James Franco Fires Back at Oscar Writer Bruce Vilanch Over Hosting Criticism

James Franco Fires Back at Oscar Writer Bruce Vilanch Over Hosting Criticism

The February 27 ceremony's host tweets an insulting picture of Vilanch after the Oscar writer says Franco being tired is responsible for his lackluster performance.
James Franco's Oscar hosting gig has resulted in a sour relationship with Bruce Vilanch, one of four staff writers on the recent annual ceremony. The actor, who had stayed quiet amidst widespread criticism of his performance at the prize-giving event, took it to his Twitter to respond to Vilanch's comment that Franco's "too many balls in the air" is responsible for the flop.

"bruce he let me down," Franco wrote on March 21. He additionally posted a photo of him and Vilanch with a sarcastic caption over Vilanch's face which read, "James f***ed up the Oscars. Trust me, I know comedy. I mean, come on, I write for Bette Midler!"

Hours before, New York Times' Vulture published an interview with Vilanch in which he commented on Franco and Anne Hathaway's hosting performance. "I have to call James Franco and tell him the show's over," he joked. "He doesn't know. He took a nap and he woke up in class."

On what attributed to Franco's sleepy performance, Vilanch claimed, "He has so many balls in the air, he didn't get to town till Thursday before the show on Sunday. And so we e-mailed a lot. But we had a lot of meetings. He had a bunch of people who were writing for him, and if it had been him alone, it would have been different. But it was him and Anne Hathaway, and they both had to be serviced. So there was a lot of communication beforehand. But he didn't get there."

"I don't think he realized how big a deal it is to do it until he was actually confronted with it," he continued. "I think he thought he would kind of ... I don't know what he thought. 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 ... ' Or people like Bette [Midler] who get up and sing all night and tell stories."

Still, Vilanch defended the "127 Hours" star regarding rumors that he was stoned during the show. "No, he wasn't high," the longtime Oscar writer said. "I was with him, and he wasn't high. And I asked him, 'Are you high, and can I have some?' And he said no to both."

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