In Which I Prove That Lupita Nyong’o Is Better Than Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence attending the Golden Globe Awards January 2014Right 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.


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    • Lucy

      You didn’t prove much other than your opinion, making the title a bit misleading. I’m definitely not of the opinion that we can’t criticize women without being anti-feminist, but it helps if they’ve done something to criticize. I agree with you about the cake thing, but that’s already been covered in its own article here. A more interesting story would be why we build up actresses so much and then turn on them (I may be wrong, but I don’t really think this happens with men), or why we get sick of actors we previously loved, or why Lupita is awesome and deserves the Oscar more than the other nominees (which I agree she does). As it is, it just reads as, “I used to like his actress but now I’m sick of her and I prefer his one,” which makas for a boring article. That said, I’ve read and enjoyed many of your previous articles, and look forward to the next.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Thank you for your feedback Lucy, I really appreciate it.
        As far as the title, it was the best way I could think of to get my point across in a limited amount of characters that also sounded enjoyable (or at least opinion-inducing) to read.

    • ChopChick

      So hold on–Anne Hathaway tries too hard but this new chick tries hard and we’re all for it. Talk about some made up sh*t.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        I’m saying I was probably (definitely) a little hard on Anne Hathaway. I just didn’t like that she pretended to be surprised by the awards she won, when all anyone was saying all year is that she was a shoe-in.

    • dddddddeded

      This is just a cruel piece of writing. You can defend it as much as you want, but it was unnecessary and truly pitiful in its cattiness.

      When it comes down to it, you just wrote an entire article tearing down a woman who is talented and successful in an industry that rarely lets women into the big leagues. I just felt really let down by this article, as well, because I have read this blog daily for years and I now feel uncomfortable with the thought of ever returning.

      I hope next time you sit down to write an article critiquing an actresses’ body of work, you focus on something other than her personality and the fact that you found a new toy to play with. Nice work all around.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Why can’t I focus on personality and what’s presented to the media? In today’s world, it’s given just as much importance as the movie roles an actor selects, don’t you think?

    • Farrah

      How totally sad for this writer that she cannot like more than one actress at once. I wonder how often she pits actors against each other for her momentary affections.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        I can (and do) like many actresses at once. I’d just like the opportunity to keep liking Jennifer Lawrence without being bombarded by her presence from every corner.

      • Liderc

        I know this is two months old and I have Jlaw fatigue myself, but you are the reason that we’re bombarded by her presence from every corner. The media is what causes us to love someone when they come up and then hate them when they’re stuck on every website front page and magazine cover.

        If people like you didn’t talk about these people so much we wouldn’t be so sick of them a year later.

    • Kathy

      I’d like to add my 2 cents about Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle, and maybe this isn’t the place. But I thought she played the Jewish American Princess perfectly, and her New York accent was really good. I don’t think she “threw it together” but I got the impression that she had some good coaching. Or maybe she is a natural, I don’t know. Her mannerisms and JAP antics were flawless, and she really added something to the picture. Amy Adams was also quite good, and the entire ensemble cast of American Hustle really sparkled. If it had been all Christian Bale and everyone else phoning it in, well obviously the picture wouldn’t have been as good. I’m not saying that J-Law deserves an Oscar, but she definitely deserves the nomination. Thank you – rant mode off.

    • Lawrence Wilson

      I’m sorry… but I think Jennifer has the same incredible personality as she did a year ago and Alexis, I do not know you but your opinion really comes off as nothing more than jealousy.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Sorry to hear that!

    • Gross

      My God, this was written by a complete moron. Never coming back to this website again.

    • Nona

      Jennifer Lawrence is awful and I’m glad some people are finally seeing that. But she never works at her roles, she’s said it many times and it’s evidenced in her characters. They’re all exactly the same. She’s a hack and a phony and I’m tired of people saying she’s oh so talented and refreshing.

      • Emmy

        Not expecting a response, but I cannot ignore this blatantly false comment. Jennifer’s is exceptional. I’m a Film student with a theatrical background. Jennifer has IT. I first watched her in Silver Linings Playbook. The depth she brings to her characters is extraordinary. She makes them human – vulnerability, anger, sadness, humor, charm, jealousy, likability… She can portray a dozen emotions with one gaze. She is no hack and I think the media’s stupidity just undermines her talent. I was so impressed that I went back to watch Winter’s Bone and I’ve seen American Hustle. She is a dominant acting force. This idiot of an author is blinded by typical cattiness, the need having to put down one female while praising another. I’m so sick of it. I like Lupita, I really do. She seems like a sweet person. She will need to prove herself to show she’s in it for the long haul. I have no harsh words for her, I wish her the best! Jennifer is my favorite actress right now based on sheer talent. I don’t count personality. I happen to love Anne Hathaway. I was confused by the “hate”. This is something made up with the media and they try to act like they speak for all of us.

    • Agnetta

      Oh dear… you would be better off without this post! Bad, bad, baaad choice.

    • Spelly

      Spell check

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Do you have a particular concern you’d like to air, or just those two words?

    • PersonWithAnOpinion

      fuck crushable and fuck the internet

    • lizziegoneastray

      I realize this is an opinion piece, but I’m getting really tired of this idea that there’s some kind of “happy medium” for every trait a woman could possibly possess — from humility to sexuality to body type — and which any woman might, at any time, be penalized for failing to live up to. This “happy medium” is constantly moving and completely subjective, and as you mentioned (but failed to condemn) a woman might be lauded for her perfection one day and shot down the next for everything she is and does.

      JLaw is who she is. If you like her, great! But if you don’t, is it really necessary to do this kind of thing?

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        As an entertainment blogger with constantly changing opinions — yes, it is really necessary to do this kind of thing. It’s my job.

    • Cait

      Honestly I’m so over the whole “woman is better than this woman” argument. No one person is better than another.

      This reminds me of all the hate Anne Hathaway received at the Oscars last year. People hated her because she worked so hard and was extremely prepared for everything, whereas Jennifer was seen as a “breath of fresh air” and “just like a regular person”. Now people are sick of her and see her behavior as contrived or an act. The media is so fickle it’s ridiculous.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        It’s almost like you quoted my article word for word.

      • Cait

        I’m just saying that hopefully a year from now there won’t be an article complaining that you’re over Lupita because she tries so hard and is over prepared a la Anne Hathaway 2013.
        Liking one actress shouldn’t detract from your admiration of another. They aren’t mutually exclusive. Here’s a solution: you’re sick of seeing Jennifer Lawrence, or any other celebrity, stop writing about them.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        “Here’s a solution: you’re sick of seeing Jennifer Lawrence, or any other celebrity, stop writing about them.”

        You seem to have a basic misunderstanding of my job.

      • Cait

        I figured that would be the only part of my comment you would respond to.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Congratulations! You predicted the future! If you’d like to see my responses to any of your other concerns, feel free to look through the comment section.

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    • Concerned parent

      You’re just upset that JLaw is worth $30mil and you’re worth $30K, and no one seems to laugh at your jokes the way they do hers

    • Maddison

      I don’t understand why you are you even comparing these women. The link between them is, what, they’ve won Oscars? You say that you should be allowed to “compare their bodies of work” but your article speaks nothing of their award-winning performances. In fact the only mention of their profession is your claim that Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t seem to work as hard as Lupita to prepare for her roles, based solely on your opinion.

      • Alexis Rhiannon

        Correct, very good, this piece is based solely on my opinion. Because I wrote it.