James Franco and Anne Hathaway were not a match made in heaven.

The stars were ripped to shreds after co-hosting the 2011 Oscars, with Roger Ebert writing that Franco looked like "a deer-in-the-headlights" and The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman arguing that the two actors were responsible for "one of the worst Oscar telecasts in history." Five years later, in the Apr. 18, 2016 issue of New York, Franco reflected on the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. "When Anne Hathaway decided to host the Oscars with me…She had said no before, and then they asked me to ask her, and I said, 'Let's just do it. It'll be an adventure,' and then we got a lot of s--t for it," he recalled. "I probably got more than she did, but she got a lot."

Franco said neither he nor Hathaway were entirely to blame for the poorly reviewed show. "I think one of the things that happens in film and television and performance-based things is that people will criticize the performers because they're the face of the piece," he said. To prove his point, Franco said, "We didn't write the script. In other cases, someone like Steve Martin or Chris Rock will probably have a bigger hand in the writing of the thing, but Anne and I did not."

James Franco, New York

Maxine Helfman/New York

The actor said he felt stigmatized after doing a guest arc on General Hospital. "It started as just an experiment because I was doing another art movie. I was going to play a character that was a soap opera actor, and I thought, 'What if I actually am on a soap opera?' And so I asked them, and they were overjoyed for me to come on, because, normally, the trajectory for an actor is to start in soap opera, and then if you can get away from it, you don't go back. So they said, 'Do you want to write for it? Do you want to create your character?' I said, 'No, all I ask is that you make him an artist and you make him crazy, and otherwise, I want to be delivered into your hands,'" Franco, 37, told New York. "So they came up with this idea that he would be called Franco. It was a General Hospital version of an artist. All the clichés. He starts as a graffiti artist, and then he's a performance artist that also is a murderer, and that art reveals the crimes he's committed, but it was great because it was seen through the lens of General Hospital."

"It was already aware of itself and how ironic it was, with the added effect that I'm an outsider on there. People know I don't belong there, and then it's also being highlighted even more because my character is called Franco. So you can't escape the fact that I'm this rupture in the whole thing. Then I got nominated for an Oscar, and then I was the host, and then I went back on General Hospital, and so it made it even more of a rupture," said Franco, who wound up losing the Best Actor award to Colin Firth (The King's Speech). "I wasn't trying to turn the soap opera into something of my own making. I was in their hands," he continued. "When I was asked to do the Oscars, I thought I'll do the same thing. Nobody expects me to host the Oscars."

"So I thought, here's, again, an opportunity to put myself in their hands, but I've never aspired to be the Oscars host. I don't care, really. I'm going to do what they ask me to and do it as well as I can, but I don't need this to be the best Oscars ever. I'm not getting anything out of that."

Franco knew it would be a risky move. "In the best-case scenario, even if I killed it, it's not going to help my career, because that's not what it's based on," he explained. "It was an experiment."

In hindsight, Franco admitted that he doesn't regret sharing the stage with Hathaway that night. "Hosting the Oscars is a whole different thing than going onto a soap opera," he said. "Nobody cares if you disrupt a soap opera, but if you go and host the Oscars and they get even an inkling of you trying to subvert it in any way or punk it in any way, people are going to get pissed."

How did Hathaway think it went? "I went into it with a lot of trust and a lot of hope, and I had a blast doing it," she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2012, adding that She made a mistake by "playing to the house" rather than to the TV audience. "I was just shooting energy to the back [of the house]. It was like a big party. It was great. I think it looked slightly manic and hyper cheerleadery on screen…Whether or not it was an actual failure, it was perceived as a massive failure."

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