Recently, I was discussing the 2015 Oscar nominations with some coworkers.
“Jennifer Aniston got totally robbed,” my boss remarked.
“Oh?” I questioned. “For what?”
“Cake,” she replied. “She deserved the Best Actress Nomination.”
I hadn’t seen the movie, so I went home and looked it up. Aniston plays a woman suffering from chronic pain after an accident. Not exactly a romp through the tulips, yet Oscar material rarely is. It didn’t sound like the kind of movie I’d want to trudge through, yet I do like Jennifer Aniston, so I decided I needed to do some more research before going to see it or not. I read myriad articles extolling Aniston’s performance as gritty, truthful, and tear-jerking.
Several of the articles mentioned her “physical transformation” for the movie. Apparently she gained a few pounds and went sans makeup for the duration of the production in order to accurately evoke the appearance of a woman consumed by pain. And then there was this article, who demands that we cease to praise actresses “going Theron” in order to garner Oscar noms (referring to Charlize Theron’s 2003 movie role in Monster.) The article decries Aniston’s attempt to ugly herself up, arguing that she not only did a bad job at it, but that she is obviously desperate to prove that she is a serious actress.
The suggestion that going without makeup is an attempt to mask a poor acting job is frustrating enough on its own, but I was especially fired up because I had just the previous day read this article about Jennifer Lopez’s new movie, The Boy Next Door, a psychological thriller in which she plays a foxy housewife who is preyed upon by a sexy young neighbor. The article scoffs that J. Lo needs to “stop it with the lip gloss and the perfect eye shadow,” because appearing attractive and good acting are, apparently, mutually exclusive. It posits that Lopez is “vain” for looking so good on camera.
Well geez, Hollywood, I’m sorry that we women have fucked up so badly here. We’re not allowed to let ourselves be unattractive, you’ve made that perfectly clear. But now we’re also not allowed to look too good, either. We really can’t win with you, can we? We should probably just cut off our heads altogether and walk around like decapitated blowup dolls, since our faces seem to be giving you so much trouble. Actually, forget I said that. You sick fucks would probably love it.
It is this kind of thing that truly brings to light how far women have to go in the entertainment industry. And it’ll never happen until people stop seeing actresses as shiny ornaments and start seeing them as human beings. Celebs – they’re just like us!