Why Anne Hathaway Became Hollywood’s Most Hated Celeb
Over the years, people have grown to hate Anne Hathaway so much that a new word was created—”Hathahate”—just to describe the movement. How did the Oscar-winning beauty go from the likable star of Disney moves to arguably the most loathed actress in Hollywood? As to be expected, people have a lot to say on the matter.
She’s a ‘bad theater kid’
Remember that really, really annoying kid from high school who was super perky in every class and always went on, and on, and on about how amazing the upcoming production of Annie was going to be? That over-the-top, turned-up-to-11 personality is what many find so grating about Hathaway.
“She’s got this theater kid thing where she adopts the mood of every situation she’s in—rude and bawdy on Chelsea Lately, poised and ‘classy’ at the Oscars, etc.—but wildly overcompensates every time,” Richard Lawson explained to Hollywood.com. “She always seems like she’s performing, and her favorite act is this overstated humility and graciousness. I’ve known theater kids my whole life. I was a theater kid my whole life. She is the epitome of the bad kind of theater kid.”
“It’s not really Anne Hathaway I ‘hate,'” writer Sarah Nicole Prickett said in a separate piece for The New York Times. “It’s all the lesser, real-life Anne Hathaways I have known—princessy, theater-schooled girls who have no game and no sex appeal and eat raisins for dessert.”
The 2011 Oscars were a disaster
We’ve seen a lot of bad Academy Award hosts in our time, but few reached as many lows as co-hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway in 2011. Franco initially received most of the criticism for what many felt was a low-energy and bizarre performance, but he eventually fired back, claiming Hathaway was at least partially to blame for why some thought he looked stoned on stage. “I love her, but Anne Hathaway is so energetic, I think the Tasmanian Devil would look stoned standing next to Anne Hathaway,” Franco told late night host David
Letterman in March 2011.
For her part, Hathaway took the experience in stride. “In the grand scheme of things, I got to have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she told Harper’s Bazaar (via Pret-a-Reporter) later that year. “I met great people, wore beautiful clothes. And I got to put on a show. I don’t see a downside. Anyone who disliked my personality probably disliked my personality before the Oscars.” That’s cute and all, but it still doesn’t explain that awful solo number about Hugh Jackman.
Are men to blame?
In a 2015 interview with InStyle, Hathaway threw her hat into the ring, arguing that the debate about her likability may simply be a creation by the media. “You and I both know there is a certain type of media that trades on desperation and will paint someone with that filter if it will make them money, whether the story is true or not,” she said (via E! News). Specifically, she argued that men in the media may be more responsible for stirring the pot than women. “That [New York Times story] was written by a man. Among the women I’ve worked with and met in my industry, I feel supported,” she said.
Her awful Oscar speech
While winning an Academy Award for Les Miserables was obviously a huge moment for Hathaway, it was also an insufferable one for those who had to sit through her groan-worthy Oscar acceptance speech. “It came true,” Hathaway awkwardly quipped, referencing the iconic song she sang in the movie, “I Dreamed a Dream.” The immediately cringe-worthy instant felt equal parts corny and way too rehearsed, to the point where it continues to be mocked all these years later. Suddenly, her dream became fresh fuel for her haters.
It’s hard to watch her win
Hathaway is hands down a fine actress, but watching her win continues to be cringe-worthy. Take, for example, the time she called out the Broadcast Film Critics Association for spelling her name wrong while casually mentioning it was the second time they had given her an award. Or how about her nails-on-a-chalkboard, overly theatrical acceptance speech at the BAFTAs, during which she breathlessly thanked, among others, her hair and makeup artist, author Victor Hugo, and also herself for having laryngitis, otherwise she might burst into song. She also called out co-star Eddie Redmayne, who was reportedly backstage vomiting from food poisoning. “Hey, Eddie,” she joked, “Get well soon. I’d come and hold your hair, but, you know…” After the long-winded and warbling dissertation, one viewer tweeted (via the Daily Mail), “Sigh. There Anne Hathaway goes again, being all surprised and honored and humble with a carefully rehearsed extemporaneous speech. #BAFTA.” Another tweeted, “Anne [H]athaway’s acceptance speech was longer than her screen time.”
Is she too perfect?
Writing for The Cut in 2013, Ann Friedman argued that some people may not love Hathaway simply because she comes across as too “perfect.” To prove her point, she noted the many reasons people initially fell in love with another actress who won an Oscar that year, Jennifer Lawrence. “[Lawrence is] self-effacing and funny. She seems like an excellent party companion, taking just about every opportunity to mention how many shots she’s had. “Lawrence said she ordered McDonald’s on the red carpet at the Oscars,” Friedman added. “Hathaway is a vegan.” In other words: next time she wins an award, Hathaway might want to consider tripping on her way up the stairs.
Her looks may be to blame
In February 2013, the obsession with why people hate Hathaway got so ridiculous that Salon actually spoke to a psychology professor to see if he could solve the problem. The one they found—Terry Pettijohn—only made the debate worse by arguing that people may hate Hathaway simply because of the shape of her face. “When times are good, we prefer actresses with rounder faces,” he said. “They convey these ideas of fun and youth.” Hathaway, Pettijohn argued, had a “mature face” that “suggests she would be popular when times are more challenging.”
Okay, fine. Even we’ll admit that Pettijohn’s theory is a little ridiculous—not to mention sexist. Oh, and speaking of sexism…
The bandwagon effect
Do you really actually hate Anne Hathaway? If you answered the question with “I dunno, maybe,” you may be the victim of what P. M. Forni, a founder of the Civility Initiative at Johns Hopkins University, describes as a bandwagon effect. “The sensation of belonging to a group of like-minded people activates the pleasure centers of the brain,” Dr. Forni told The New York Times. “So at a certain point, something like what has happened to Ms. Hathaway acquired momentum, and people were willing and eager to be part of that momentum. The psychological dynamics at work are, at least in part, the ones at work in cyberbullying.”
Another academic, Dr. Jack Goncalo, argued that the reason lies within the lazy elements of mob mentality. “If the majority has done my thinking for me, I can move on to something else,” Goncalo told the Times. “People don’t want to think.”
How she can turn it around
Making fun of Hathaway has become some sort of international pastime, but as The New York Times reported, “It is a safe bet that the real life Ms. Hathaway is not enjoying the sport.”
Some celebs have spoken up in her defense, and that could help turn the tide. Girls star Lena Dunham tweeted, “Ladies: Anne Hathaway is a feminist and she has amazing teeth. Let’s save our bad attitudes for the ones who aren’t advancing the cause.” News anchor Anderson Cooper defended Hathaway against his own peers on CNN. “I think she’s been through a lot. People have all these judgments about her; they don’t know what she’s really like..It upset me,” he said on Anderson Live (via Us Weekly).
Hathaway has not said much about the barrage of bullying, yet she has admitted the joking, “does get to me,” reported Us Weekly. “But you have to remember in life that there’s a positive to every negative and a negative to every positive.” She noted, “The miracle of the universe is that, as far as they know, there’s 51 percent matter versus 49 percent anti-matter—things tip in the scale of the positive, so that is what I focus on.” If that theory proves true, Hathaway can trust that sweet time will take care of this public image conundrum, and until then, she shows no sign of cracking under pressure. “I live my life with love. I live my life with compassion. I live my life hoping the best for absolutely everyone, no matter how they feel about me,” she said. “And when you live that way, it’s amazing how beautiful every day can be.”