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James Franco versus Bruce Vilanch: Will this continue until next Oscars?

March 21, 2011 |  6:48 pm

Remember the time — ironically, before Twitter — when a performer hosted an awards show and everyone forgot about it the morning after?

Those days are apparently over. It may be the era of the instant reaction, but the post-game analysis and trash talk — even from the players themselves — continues long after the show is over.

Entertainment types and media (including yours truly) dined out for days on Ricky Gervais and his foot-in-mouth performance at the Golden Globes. Now James Franco keeps creeping back into the news, for the opposite charge of not going far enough during his Oscars hosting gig.

The latest round kicked up when longtime Oscars writer Bruce Vilanch gave an interview to Vulture in which he says Franco was essentially not up to the job.  According to the site, via our colleagues at Awards Tracker, Vilanch said of Franco that “I thought maybe it was a performance-art prank, and then I realized he sincerely wanted to do it. But it's outside of those guys' comfort zones. The only people who know how to host those shows are people who get up onstage every night and say, 'Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. A funny thing happened ..."

Franco, still evidently smarting even though he's comfortably back in school, fired back today with a tweet saying "Bruce, he let me down" and then a bathroom-mirror graffiti insult basically dissing Vilanch as someone who wouldn't know a good joke if he was stuck in the elevator with it.

"Trust me, I know comedy. I mean, come on, I write for Bette Midler," Franco wrote, assuming Vilanch's imagined voice and alluding to the writer's work for the diva's Vegas show. (You can see the image here; note it contains an explicit word we couldn't put in a family blog.)

We have no idea how long this can possibly go on. But here's an idea: Next year they should have the fight before the Oscars. Then if they want the show to be more entertaining than it's recently been, they can just air that instead.

—Steven Zeitchik



What does Bruce Vilanch think of James Franco's Oscar performance?

Is James Franco good for the Oscars, and vice versa?

Did Ricky Gervais go too far at the Golden Globes?

Photo: James Franco and Anne Hathaway hosting the Oscars. Credit: Michael Yada/EPA.