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Anne Hathaway says she passed on hosting the 2011 Oscars but co-host James Franco changed her mind

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
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Anne Hathaway will never forget the 2011 Oscars.

Although she wasn’t nominated that year — she received a nod in 2009 for Rachel Getting Married and took home the trophy for Les Misérables four years later — Hathaway had a major role. She co-hosted alongside actor James Franco in a show that was panned by critics, mostly for Franco’s apparent disinterest.

For example, in his review for USA Today, critic Robert Bianco wrote, “At least Hathaway was in there pitching throughout — unlike her co-host, who sometimes seemed to be preparing for a remake of Dazed and Confused.” The Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman called it “spectacularly unwatchable.” Ouch.

Well, Hathaway has revealed that it wasn’t her idea, anyway. And it seemed to be something she was anxious to say, because she offered the knowledge up as some tea she wanted to spill.

“I turned that gig down, and James is the one that convinced me to do it,” Hathaway recently told People TV.

When asked if Franco had meant the night as some kind of joke on the actress, Hathaway said, “If he’d turned around and said, ‘I’m pranking you right now,’ I think I would have been OK with it. I would have been like, ‘That sucks, but it’s epic.’ He might still turn around and do that on all of us, by the way.”

So far, that hasn’t happened, leaving Hathaway full of regret for her decision to host.

“When all the dust settled, I was just like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” she said. “Your first instinct is usually the right one, and all the reasons why I turned it down came true.”

Franco’s team did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but in the past, he hasn’t been a fan of his hosting performance that night either. He’s said that he was distracted by his nomination that year for his lead role in 127 Hours.

“At the time I justified it to myself,” Franco told Variety in November 2017. “This will be an experiment. This will be weird.’ Part of me was so uncomfortable with the attention of being nominated, but also fear of losing, because everybody was talking about Colin Firth [from The King’s Speech].”

Franco said he realized later that he should not have been a host on that night, when he was preoccupied. “Honestly, I think the biggest criticism of me, it seemed like I was high or low energy. In my head, I was trying to be the straight man. I guess I just went too far or came across as the dead man.”

This year, academy officials are forgoing a host for the show, after Kevin Hart, who was initially chosen to do the gig, stepped down over homophobic tweets he’d sent in the past. That means that the Oscars will be sans host for only the second time; the first time was in 1989, when the show inexplicably featured Rob Lowe, Snow White and the song “Proud Mary,” all at the same time, in an epic fail.

The 91st Academy Awards will air at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24, on ABC.

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