James Franco’s history with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is an infamous one: During his 2011 Oscar co-hosting stint with Anne Hathaway, the actor’s low-key demeanor seemed more appropriate for a backyard barbecue than an entertainment event watched by 40 million people.
Now Franco, who was also nominated for an Oscar that year for his performance in “127 Hours,” is giving academy members another reason to shake their heads -- an irreverent awards campaign for his raunchy arthouse hit “Spring Breakers.”
In a bid to secure a supporting actor nomination for Franco’s role as Alien, the movie’s clownish rapper/drug dealer, distributor A24 is asking Oscar voters to “Consider this ...” in a new ad containing an expletive.
The ad, which will appear in the Hollywood trade publications, features Franco in character, clutching two Oscar statuettes and flanked by bikini-clad actresses Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson. In coming months, A24 will release other ads in the cheeky tone of the movie, according to spokeswoman Nicolette Aizenberg.
“We all believe strongly in the performance,” Aizenberg said. “He created something that is part of the Zeitgeist.”
From director Harmony Korine, “Spring Breakers” has grossed $31.7 million worldwide since its release in March, earning praise for Franco’s over-the-top portrayal of a gangster who wears a grill in his mouth and cornrows in his hair.
The movie is one of several projects in Franco’s busy and unpredictable career this year, which has included his playing the Wizard of Oz in the family fantasy “Oz the Great and Powerful,” co-directing and producing “Interior. Leather Bar,” a documentary about the 1980s gay adult film “Cruising,” and portraying a heightened, profane version of himself in the summer comedy “This is the End.”
At a Comedy Central roast held in his honor that aired over Labor Day weekend, Franco endured jokes about his sexuality, squinty eyes and dubious career choices.
“I think this is truly my punishment for the Oscars,” Franco said.