Do you hear the people sing? They're singing a song about hating Anne.
Last night, Anne Hathaway won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Fantine in Les Miserables. It seems as though the entire universe was both rooting for and against that very result.
The universe - at least, the part of it that's on Twitter - wanted Anne to win because it meant that she would (a) complete her sweep of the movie trophy season; and (b) have to get up on stage to speak again. These are two very important elements that feed off each other and, in that symbiosis, give fodder to the hate mill. It appears the more she wins, the more people love to hate listening to her react to and speak about all that winning.
The universe - again, at least the Twitter part - was rooting against another Hathaway victory because, well, the universe can't really stand Anne. It appears everyone out there thinks she transparently insists on being the center of attention, all while expressing a false, aw-shucks modesty that grates on b.s. meters.
For goodness' sake, in a compilation of the best Oscar tweets from last night, three included only slightly underhanded jabs at Anne's expense:
Image via BuzzFeed.com.
Now, I can kind of get where everyone is coming from. Big picture, I consider myself someone with a highly-sensitive b.s. meter, and I am certainly not someone who cuts celebrities a lot of slack. Small picture, some of my favorite people in the world can't stand this woman, including one of the featured Tweeters above. (That'd be @stamos. If you don't follow her already, you haven't been paying attention.) Medium picture, yeah, her cheese-ball lines about "dreams coming true," and her exaggerated "blergh" modesty, and her sometimes excessively-toothy grinning, do confuse me sometimes, too.
But you know what? All of these tendencies of Ms. Hathaway's do no more than that - confuse me. Both because I don't understand why she has such a hard time coming across as completely genuine, and because I don't understand why these "missteps" of hers inspire such animosity towards her.
At a superficial level, Anne is a lot of the things that usually drive fans wild...in the good way. She is gorgeous, has fantastic style, and isn't splashed across the glossies doing ridiculous things. Scratching just a bit deeper, she went through a public, nasty break-up that seemed to have left her entirely jilted and deserving of our sympathy and compassion. Now she's seemingly found and married the right guy, an event we celebrate like a national holiday when it comes to the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, or anyone from The Bachelor/Bachelorette.
Professionally, she can actually do the job she gets paid to do; she is not just some pretty face or skinny body or wild personality. I did not see whatever princess movie launched her to fame, but she has been good-to-great in every movie I have seen her in: quirky duckling-turned-swan in The Devil Wears Prada, dissatisfied wife in Brokeback Mountain, angry recovering druggie in Rachel Getting Married (for which she also received an Oscar nod), and frantic bride-to-be in Bride Wars. And she frigging killed it as Fantine; watch any five seconds of her performance of "I Dreamed A Dream" and try not to get chills. The point is, the lady is talented.
What's more, in any interview she gives she is well-spoken, game for whatever direction the interviewer wants to go in, and makes that interview a two-sided conversation. I mean, last night she began her interview with Ryan Seacrest by complimenting him on/inquiring about his hair.
When you're pretty, talented and coherent in Hollywood, you're going to hear - a lot - about how pretty, talented and coherent you are. I have a hard time knowing how to react when someone tells me they like my scarf; I can't imagine how awkward I would be if someone came within Mount Everest of fawning over me.
So, yeah, I'm not in love with the fact that Anne seems to have canned responses to accolades or affection. I wish she could play it more spontaneous. But again - you know what? Her dream did come true last night, and it's a dream that thousands of us have had at some point. Of course she had some lines memorized in the event she had to make an acceptance speech - I HAVE LINES READY IF I EVER WIN AN OSCAR. Was it really all that irritating to hear her acknowledge that the thing she'd always wanted to happen was, in fact, happening? Octavia Spencer pulled the exact same routine last year when she won in the exact same category for her role in The Help, and I never heard anyone dissing her for a lack of sincerity. And I thought Anne's line about her husband (the best moment of her life being the one when he walked into it) and about Fantine (may her story be confined to fiction and no longer part of some women's reality) were both beautifully stated.
Most important of all, though, is that you get the sense when watching Anne that she cares about what she is doing. She clearly loves being an actress, she loves the movie business and, yes, she loves the fluffy frivolity of it all, too. I think that's a refreshing change from the stars who act like it's all very been-there-done-that, or who act as if they are doing the rest of us a favor by waking up in the morning. I would take Anne's schtick over Kristen's schtick every day of the week and twice on any day I have to see a movie or turn on a television.
Everyone gets excited when good things happen to them. No one is good at accepting praise gracefully all of the time. Everyone in Hollywood enjoys the limelight.
To my mind, Anne is no different than her peer groups, except in the "right" ways. That's not to say anyone has to adore her, but it does make me wonder why such venom and vitriol get directed her way. In the end, it really doesn't matter, I suppose. Anne dreamed her dream and, yes, last night it came true.
Image via Yahoo! Movies.