Photo Credit: cbs.com
Only a handful of celebrities have had the honor of hosting the Oscars. An even more exclusive club? The ones who totally bombed. During the taping of Friday's edition of the Late Show, host David Letterman and guest James Franco bonded over their mutually awkward Oscar-hosting experiences. Watch the clip below!
For such a devil-may-care guy, Franco seems pretty embarrassed about the poor reception of his Academy Awards performance. He tells Dave that contrary to popular belief, he wasn't actually stoned while he was hosting. He chalks that criticism up to the contrast in demeanor between himself and co-host Anne Hathaway.
"I love her, but Anne Hathaway is very energetic," Franco tells the late-night host. "I think the Tasmanian Devil would look stoned standing next to her."
Franco is known to be obsessive about his acting career, often going to great lengths (getting his pilot license, living on the streets for a week) in order to give the best possible performance. Maybe that's why one of the major criticisms of Oscar night -- "James Franco wasn't even trying!" -- hit him so hard. Has he ever even heard that before?
"It's complicated," Franco says, "because no, I never dreamed of being the best Oscar host ever. It was never on my list. It doesn't mean I didn't care and it doesn't mean I didn't try hard."
"But here's the hypocritical thing," the actor continues. "Leading up the Oscars, I couldn't hear enough about how, oh, people don't care about the Oscars anymore... but as soon as you host the way they don't want you to, they suddenly care and they won't shut up about it!"
Letterman obviously feels his pain. The comedian's 1995 Oscar ceremony was full of awkward pauses, as one joke after another fell flat. But Letterman dusted himself off and did what any self-respecting performer would do: He made a joke out of it. Today, his worst Oscar night jokes (like introducing Oprah Winfrey to Uma Thurman repeatedly: "Oprah, Uma. Uma, Oprah") are practically the stuff of legend. Dave tells Franco that he, too, will survive the backlash.
"There will be, I think for you, a modicum of embarrassment, which you shouldn't feel," Letterman tells the 127 Hours star. "That will pass. You'll go into a period of numbness, and then you'll become, rightly so, defiant."
Makes sense. James Franco may not be great at hosting awards shows -- but "defiant" is one thing he can definitely do well.