But it’s not his co-hosting the Oscars with Anne Hathaway that weighs heavy on his mind. In fact, as he put it earlier this month, “If I host the worst Oscar show in the history of the Oscars, like, why do I care?” Rather, it’s his belief that he’s going to lose the Best Actor Oscar to “The King’s Speech” leading man Colin Firth.
Franco and Hathaway spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the fast-approaching show, and the “127 Hours” star put on his most gracious loser face. “Nobody is shy about saying Colin Firth is going to win,” Franco said. “I’ve accepted that. By hosting, it makes it easier to go to the events and not feel like a total schmo.”
In fact, feeling like a “total schmo” was one of the things that almost kept Hathaway from emceeing the biggest night in Hollywood. “Much like James, I initially had a knee-jerk reaction, which was ’no.’ I just focused on all the ways it could go wrong,” the “Love and Other Drugs” actress revealed. “[When Academy producer] Bruce [Cohen] came back and said, ’We have James Franco.’ He’s so brave and so willing to make unconventional choices. All the ways I was worried about it going wrong, it wouldn’t go wrong in any of those ways. It could go wrong in entirely new ways.”
Both hosts had previously tried their hand at “Saturday Night Live,” but for Hathaway its that similar routine that has her the most freaked out. “Being funny in a movie usually has to do with how committed you are to your character. But standing up and telling jokes is not something that comes easily to me,” she admitted.
One thing that won’t be in either Hathaway or Franco’s comedy routines: making fun of the audience. “I can guarantee that if you’re looking for someone to call people out, we’re not your hosts,” said Hathaway. “I think that humor is really difficult to pull off, and I’m not particularly adept at it. I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it. Also, I don’t mean to sound overly serious, but I am the youngest host in history and I have no business being cynical or calling anyone out. I certainly haven’t earned the right to do that.”
Perhaps even more aware of her place in Oscar history as the youngest host ever (she’s 27, Franco is 32), the actress has willingly taken advice from previous hosts. Hathaway cited last year’s co-host Alec Baldwin as the person to give her the biggest tip, “When I ran into him a couple weeks ago, he said ’the thing to remember is, it’s not about you.'”
Same goes for Franco, who, during a recent visit to “The Daily Show,” got a feel from two-time host Jon Stewart. “He said he felt a little weird doing it because he didn’t feel like he was exactly from that world,” Franco revealed. “He talked about this with Letterman too, and they are comedians, talk-show hosts, and here they were presenting to film people and they kinda felt like outsiders. Because of that, it wasn’t necessarily antagonistic, but there was some sort of disconnect. He said we’ll be fine because we’re more insiders, though I feel like kind of an outsider.”
Don’t expect too much shying away from Franco, though. The brand-new member of the celebrity Twitterverse admitted it “might be fun” to talk about what’s going on behind the Oscar stage in 140 characters or less.
Hathaway, who has “no plans to tweet,” stopped short of revealing any Oscar surprises, but Franco diplomatically hinted that Aron Ralston, the real-life hiker he portrayed in “127 Hours,” could very well be part of the evening. As Franco put it, “Who knows? Aron is full of surprises. I’m sure he’ll find his way into the show.”
In fact, Hathaway wouldn’t even confess whether or not she voted for her co-host. “Actually, the ballot says on the front: ’Important, do not tell anyone, especially The Hollywood Reporter,'” she said with a laugh, adding, “I’m a big fan of James’s performance.”
But one movie that’s likely checked off on Hathway’s ballot is “Toy Story 3.” The actress cited the “last ten minutes” of the animated weeper as her favorite movie moment of the year. And while Franco may have checked off his own name in the Best Actor race, he has a favorite in the Best Supporting Actor category, “Jeremy Renner in ’The Town.’ He’s so awesome. He’s so chilling and so convincing.”
With just four more days to go until the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, it’s hard not to appreciate Hathaway and Franco’s attitudes about the whole thing: respectful, but without putting too much crazy pressure on themselves to be perfect. Forgive the easy Oscar pun, but we have to say: they already have our vote.
What did you think of 2011 Oscar co-hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway’s interview with The Hollywood Reporter? Let us know in the comments section and on Twitter!