I wasn’t happy when I won my Oscar: Anne Hathawa

Actor says attempts to fake happiness led to people disliking her

News Desk October 21, 2016
Hathaway portrayed a woman forced into prostitution in Les Misérables. PHOTO: FILE

In 2013, Anne Hathaway was awarded best supporting actress for her critically acclaimed role in Les Misérables. While winning an Oscar can help establish one as a firm favourite in the public eye – like Jennifer Lawrence, for example – Hathaway’s win sparked a backlash resulting in her becoming an international hate symbol.

At odds to her fellow Oscar winner Lawrence’s down-to-earth, relatable, instantly-your-best-friend persona, Hathaway’s award season was often characterised with perceived gloating, being over the top or a typical, run-of-the-mill, drama-schooled, all-American girl. A punch line from Amy Schumer’s 2015 hit film Trainwreck summarised it best when the comedian’s character teases her boyfriend (played by Bill Hader) who wins a charity award. “You look like Anne Hathaway at an Oscar’s party,” she says.

Hathaway gracefully laughed off the joke, while Schumer laid the blame firmly on director Judd Apatow. But now, The Intern star has reflected on her Oscar nod, explaining she was unhappy and uncomfortable during the ceremony and it was this fake happiness which led her to being ridiculed.

“I felt very uncomfortable. I kind of lost my mind doing that movie and it hadn’t come back yet. Then I had to stand up in front of people and feel something I don’t feel which is uncomplicated happiness,” Independent quoted Hathaway as saying. “It’s an obvious thing: you win an Oscar and you’re supposed to be happy but I didn’t feel that way. I felt wrong that I was standing there in a gown that cost more than some people are going to see in their lifetime and winning an award for portraying pain that still felt very much a part of our collective experience as human beings.”

To play the role of Fantine, a woman forced into prostitution to pay for the upkeep of her daughter, who later dies from illness, Hathaway famously took method acting to the next level by cutting off all her hair and embarking on a gruelling diet. At the time, she called the diet “starvation” and refused to reveal the methods which led to her losing a rumoured 25lbs for fear of glamourising it, reaffirming she was portraying a dying woman.

“I tried to pretend that I was happy and I got called out on it, big time,” the actor continued. “That’s the truth and that’s what happened. But what you learn from it is that you only feel like you can die from embarrassment …you don’t actually die.”

Consider some of the articles written about Hathaway from 2013. ‘Why is Anne Hathaway so unlikable?’ from the New York Post, ‘Why do women hate Anne Hathaway (But love Jennifer Lawrence)’ from New York Magazine  and “Anne Hathaway Can’t Win” by Buzzfeed. There was another charming Buzzfeed community post entitled, “12 reasons why everybody hates Anne Hathaway.”

The general, rounded-up, anti-Hathaway sentiment even led to the term the “Hathahaters” and the 33-year-old Princess Diaries star had to take time away from the spotlight. In another interview, she said that at the time, she got the impression that “people needed a break from me.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2016.

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