By Keith Staskiewicz
Updated December 20, 2010 at 02:00 PM EST

Image Credit: Christopher Smith/PR PhotosNews that James Franco would be co-hosting the Academy Awards surprised some people, but no one more than Franco himself. The actor told EW that Oscar producer Bruce Cohen, who previously worked with him on Milk, had told him that he was hoping the actor would do something for the ceremony, but Franco never expected the “something” would be hosting the whole shebang with Anne Hathaway. “When he asked me to host, I was very, very surprised, and my initial reaction was ‘No,'” Franco said. “Then I thought about it and I thought, well, why not? Because I’ll look bad? Well, I don’t care.”

He admits that another part of his rationale for accepting the gig was the knowledge that other people thought it was a bad idea, mainly because he was in contention for a Best Actor nomination. “When we finally met and discussed it in person, all my representatives were saying, ‘No! Of course not!'” he remembers. “So that always sparks something in me. So I said, ‘Yes, of course!’ Because that reaction that they have is based on conventional wisdom of what makes a good career. And that can be boring — really boring.”

What exactly will he be doing on stage at the Kodak Theatre on Feb. 27? The producers are keeping mum, and Franco doesn’t exactly know quite yet, but he says he isn’t nervous about it. “I’m front and center, but … I feel confident.” And even if it doesn’t go over as well as they hope, Franco’s not worried. “I’m happy to take the criticism. Even if it’s ‘The Worst Oscars Ever,’ I don’t care. It’s one night of the year.”