Hosts lacked any chem­istry

Townsville Bulletin - - Sports Junior - Com­ment by Robert Philpot

WHEN James Franco and Anne Hath­away were an­nounced as the hosts for this year’s Academy Awards, it came as a sur­prise.

Franco is known for be­ing a good ac­tor, a Re­nais­sance man and an ec­cen­tric, and Hath­away as a pleas­ant ac­tress who some­times (

for in­stance) tran­scends her lim­i­ta­tions. But nei­ther ex­actly screams ‘‘ host’’. In other words, the odds were against them. And they didn’t beat the odds. Af­ter a clever open­ing mon­tage that in­serted Franco and Hath­away into scenes from the 10 Best Pic­ture nom­i­nees, the duo hit the stage – and quickly proved to be as forced and con­trived as most Os­car pre­sen­ters are.

In fact, some co-pre­sen­ters, such as Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law, showed more chem­istry than the hosts did.

Franco and Hath­away were seen as an at­tempt to have, in Hath­away’s words, a younger, hip­per Os­cars. But it was the old guard that got most of the at­ten­tion.

Kirk Dou­glas, now 94, proved looser than ei­ther host as he flir­ta­tiously pre­sented the Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tress nom­i­nees.

In Franco and Hath­away’s de­fence, it’s hard to keep an Os­cars show in­ter­est­ing when prac­ti­cally ev­ery award is pre­dicted ac­cu­rately in ad­vance.

But other hosts, such as Billy Crys­tal – who made an ap­pear­ance to pay tribute to an­other pre­vi­ous host, Bob Hope – built on the show as it went along, while Hath­away and Franco grew more sep­a­rate.

Maybe that was planned, but given their lack of chem­istry, it seemed like one of the show’s few spon­ta­neous el­e­ments.

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