I’ll admit I got sucked into the #Hathahate in late 2012 when Anne Hathaway was in the middle of an Oscar campaign for her heart-wrenching performance as Fantine in Les Misérables. From the moment the actress started racking up wins — she’s one of the few people to win an Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics Choice for the same role — and making her way from one red carpet to the next TV interview, the haters started to hate, hate, hate. And it was contagious.
By the time Hathaway walked up to the stage at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles to accept her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a pink Valentino gown with darts over her nipples — a dress she switched into at the last minute following media speculation that she didn’t want to wear a similar Alexander McQueen dress as then co-star Amanda Seyfried — audiences were foaming at the mouth. “It came true,” she cooed as she held Oscar in her hands.
It was over. Any love for Hathaway had diminished completely. Both social media and news outlets were quick to call out her faults. The speech was rehearsed! She is polarizing — because of her face! She rubs me the wrong way! She’s privileged! The rants went on. People took sides. And Jennifer Lawrence tripped her way into everyone’s hearts while Hathaway was forced to slink away.
Following her win, people continued to harp on the actress even though she was really nowhere to be seen. And it wasn’t like she was busy working on her many post-Oscar deals. “I had directors say to me, ‘I think you’re great. You’re perfect for this role, but I don’t know how audiences will accept you because of all this stuff, this baggage,” Hathaway recently told Harper’s Bazaar. And with that comment it became clear that not only did we, as a collective, outspoken audience, bully one actress into hiding, we also scared Hollywood off from working with her. We nearly derailed — or at least put a large speed bump in — one woman’s career.
More than that, we had completely lost track of what it was that we liked about Hathaway. She’s a talented actress. Had we all but forgotten the intense and immediate excitement we had when Hathaway’s version of “I Dreamed a Dream” first leaked onto the Internet? When did we stop liking her feisty and sexy role as Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises — another instance of #Hathahate that was proven wrong when she emerged as the best thing about the final chapter of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. There was her first raw performance in Rachel Getting Married that showed that she was more than just a pretty young thing. And before that she was our favorite pretty young thing with a heart and some spunk in The Devil Wears Prada. And don’t act like you hate that movie!
With Interstellar in theaters, Hathaway has returned to the spotlight to not only promote her role in the film but also address the haters. And we have Nolan, the film’s director, we have to thank for it. “Once it was announced that I was doing Interstellar, thankfully the phone started ringing again,” Hathaway admitted in the same interview.
While the part of Amelia Brand is a bit one-dimensional — ultimately I gave her a D for her space age performance — it’s largely due to the writing and not a reflection of her own talents. She’s confident on screen. She seems more aware and understanding of what Nolan is trying to do, unlike her co-star Matthew McConaughey. And she does actually provide one of the film’s more touching moments in the third act when it becomes clear that things have not worked out as they should have.
Outside of theaters, the actress has been making the typical publicity-contracted rounds on TV. On Ellen, she became emotional when discussing her cyber bullies. On The Tonight Show, she graciously ranked her embarrassing moments: “[Ten] is, for me, co-hosting the Oscars with James Franco. Which, by the way, is only tied with being honored to accept an Oscar whilst wearing a dress that I knew made it look like my nipples were erect.” She addressed all the hate. She laughed off all the shame. As Taylor Swift might say, she shook it off, shook it off.
“For a long time I was afraid of the harsh things people would say about me, but I might as well be happy,” Hathaway told Harper’s Bazaar in a cover article that came with the tagline: “Kiss and make up with Anne Hathaway. We dare you.” Challenge accepted!
If Hathaway can find a happy place in all of the mess that we created for her, then I can as well. Frankly, I’m tired of hating on the Hathaway and you should be too.
Hit the Interstellar red carpet with VH1’s Ellie Lee, below.
[Photo: Getty, Warner Bros.]