the two actors.
“It was like the world’s most uncomfortable blind date between the cool rocker stoner kid and the adorable theater camp cheerleader,” David Wild told The Ringer.
“She showed up ready to play and committed 110 percent and he was a great guy but often looked like he had just woken up from a nap,” added Jordan Rubin. “It’s almost like you’re showing up to a tennis court and one person decided that they were going to play in the U.S. Open and the other wanted to play in jeans and just kind of hit a few balls.”
Producers had hoped to pull in a wider demographic with the youthful pair, but their lack of chemistry and uncomfortable exchanges caused L.A. Weekly to say the show was “at best qualified as lazy, and at worst, totally embarrassing.”
And it appeared the act was doomed from the beginning, as Wild recalled one rehearsal, saying, “Again, this is a memory, but [she] was like ‘Maybe you should try that,’ and he was like, ‘Don’t tell me how to be funny.'”
However, Rubin said he didn’t remember anything “contentious” between the pair. “I think he wanted to play it as buddy-cop movie with two opposite characters.”
At one point during practice runs, Wild said he thought Franco and Hathaway may have worked out the kinks, as the actor was smiling at the person next to him onstage.
“I thought, ‘Oh boy, they’ve finally broken through and he’s looking at her!'” he explained, before adding, “Anne had gone to her dressing room for a minute…James was smiling at her stand-in.”
TooFab has reached out to Franco and Hathaway for comment.
Interestingly, Wild said Justin Timberlake was the unofficial first choice to host the gig.
“I had been writing with Justin and I remember the producers said to me, ‘Do you want to do a soft ask if he’d host the Oscars?'” Wild recalled. “He said that he’d love to do it, but he thought it was a year too early for him. He wanted to wait until after ‘The Social Network’ had gone through an awards season.”