Jennifer Lawrence vs Lupita Nyong’o

The queen is dead. Long live the queen.

Last week, Lupita Nyong’o triumphed in her internet-created rivalry with Jennifer Lawrence, walking home with the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, the generally-agreed title of “best dressed” and the crown of most beloved Hollywood It Girl. Meanwhile, Jennifer Lawrence, who was the darling of the ball last year, walked home to mutters that ranged from teasing to scathing.

Lupita Nyong’o certainly deserves all of the praise she’s received. She is, after all, a gorgeous, talented and sophisticated woman who is fluent in four languages, writes and directs, and has an MFA from Yale. But can’t we admire one A List female actress without designating another to hate?

Last year, it was Jennifer Lawrence vs Anne Hathaway, with Jennifer Lawrence our designated heroine, as a down-to-earth girl of the people who shunned dieting and tripped on her way to the stage (but still looked gorgeous along the way), while the quieter, elegant Anne Hathaway was considered too try-hard and overall too thirsty for her Oscar. As far as I can tell, Anne Hathaway never did anything except eloquently speak against sexism a few times, but she was definitely the “witch” to Jennifer Lawrence’s beloved star.

But that was an entire twelve months ago, and like all previously beloved female stars, Jennifer Lawrence is now facing backlash. And, like all female stars, she can’t simply move back from “most beloved” status when another actress takes her place. She must instead be thrown into a position that varies from disdain to utter loathing. Last year, her trip on the Oscar stage was seen as adorable and endearing. This year, people insist that her stumble over a cone on the red carpet must have been staged, because no one could be genuinely clumsy twice. Last year’s “refreshingly real” is this year’s “totally fake.” Meanwhile, the media and the internet hyped up a rivalry with Lupita Nyong’o, with huge backlash against Jennifer Lawrence when she dared to win the Golden Globe over her 12 Years a Slave rival. People accused the Golden Globes of racism in its choice, but Jennifer Lawrence is hardly responsible for how people vote or which awards she receives. Yet a new Hollywood It Girl was rising, and so she had to fall.

The strangest part of the entire cycle is that Lupita Nyong’o is like Anna Hathaway. Both are elegant and soft-spoken, giving beautiful speeches and exuding a sophisticated Disney-princess-esque air. They both studied acting at university and have a background on the stage, and overall have a feminine glamor about them. Jennifer Lawrence, on the other hand, is more jokey and outspoken, tomboyish and seemingly more down-to-earth. Last year, everyone adored her untraditional attitude that seemed to rebel against the ridiculous standards of Hollywood, and hated Anne Hathaway for seeming to embrace those fake standards. But now, apparently, we’ve tired of rebellion and consider that fake, swinging back to wanting our favorite star to be feminine and sophisticated as well as talented.

I’m sure in 2015 we’ll be hating Lupita Nyong’o’s “totally fake” style and praising a new tomboy instead. But maybe we could try, you know, not doing that? Wouldn’t it be awesome if more than one female actress was allowed to be praised at a time, and if we could love a variety of personalities at once? If we could swoon over Lupita Nyong’o’s glamor and admire her amazing acceptance speech, while simultaneously relating to Jennifer Lawrence, and respecting and enjoying the talent of them both? Why must there only be one?

09 comments on “Jennifer Lawrence vs Lupita Nyong’o

  • VVendetadlc , Direct link to comment

    I agree that we should be able to like more than one woman at a time. Anyway, the thing that Anne and Jennifer have in common its that both speak against sexism… It seems that the reason no woman it’s liked for long is that they speak up. The only exception is Angelina Jolie, that do that in other countries. I hope things change, but I see a pattern.

  • Maddy , Direct link to comment

    Could not agree with this more – you never see this kind of thing (at least to the same extent) with male actors.

  • Maddy , Direct link to comment

    Could not agree with this more – you never see this kind of thing (at least to the same extent) with male actors.

  • Alice , Direct link to comment

    I couldn’t agree more, we need to stop pitting girls and women against each other; not only actresses, but also singers and other performers, and “regular” people as well.
    I had no idea that Lupita is fluent in four languages, the more I learn about this girl, the more she amazes me!

  • Riccy , Direct link to comment

    Actually, people had been saying that the trip is staged since it happened. Plus J-Law hate is not new, and existed before her Oscar win, and it’s less that she is a woman, but she is an ableist, transmisogynistic and sometimes racist person who is not at all feminist as people think who uses her ‘quirkiness’ as a cover for her douchebaggery (*http://yourfaveisproblematic.tumblr.com/post/45661326649/jennifer-lawrence). Plus people didn’t want her to win because her last year’s Oscar win was dubious at best anyway and there is a long, long history of Black women’s stellar performance that are often shunned by the Academy, even through Lupita’s win is problematic of itself because it is a slave role no matter how outstanding she was in it. I just hoping Lupita don’t disappear into the wind like a lot of recent Black female Oscar winners.

    And Lupita already receives hate and it’s not because she’s a woman, but a BLACK woman. This article ignores intersectionality at play.

    • Rhiannon , Direct link to comment

      Jennifer Lawrence has said some problematic things, but I think the fact that she’s a woman definitely factors into people’s reactions to her — many male actors who’ve done much worse things are still heaped with praise, and no major media outlet that I know of has mentioned her problematic statements as the reason for her downslide in popularity. I was definitely crossing my fingers that Lupita would win the Oscar, but I think this supposed “rivalry” taken on a decided “girl vs girl” tone, rather than actually discussing the various serious issues lurking here, and the vitriol against Jennifer Lawrence has taken a decidedly brutal tone that helps nobody.

  • Riccy , Direct link to comment

    Actually, people had been saying that the trip is staged since it happened. Plus J-Law hate is not new, and existed before her Oscar win, and it’s less that she is a woman, but she is an ableist, transmisogynistic and sometimes racist person who is not at all feminist as people think who uses her ‘quirkiness’ as a cover for her douchebaggery (*http://yourfaveisproblematic.tumblr.com/post/45661326649/jennifer-lawrence). Plus people didn’t want her to win because her last year’s Oscar win was dubious at best anyway and there is a long, long history of Black women’s stellar performance that are often shunned by the Academy, even through Lupita’s win is problematic of itself because it is a slave role no matter how outstanding she was in it. I just hoping Lupita don’t disappear into the wind like a lot of recent Black female Oscar winners.

    And Lupita already receives hate and it’s not because she’s a woman, but a BLACK woman. This article ignores intersectionality at play.

  • A brown woman , Direct link to comment

    Ofcourse a white woman would think this is pitting women against each other and not a stand against racism and white privilege. White women are still white. White women are still white and still benefit from white privilege and white supremacy. White women are not black and they never will be and they will never understand what it is to be black. Jennifer Lawrence is white. You are white. Deal with it.

What do you think?

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