Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Has anyone had a stranger, better 2010 than James Franco?

What a difference 12 months can make? Last year around this time, James Franco, snubbed by Oscar in early 2009 after charming the pants off of Sean Penn's Harvey Milk in Milk, was starring on General Hospital. Everyone watching in Hollywood or at home either seemed to be asking "Why?" or screaming "Career suicide!"

I still haven't figured out what net effect GH has had on Franco's career, or what he was doing in Date Night (or totally lacking any apparent chemistry with Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray; Love, for that matter). For a while, I wondered what had happened to the leading-man-in-the-making who won a Golden Globe for portraying James Dean on TV, starred in three Spider-Man blockbusters and took a well-received detour into comedy with 2008's Pineapple Express. The GH thing did little more than enhance Franco's reputation for being a bit of an unpredictable nutjob, but that didn't stop him from giving GH another shot midway through 2010 and signing up for a third run as serial killer Franco early next year. That's just around the time that Franco the actor will be cohosting the Oscar's with Anne Hathaway.

That's nice work if you can get it, and even if Franco hadn't, he probably still would be invited to the Academy Awards as a nominee. He's practically guaranteed a nod for his one-man show as a trapped mountain climber forced to amputate his own arm in 127 Hours. If former All My Children star Melissa Leo gets her expected nod for her supporting performance in The Fighter, that will be one former soap star and one current soap star nominated in the same year, no doubt an Academy first. Add to that one ex-prime-time TV star: Mila Kunis (That '70s Show), Franco's cameo scene partner in Date Night, is also a likely nominee for Black Swan.

Although some are probably still scratching their heads and asking, "Why?," about Franco's GH return engagement, who's talking "career suicide" now?

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