Right around this time last year, when the Hathahate for Anne Hathaway was shifting into high-gear, we hadn’t yet even begun to ask ourselves when the backlash against Jennifer Lawrence would start.
In our minds, she was still the accessible, awkward, genuine antidote to Anne’s nearly crippling polish, perfectionism, and wide-eyed self-awareness. For every tearful thank you speech that Anne delivered in her clipped, measured tones with calculated breathlessness, Jennifer stumbled through her own stream-of-consciousness acceptance monologue like a bull in a china shop, charming us with her sheer obliviousness of who she was supposed to be and what she was supposed to be saying. It was refreshing.
But it’s been twelve months, and the backlash has very much arrived. For all that we rejoiced in her lovable gaffes and unscripted commentary during last year’s award season, we’re surprised to find that all the rough edges that we used to find so delightful during last year’s award season remain just as unpolished. But why wouldn’t they? J-Law has spent the last year and change being told that she’s the be-all-end-all in Hollywood, so why would she spend a single moment adjusting her behavior? With every person in America effusing at length about wanting to be her best friend, we essentially froze her in time exactly as we ‘discovered’ her.
But a year later, her antics are way less enchanting. The ‘oblivious newcomer’ character was a breath of fresh air for a moment, but in retrospect, there’s something a little insulting about saying that she was more focused on cake that night than she was on accepting her Oscar. It’s a funny thing to say, unless you’re Jessica Chastain or one of the other passed-over actresses, who were probably thinking less about cake and more about a career-defining moment. And most likely would have had no problem admitting it. It was endearing at the time to imagine that J-Law could take away an Oscar without a second thought or breaking a sweat, but with it happening two years in a row, I’m fairly aching by now for someone new on the scene. Enter Lupita Nyong’o.