"In what could go down as one of the worst Oscar telecasts in history, a bad and risky idea – letting two actors host – proved out in spectacularly unwatchable fashion on the biggest of all nights for the film world."
That's how The Hollywood Reporter reviewed the 2011 Oscars that were hosted by Anne Hathaway and James Franco.
The two stars had no chemistry, Franco seemed disinterested, and most of the pair's jokes fell flat.
Now, 10 years later, some of the writers involved have opened up to The Ringer about what went wrong, the sketches that never made it to air, and just how tense things were between the two young hosts.
They weren't the first picks for hosts
According to writer David Wild, the producers were actually keen for Justin Timberlake to host the awards.
"He said that he'd love to do it, but he thought it was a year too early for him," Wild told The Ringer. "He wanted to wait until after The Social Network had gone through an awards season."
With JT out of the running, producers decided to team together Franco and Hathaway, a choice that delivered disastrous results.
"It was like the world's most uncomfortable blind date between the cool rocker stoner kid and the adorable theatre camp cheerleader," Wild said.
Tension between the hosts
The writers said that Hathaway made herself readily available for rehearsals and filming in the months leading up to the awards, but Franco was a different story.
"He always seemed to be on a flight and it was very hard for me to get a hold of him," writer Jordan Rubin told The Ringer. "That was a red flag."
When the pair did finally get together for rehearsals, the friction was noticeable.
Wild recalled an incident where Hathaway suggested to Franco that he could try doing a certain line differently.
"Again, this is a memory, but [she] was like 'Maybe you should try that,' and he was like 'Don't tell me how to be funny,'" Wild said.
Ideas that were scrapped
As bad as the Oscars were, they could have been a lot worse.
Franco had his heart set on dressing up as Cher to perform a duet with the actual Cher.
That idea was scrapped when Cher's film, Burlesque, missed out on an Oscars nomination.
There was also a plan for Franco and Hathaway to sing You're the One That I Want from Grease with the lyrics referencing Franco's recent role in 127 Hours.
You better shape up 'Cause you need to host And you're a sexy amputee You better shape up 'Cause they need a host Who is not AARP (an interest group focusing on issues affecting those over 50)
There was even a plan for actor Will Arnett to streak across the stage in a nude bodysuit – a nod to the 1974 Oscars when a man ran on stage naked.
"The joke was that he (Arnett) was going to come out running and then stop and have a conversation with James and Anne. Like, 'Hey, I can't shake your hand right now, but we should hang out sometime and grab coffee,'" Rubin told The Ringer.
Arnett rehearsed the bit but it was ultimately cut because it wasn't classy enough for the Academy Awards.
How Franco and Hathaway reacted to bad reviews of their hosting
Both Franco and Hathaway have commented about their infamous hosting efforts in the 10 years since.
Just days after the Oscars, Franco tried to explain to talk show host David Letterman why he appeared as if he was under the influence on stage.
"I've thought about it," Franco said. "I think I know why, because – I love her – but Anne Hathaway is so energetic, I think the Tasmanian devil would look stoned standing next to Anne Hathaway."
A year later, Hathaway told The Hollywood Reporter: "I went into it with a lot of trust and a lot of hope, and I had a blast doing it. And I realised afterwards, I played to the house; it's a 3500-seat theatre, so I was just shooting energy to the back of it and it was like a party!"
She continued: "It was great! And I think it looked slightly manic and 'hyper-cheerleadery' onscreen. But I have no regrets about doing it."
Who is hosting this year's Oscars
The Oscars will take place on Monday, April 26.
There'll be no host for the third year in a row. Instead, there'll be a number of different presenters throughout the show, including Halle Berry, Bong Joon Ho, Bryan Cranston, Laura Dern, Harrison Ford, Regina King, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon and Renée Zellweger.