A week and a half ago, Les Miserables cast member Anne Hathaway accepted the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She was elated, as she should have been: the newly-married celebrity had lost 25 pounds for the role of impoverished, starving Fantine, who chops off all her hair and sells her teeth to feed her little girl. Hathaway cut off all her hair for the part, and the tears streaming down her face onscreen were genuine. Let's not forget that she lived off radishes and hummus to prepare for the film. Yuck.
Yet when Hathaway demonstrated sheer excitement that shedding a dangerous amount of weight and eating gross food was worth the aggravation during her Academy Award acceptance speech, the internet blew up with Hathaway hate, or as some have called it, "Hathahate."
Her acceptance speech set everyone off, as they felt it sounded rehearsed (but what nominee doesn't plan ahead for something as prestigious as the Oscars?)
Sure she was gloating when she squealed, "It came true," but did that warrant an all-out campaign against her? Definitely not, and the reasoning many have given for disliking her isn't sound.
Atlantic Wire writer Richard Lawson explained why she rubs so many people the wrong way to Hollywood.com's Brian Moylan, "She always seems like she's performing, and her favorite act is this overstated humility and graciousness. I've known theater kids my whole life. I was a theater kid my whole life. She is the epitome of the bad kind of theater kid."
Maybe she is, but don't most big name celebrities become grating sooner or later? Hathaway has been a household name in the entertainment industry for more than a decade, so if people are only now starting to call her out on her annoying antics, she can't be that bad.
Before picking her apart for seeming obnoxious in interviews, consider her resume. She was the wondrously relatable Mia Thermopolis in breakout film, Princess Diaries, sweet but naive wife of a closeted homosexual in Brokeback Mountain, wide-eyed aspiring journalist in Devil Wears Prada, and iconic catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises. She works hard for every role she lands, and though she's been criticized for seemingly demonstrating false sincerity, she wouldn't be the first celebrity around to feign a genuine attitude, especially after paying one's dues and signing on to silly projects in Hollywood.
Daily Beast writer Kevin Fallon understands where I'm coming from. He asked a good question in his own piece on Hathaway backlash, "What if Twitter and the blogosphere had existed when Sally Field bragged about how we really like her? Would she still even have a career?"
Thankfully, I'm far from the only one who thinks all the hate directed at Hathaway is petty and callous. CNN's Anderson Cooper recently defended her on his show, stating, "She's incredibly talented, she seems like a lovely person, I think she's been through a lot. People have all these judgments about her; they don't know what she's really like. Nobody knows what any of these people are really like in real life ... It upset me." Me too.
Ta-Nehisi Coates put it best in his article for The Atlantic: "Anne Hathaway is an actor. This is not a synonym for 'Homecoming Queen' nor 'special friend.' She does her job better than most. That should be enough."
As many have argued, Hathaway is the opposite of Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence, who seemed so flustered about winning the Oscar last week that the 22-year-old actually fell on her way to retrieve the golden statue. The clumsy move was so unbelievably human and charming, and Lawrence has gotten pretty much nothing but praise and glowing reviews since.
Hathaway, on the other hand, has been anihilated, but as Jezebel writer Jennifer Wright noted, "Most people are more Anne Hathaway than Jennifer Lawrence ... Jennifer Lawrence is like the coolest girl in high school who also happens to be the nicest. She's the kind of star who is sparkling and bright and totally removed from the majority of human beings. And that dazzling quality will last until the moment when she messes up and says or does something ridiculous in front of a reporter. Since that happens to everyone eventually, I'd give it about seven more months."
It's my hope that the media doesn't turn on Lawrence the way it so quickly turned on Hathaway, who did nothing more than express joy over winning an Oscar, but no matter what happens, it's time for everyone to stop arguing that Lawrence is perfect while Hathaway is Satan.
You can like one without wanting to strangle the other, and we need to get out of the habit of shaming women for celebrating their achievements. Knock yourself out, Anne Hathaway, and while you're at it, knock out those who don't approve of your happiness and hard-earned awards.