Awards show season has begun and the stars are out in full force. Last year, Jennifer Lawrence charmed the pants off of interviewers with her low-key, laid-back attitude, and this year she’s back at it again. However, it seems she might have some competition in the form of one Emma Thompson. Or at least, that’s what some tabloids would like you to believe. This week while browsing one of my favourite gossip sites I came across an article titled “Why Emma Thompson Is Cooler Than Jennifer Lawrence.” Admittedly, Emma Thompson has been garnering a lot of attention this season with her incredible no1curr attitude. Whether she’s tossing her shoes off, photobombing Lupita Nyong’o or drinking booze from a blue Solo cup, Emma seems to be eschewing the usual actress MO of looking pretty for the cameras and obediently reading the teleprompter. Just like JLaw, she’s letting her personality shine through and people are praising her for spicing up what can be the pretty monotonous routine of awards shows.
But why is the media making it out to be some kind of competition? Are we really supposed to believe that Hollywood will implode if two actresses are well-liked at the same time? One article I read even went so far as to claim that Emma has “dethroned” Jennifer, as if being a celebrity is a competition in which there is a quota of exactly one down-to-earth, likeable actress. Notice that we never see these articles about men. No one is writing about how George Clooney has lost his charm and is being overshadowed by Matthew McConaughey. I doubt we’ll ever see an article claiming that Liam Hemsworth is feuding with Josh Hutcherson over their love for the same woman.
As the media continues to fabricate feuds between actresses—whether it’s over a role, or a man, or claims that one actress is the “new queen of…”—the message is clear: if you’re a woman, there’s not enough to go around. You’d better scratch and claw your way to the top and enjoy it while it lasts because you’ll be kicked off that pedestal as soon as the next hot thing comes along. Before you start thinking I sound too extreme, remember that this is the year when one critic complained that the Golden Globes had “too much estrogen!” Remember that women only represent 32.8% of speaking roles in movies and that out of the 149 films set to be released this year, only 4% of them are directed by women. Finally, think about last year’s award season and how the press delighted in tearing down the “try-hard” Anne Hathaway while exalting Jennifer Lawrence as America’s sweetheart and yet now, just one year later, we are seeing numerous articles about how people are sick of Jennifer Lawrence. Given that women are so under-represented in Hollywood, it’s not surprising that many feel there’s only room for one queen bee.