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When it comes to James Franco’s Oscar-hosting performance, which has been described as squinty and blasé, I’m not going to pile on for two reasons. The first is that I’d suck at hosting something like this. Panels, Q&A’s, I’m fine, but hosting a nearly four-hour show, even with an amped-up cohost? My hat’s off to anyone who tries. (Especially anyone who tries with less than top-notch writing… what was up with that?) The other reason? Well, I recognize too well that frozen smile, that seemingly focused but actually distracted into-the-distance gaze. It’s not like Franco didn’t want to be there. He was simply too busy thinking about the real work that needed to be done, which, in his case, was making and posting via his Twitter feed a succession of short-form online videos. “Was James Franco the victim of Oscar multi-tasking,” asked today, citing a study on internet user switching. From a story on the study at NPR:

“People can’t multitask very well, and when people say they can, they’re deluding themselves,” said neuroscientist Earl Miller. And, he said, “The brain is very good at deluding itself.”

Miller, a Picower professor of neuroscience at MIT, says that for the most part, we simply can’t focus on more than one thing at a time.

What we can do, he said, is shift our focus from one thing to the next with astonishing speed.

“Switching from task to task, you think you’re actually paying attention to everything around you at the same time. But you’re actually not,” Miller said.

“You’re not paying attention to one or two things simultaneously, but switching between them very rapidly.”

So, producers who want their cast and crew blogging and tweeting during production, think about Franco’s Oscar-hosting gig. The rest of you, check out some of Franco’s short work below. If he felt a little distant on stage, he doesn’t in these agreeably candid vids. (Click on the headline if you don’t see the videos.)

“It Might be Bad”:

Approaching the stage:

“You Achieved History”:

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