The 83rd Annual Academy Awards were hard to watch for multiple reasons. But the young hosts caught most of the flack. When we first heard that James Franco and Anne Hathaway were hosting the show we were concerned. They’ve both done comedy, but aren’t professional comedians with hosting experience. See what critics around the country thought of their performance last night.

  • “Despite an overall rewarding of brilliant performances and no truly shocking didn’t-see-that-coming upsets, the 83rd Annual Academy Awards will likely be remembered as the night James Franco couldn’t act like a host.” [THR]
  • Franco came off like that lacrosse boy you wish your daughter didn’t hang out with so much, sort of heavy-lidded and smirky and … well, let’s give him credit for being James Franco, the 23-hour-a-day workaholic/grad student/filmmaker/soap-opera/not-best-actor wunderkind of his generation. Turns out hosting Oscars is when the dude decides to take a rest.” [The Washington Post]
  • Certainly the comic opening, in which Hathaway and Franco were inserted into movies such as Inception through a purported porthole in Alec Baldwin’s brain was exceedingly funny. From Kirk Douglas’ cleverly goatish leers to Randy Newman’s gleefully grumpy acceptance speech, it was a solid night for old pros who know how to ham it up entertainingly. (Newman’s rearrangement of his winning song “We Belong Together” as a jumping rock tune was really well executed.) [EW]
  • “You’ve got to get people who understand a live show. The first few minutes of that show is yours. You have to recognize two things. You have to recognize – like after Melissa Leo said that word – … when things happen like that you have to be able to come and lift the audience out of their shock and move the show forward. I felt like last night there was no one in charge.” [Whoopi Goldberg, The View]
  • Franco and Hathaway were pretty but dumb, reminding me of the cool class kids who get to be in every sketch not because they’re talented, but because they’re popular. Franco looked perpetually stoned and Hathaway exuded fake enthusiasm [The Star]

Now it’s time for our two cents. This was unfortunately a bet that didn’t pay off.  The opening bit with the Inception-like dream sequence that covered all the films wasn’t unique. We liked that montage better when Conan O’Brien did it for the Emmy’s six years ago, and Billy Crystal before him. Franco and Hathaway didn’t have the necessary chemistry to carry the show. But this doesn’t all fall at their feet. The writing just wasn’t up to par. The hosts have taken the brunt of the blame, when there’s plenty of criticism to go around.

What did you think of last night’s hosts? Was they as bad as everyone said?