Anne Hathaway has been in the news a lot lately, and it's not because she just won an Oscar. Or for her nipples (okay, it's a little about her nipples).
It's because people hate her.
Personally, I never had much of a problem with her. I enjoyed most of her movies. I found her to be a good actress with a sweet face.
After this past awards season, however, I have joined the ranks of people who are (perhaps irrationally) annoyed by Hathaway.
We're a large faction, apparently, because news outlets from Slate to the New Yorker, from Daily Beast to the New York Times, are trying to explain the Hathahaters.
"She’s the girl proudly holding out to us her sparkling golden shoes," writes Sasha Weiss of the New Yorker. "She wants praise ... Would it really be so terrible to give her the applause that she craves?"
"...a hatred has arisen that’s typically reserved for celebrities who go on anti-Semitic rants (hello, Mr. Gibson) or hit their girlfriends (bonjour, Mr. Brown)," wrote Kevin Fallon of the Daily Beast.
According to a CNN story, Victoria Wellman of the Oratory Laboratory, said Hathaway is "just one of the people who just doesn't come off as sincere."
And that ... is the crux of it. I just don't believe her. She goes too far.
I don't buy that referring to her Golden Globe as a "lovely blunt object that I will forevermore use as a weapon against self-doubt" was just off-the-cuff. No one says "forevermore" just off-the-cuff. "Forevermore" is a planned word. And more importantly, it's a word from a speech her character gave in The Princess Diaries.
I could have forgiven the cooing "it came true" to her Oscar (I assume "it" was her dream of winning said Oscar), but then she had to go and make a political statement about 19th century French prostitutes. Come on, girl, know when to quit.
Hathaway isn't annoying because she is earnest, or eager, or even girlish. She's annoying because it's impossible to get past her seeming attempt to be earnest. Her demure, wide-eyed sincerity comes across as deeply insincere. Her Brokeback Mountain co-star, Michelle Williams, also suffers from a similar affliction.
Comparisons have been drawn lately between Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence. For every person who would love to punch Hathaway in the face (do not punch Hathaway in the face, violence is wrong), there's another who would love to hang out with Lawrence. Actually, a lot of people would probably like to do both.
"[Lawrence is] self-effacing and funny," wrote Ann Friedman of New York magazine. "She seems like an excellent party companion, taking just about every opportunity to mention how many shots she’s had ..."
The appeal of Lawrence isn't that she seems a little like a man, as Weiss wrote. It's that she comes across as someone who can laugh at herself. How many times have we heard someone say that they want to find a companion with a sense of humor? Lawrence has one, and more importantly, she has one about herself.
I know neither Hathaway nor Lawrence. I likely never will. It is very possible that Lawrence's self-deprecating humor is as planned and manufactured as Hathaway's gamine elegance ("She's trying to be Audrey Hepburn," my father observed). But if that is the case, Lawrence pulls it off a hell of a lot better.
Hathaway comes across as someone who takes herself a little too seriously. Remember her little upskirt incident? And her appearance on the TODAY Show after?
I won't get into whether Matt Lauer should have asked her about the crotch shot heard 'round the world, but it certainly was on the minds of most people watching that interview.
Frankly, I appreciated her observation that we live in a sad culture when people sell photos of another human being in an embarrassing situation. I have to agree. But, I had to wonder: Didn't she learn anything else? Like that it's a good idea to wear underwear in public? Or, you know, that keeping your knees together is not just about preventing unwanted pregnancies?
Apparently, she didn't learn that. She learned that she's "sorry that we live in a culture that commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants."
Come on, Annie. "Commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants"? Really?!?! If that wasn't prepped, planned and rehearsed, I am - as Dorothy Parker wrote - Marie of Romania.
That's what's wrong with her. She's too polished, too prepared, too handled. It's not that we hate sincere women, it's that her sincerity reeks of insincerity.
She might be a swell gal in real life. She may indeed be a lovely, earnest person. But that lovely earnestness is so magnified on stage and in interviews that it seems false. I have a hard time believing that anything Hathaway says in public hasn't been planned and vetted by a team of publicists.
I worked for a long time as an arts and culture reporter for a newspaper. One of my biggest grievances was people who insisted upon reading off prepared statements or requested email interviews to give more "thoughtful" answers. I have a feeling I would have been loathe to interview Anne Hathaway.
She addressed the backlash against her wide-eyed speeches backstage at the Oscars, according to Us Weekly.
"It does get to me," she confessed. "But you have to remember in life that there's a positive to every negative and a negative to every positive. The miracle of the universe is that, as far as they know, there's 51% matter versus 49% anti-matter — things tip in the scale of the positive. So that is what I focus on."
"Miracle of the universe"?
Oh, Anne, honey, you did not help your cause there.