Why Is Jennifer Lawrence’s Branding Better Than Anne Hathaway’s?
7:15 pm, March 3rd | by Meredith Lepore
If you really think about it, Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway are actually very similar. They are both young and beautiful actresses, but they are also both extremely driven and want to work as much as possible. But Jennifer Lawrence has figured out how to channel her persona into the appealing, honest, “I’m a celebrity, but I’m actually just like you,” girl who can drink a beer, lead a franchise, wear sweatpants and be the face of Dior, while Anne Hathaway does not seem to have a fan in the world right now. If I were Anne Hathaway, I would fire my publicist.
Since the Golden Globes, Anne has been unmercilessly picked on. At the Globes, when she thanked Sally Field for being a pioneer in the field of being a young, white beautiful actress who broke into the business with a corny yet sweet role (The Flying Nun and Gidget for Sally, The Princess Diaries for Anne) and then worked hard to overcome that Disney image, I wanted to strangle her.
But there is something amazing about the hatred of Hathaway. Web sites like BuzzFeed, Hollywire.com and Salon have devoted articles to criticizing the actress for basically everything from ruining movies to her bone structure. New York Magazine writer Ann Friedman went so far as to ask, “Why do women hate Anne Hathaway (but love Jennifer Lawrence)?” It’s a good question. The only actor that we have heard of having something negative to say about Anne is James Franco when they hosted the Oscars together (and he didn’t exactly seem like a day at the beach). She speaks out on behalf of gays’ and women’s rights and has actually been in many great movies, but she’s generally my least favorite part of those films. So what is it?
“She’s got this theater kid thing where she adopts the mood of every situation she’s in — rude and bawdy on Chelsea Lately, poised and ‘classy’ at the Oscars, etc — but wildly overcompensates every time,” says Richard Lawson of The Atlantic Wire. “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.”
So why has Jennifer managed to stay so likeable? Well, she seems to be the opposite of rehearsed. Her Oscar speeches haven’t been funny but they are clearly the result of being honestly overwhelmed. I think a big part of the appeal is her relationship with food. Anne, who lost 25 pounds to play Fantine in Les Miserables, talked about how starving herself was just part of the job. She came off as scarily devoted to her craft. In comparison, Jennifer has quoted in multiple interviews talking about Philly cheesesteaks and saying that she has been starving on red carpets in order to look good.
And heck, the photos that surfaced this week showing Jen on a balcony in Hawaii smoking pot and drinking wine were awesome. Who wouldn’t want to go on that vacation? Anne Hathaway’s idea of a vacation is probably doing yoga for six hours a day and singing songs from The Sound of Music. This is the classic tale of an effortlessly cool girl versus the wannabe who tries to hard, but on a huge, glamorous Hollywood level. Heck, even Jack Nicholson thinks JLaw is cool.
You can see these two brands clearly in each of the women’s press briefings after they won. Anne is so calm and composed and has a perfect answer for each question and insists she is still not pleased with the performance that JUST WON HER AN OSCAR. She tries to be funny but it doesn’t really work. Meanwhile, Jennifer gets out there and when asked about her preparation process for getting to the Oscars, she looks dumbfounded. “I took a shower?” The press room is in stitches from the beginning. Watch below.
Anderson Cooper told his daytime-talk-show audience “She’s incredibly talented. She seems like a lovely person. I think she’s been through a lot. And you know what . . . people have all these judgments about her, they don’t know what she’s really like.” The host even went so far as to plant a seed of doubt about Lawrence’s endearing clumsiness. When asked about her Academy Award trip Bradley Cooper cracked, “You don’t think that fall was rehearsed?”
Ann Friedman wrote, “By contrast, even though she’s now an Oscar-winning actress, Lawrence still seems fresh. Hathaway, who has been acting for a decade and was a clear favorite for the Best Supporting Actress award, seems to fit the broader cultural pattern (I’ve called it the Hillary Catch-22) in which we simply don’t find successful, “perfect” women very likable. Lawrence is well aware that it serves her well to stay the underdog. She told Chelsea Handler about being in the grocery store and seeing her face on magazine covers. “I was like, I’m going to be that person that everybody hates because it’s like, ‘Here I am!’ all the time.”
Well, maybe we were all just caught up in the craziness that is awards season. It will be interesting to see if the hatred of Anne lasts. We should remember that Anne has proven staying power (she has been acting for 10 years now) while Jennifer is still pretty new. But we have to admit, launching a huge franchise and winning an Oscar in the same year is a pretty good start.