NYT Writer Surprised Actresses Sometimes Act Like Actual People

Man, the Oscars really brought out the worst in people last night, huh? In addition to all your amateur comedian friends trying to outsnark each other while live-tweeting the thing, some dudes who actually contributed to the making of a really good movie got played off by the “Jaws” theme music while the cast of Chicago got to go up there like five times. There was Seth MacFarlane’s entire hosting gig, which played like the open-mic comedy set of a frat boy who finds himself saying “it’s okay, some of my best friends are…” a lot. Someone who should never be allowed near a computer or smartphone again made a @HathawaysNipple novelty Twitter account because we are the worst generation and let this happen. Really a race to the bottom last night, everyone.

But Alessandra Stanley at The New York Times (On It!) had a much different take on the evening. She rather enjoyed MacFarlane as the host, or, at least, didn’t see him as the core problem. She saves quite a bit of her ire for a perhaps undeserving target, Best Actress winner Jennifer Lawrence, for doing human things that most people do literally every day. She writes:

“Ms. Lawrence tripped on her way to the stage but didn’t make any faux pas in her acceptance speech. She was less guarded on the red carpet, complaining to one interviewer that she was hungry and moaning presciently that the show is too long. With another, she let fly a profanity that ABC barely bleeped in time.

It wasn’t the first time she’s flouted awards-show etiquette: At the Golden Globes, she began her acceptance speech by dissing Meryl Streep. (Mr. MacFarlane referred to the gaffe in a joke, saying that he heard Ms. Lawrence say that win or lose, “it’s just an honor that Meryl Streep wasn’t nominated.”) It could be a rebellious streak in her, but mostly it’s a reminder of how young and unworldly some stars are, despite all the coaching, minders and Dior gowns.”

So first of all, we’re all on the same page on this and I don’t even need to go into about how there’s no way Stanley would have written those same words, or dedicate that much space and indignation to Lawrence if she were a dude, right? Right. And you’d think with the high standards of quality the NYT tries to hold itself to or whatever, she would have at least run a Google search and seen the literally dozens of nearly identical blog posts about how Lawrence’s “I beat Meryl!” line was a First Wives Club reference and not in any way an actual slight at Meryl herself. It’s not that hard, guys. 

The Oscars have kind of developed this presence where they’re really just an expensive, self-congratulatory mess, especially in the last few years, where a Best Picture win for Crash and Billy Crystal in blackface can somehow coexist amid glittery montages celebrating how great and envelope-pushing the movies are. And you know what? If Jennifer Lawrence can see through the pageantry and keep it real, then more power to her. She looked great and she won a damn Oscar and made a lot of really GIF-able side-eyes. God forbid lady actors sometimes swear or trip or are honest about wanting to eat food.  

These actions don’t make Jennifer Lawrence “unworldly,” they make her a person. And this may be getting off-message a bit, but I know as a culture we don’t like to think celebrities are real people, but they are, and losing that reminder that they’re human is what leads to dumb Rihanna domestic violence jokes and snark about the Kardashians’ body hair and comments about stars’ weight that young, impressionable tweens see and think about their own bodies with that same scrutiny. And you know what? The show was way too damn long. Jennifer Lawrence was right.

So, to recap, Stanley just chastised an actress for expressing a desire to eat on the red carpet but sort of praised a dude who made a really tasteless eating disorder joke while hosting. Great job, everyone! You’re all the worst.

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