Unless your name is Ben Affleck, Ang Lee, or any of the others announced during the Oscars ceremony on Sunday night, your life is probably pretty much the same as it was Sunday afternoon, before a bunch of celebrities rewarded each other for making some more movies this year. The Oscars gave us something to talk about for a couple days, but they didn’t fundamentally change anything about our world. Well, except one thing. And no, it doesn’t have to do with Anne Hathaway.
The revelation of the night was Jennifer Lawrence, and her emergence as Every Girl’s Best Friend. That 22-year-old goofball tripped up the stairs and straight into our hearts.
She was already well on her way there with a string of charming publicity interviews stringing back to the releases of Winter’s Bone and Hunger Games, which escalated as she became a serious contender in this awards season. She proved herself to be not only gorgeous and talented but intelligent, hilarious, witty, sarcastic, and infinitely gif-able.
Of course she was fantastic in Silver Linings Playbook, and also quite good in Hunger Games–she elevated what could have otherwise been another forgettable teen franchise with her presence–but it’s her total willingness to let loose her inner dork that endears her to women everywhere. That’s the gist of this fantastic list of 11 Reasons Why Jennifer Lawrence Is Your BFF in Your Head, via Jezebel.
I said before this didn’t have to do with Anne Hathaway, but I don’t think that’s totally true. The two Best Actress winners are a study in contrasts. Both women have achieved success early in their career, and are clearly driven by a love for their art. So why do we love Jennifer and hate on Anne? New York magazine took on the question, and came to the conclusion that we dislike and distrust Anne’s projected perfectionism and professionalism. She takes everything so seriously, from her preparation for a role to her awards show acceptance speeches. Jennifer, on the other hand, never seems to care too much about doing the “appropriate” thing.
A perfect example is her post-victory press conference:
The real genius here is that’s she’s not talking to the room. She’s talking to everyone outside the room, everyone who would never ask her a question like “do you worry you’ve peaked too soon?” or “why did you fall?” but would laugh with her about the very idea that anyone might take these questions seriously.
Then later in the evening, when Jack Nicholson interrupts Jennifer’s post-Oscars interview, she reacts in the best possible way to such a surreal encounter with a legend:
She’s having fun. She gets that her life has become pretty surreal and takes every opportunity to remind people that really she is just a normal girl who likes to make weird faces for the camera and tease her costar by interrupting a red carpet interview to ask whether his rash has cleared up. On the red carpet she says, “Man, I’m hungry!” and talks about eating McDonald’s. Anne, on the other hand, likes to remind us how she achieved her obscene Fantine skinniness by eating nothing but two squares of oatmeal paste a day (I don’t know either). Both achieve great results onscreen, but Jennifer is still able to let it go and distance herself from the Hollywood self-importance. Like Lena Dunham intentionally wearing heels that are too big and too tall, Jennifer uses these moments to project an underdog image, making sure we know she doesn’t feel like she really belongs in such fancy, glamorous places, without ever suggesting she doesn’t deserve the honors that go with them.
I hope she’s able to keep this up after she, like Anne, has been in the business for 10 years. It has to be so easy to forget what it feels like to be outside that world, where designers send you fancy gowns and jewels to wear while millions of people watch you win awards for the work you’ve done. It’s not impossible–there are a few celebrities who do seem grounded and humble and self-aware–but for every Jennifer Garner walking her rumpled kids through the park there’s a Gwyneth Paltrow prescribing thousands of dollars worth of essential ingredients to a better life.
Congratulations, Jennifer! I can’t wait to see what you do next. Now, will you be my BFF?
Edit: Also, can I borrow this dress?