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Opinion: Jennifer Lawrence is overrated, Oscar voters submit to public opinion

Jennifer Lawrence attends the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Jan. 18.  Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Jennifer Lawrence attends the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Jan. 18.
Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Alas, the news came out Jan. 16 that many movie junkies had been waiting for — the announcement of nominations for the 86th Annual Academy Awards. There were, like always, surprises and snubs that had people talking.

All categories of this award ceremony have garnered my strong attention, but let’s talk about the awards that everyone seems to care about: acting.

A big name appearing on the Best Supporting Actress ballot was actress Jennifer Lawrence. Everyone these days seems to be in love with Lawrence, whose highly vocal attitude but sincere acting have earned her a special place in fans’ hearts.

I had just seen the film for which she was nominated, “American Hustle” (which is pretty good by the way), the previous week, and while the acting in the film was relatively good, no one particular performance by an actor struck me as brilliant. This includes Lawrence’s. Now that is simply one man’s unsupported opinion and nothing really more. But for some reason, this young star in particular made me ponder a little bit more.

Lawrence is a three-time Oscar nominee, and the youngest person to have the achievement at a mere 23 years old. I would have to say that she is a prominent figure in Hollywood society too, with her constant coverage in the media, as it seems that every time I turn on a late night talk show, she is a main guest.

When I happen to see all these things online and on television, I simply ask, “Why?”

Being a movie fanatic, I have seen her portray all three roles that earned her Oscar nominations, starting from “Winter’s Bone,” which in all honesty was her best Oscar effort in a role, not her portrayal as a bipolar widow in “Silver Linings Playbook.”

This brings up an issue that is to me of pressing urgency. Lawrence is getting more love from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences than she deserves. This, however, is not the issue that needs to be brought up. The issue is with the Academy itself.

I have always believed the Academy has shown an extensive capability for manipulation over the course of the past decade or so.

Voters in this film institution don’t just look at the quality of the works presented to them, but also seem to think about other factors such as popularity and influence from outsiders. Popular actors and actresses, such as Lawrence, have lots of support and popularity and this body of influence intimidates the Academy, I believe, into leaning to their favor when deciding who wins the Oscar.

If that isn’t food for thought, ponder how social influence affects the decision of the Academy as well. Think of Halle Berry, who won her Best Actress in a Leading Role Oscar for her performance in “Monster’s Ball” in 2002. Her performance was good, but many criticized the Academy for the decision, stating that the roles of other actresses that year were better.

Look back only a few months before that, I found that some in the black community pressed hard on the Academy that a female black actress has never won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role, claiming that prejudice as a factor. Now while there is no way to prove that was the reason Berry won the Oscar that year, the proximity of these two events was very close.

The same thing is going on here with Lawrence. Just a few years back, I believe there was a slew of complaints from young Hollywood, that younger actors and actresses don’t get enough consideration with the Academy. Right after, a slew of nominations come in that are guided toward younger actors and actresses, a situation I believe opened the door for Lawrence to enter the scene.

In the end, my words need to be represented in the right manner. I think many blacks and young Hollywood had points when they made their arguments, but that doesn’t mean the integrity of fair judging should be abandoned to appease an angry crowd. That, in a way, is selling out. There are other ways the Academy could have handled those situations, including having more interest in the roles of black or young actors over time.

Is Jennifer Lawrence a bad actress? Of course not. She is pretty good, especially in comparison with her contemporaries. However, no matter how much “Entertainment Weekly” or Conan O’Brien like her, the Academy needs to keep a level playing field. Form your own opinions and stand by them, regardless of outside pressure. That right there is honesty.

Correction: A prior headline of this article misspelled Jennifer Lawrence’s last name as “Lawerence.” In fact, it is “Lawrence.” 

75 comments

  1. Whenever I see Jennifer Lawrence in anything, I see someone acting, I don’t see the character. She has never been able to suspend my disbelief for her time onscreen. Ever. As for the pretty, there are better looking women in Midtown NYC that JL can’t hold a candle to. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so YMMV.

    The one thing that no one ever talks about that a female pointed out to me is that women love her so much because they think she is ugly. But you will never in a million years get a women to admit that.

    I don’t personally think she is ugly, but I would not give her a 2nd look If I passed her on the street.

  2. I don’t think people realize that not everyone is going to like what they like. The people who dislike her have just as much as a right to talk about it as the people who would literally kiss her ass if given the chance. Instead of freaking out that one person doesn’t like your precious “J-La”, why don’t you just not read the article? There are thousands of “JENNIFER LAWRENCE IS THE QUEEN OF EVERYTHING AND PERFECT” type articles on the internet.

  3. OMG I couldn’t agree more with what youve written and some comments above.

    I’m not really a celebrity person. I’m just not a fan for anyone in the Hollywood. For me all that matters are people’s work not themselves like all it matters r musicians’music and actors’acting not who they are. I don’t even know since when she got this popular like every teen loves her. I mean I just don’t get this JL craziness. The first time I saw her was in X-men in which she played mystique. I’m a fan for x-men. I didn’t know who she was but when I saw JL in that role I was very disappointed. Because if u have watched all xmens movies u would know she wasn’t the first playing mystique and her previous was much better than her, in terms of both appearance and acting. Her acting was nothing impressive but plain and dull. And she was so ugly compared to her previous. She should be fit and very nimble yet she was fat and clumsy. She was way too chubby for that role. And her face was just way too below average that I couldn’t even remember it after 2 painful hours of watching . I mean I know they want a younger version of mystique but can u please at least find someone that would share the least resemblance with the previous cold yet beautiful and elegant mystique ? Thru out the entire movie the only thing I was thinking was this is the ugliest the worst mystique I’ve ever seen.

    Yes she has done better ones since but still I don’t see how her acting was good enough for a best actress prize. I really think her performance is overated.

    And I’m not Male so this is not sexism and she’s too ugly for any women to be jealous. And I just don’t understand why these young people love her like crazy

    And I genuinely agree with many sane comments above. Insulting other people for having different opinions just because you are a huge FAN is really childish rude and stupid. Grow up people
    .

  4. How can you say anyone is “overrated” when she wins an Oscar at 22? She’s absolutely the most versatile, intriguing young Actress to come along in the past 40 years, and has the potential to be the Audrey Hepburn of her generation. You won’t even see her full potential for another 5 years. She shines like the “Sun” in a sky full of “Moons” as you compare her to anyone else Hollywood offers today. It truly seems like opinionated “establishment” folk LOVE to attack Jennifer Lawrence; possibly because she IS so popular!

  5. One thing that has stuck in my craw about “Greg”‘s comment is the line, “Call this article your opinion but do not dare to use the word overrated”. His opinion is that she is overrated. Duh.

    Furthermore, Greg’s (and the other J-Law worshipers’) comments attacking the OP’s opinion viciously, as if they actually know Jennifer herself, are representative of the exact reason why I and so many others have a problem with the orgiastic cult of personality that surrounds her, which gives her a bulletproof public image and allows her to say crass and insensitive things that a famous (but not worshiped) actress or actor wouldn’t be allowed to say without being torn to pieces in the press. She says she hates shy people, calls herself “obese” and says that she “eats like a caveman”, when she is the jack-off fantasy of half the males on the planet. Yet, she is allowed to be praised as the Saint of Body Acceptance because she is smokin’ hot and every self-deprecating comment she makes is greeted with a flood of obsessed fans insisting that she’s gorgeous. She wasn’t initially discovered for her acting; she was discovered by a modelling scout. I’m not saying she’s a bad actress; she’s infinitely better than Kristen Stewart (at least everyone’s beloved J-Law is capable of changing her facial expressions). But I completely agree with the OP that her natural charisma and confidence (on top of some pretty good, if not worship-worthy, acting chops) have allowed her to skyrocket to super-stardom while other talented young actresses who are more reserved get overlooked. So I welcome all of you J-Law humpers to attack my post: each of your comments will only confirm everything that I and the OP have said.

  6. It’s simple really, art is basically dead or dying in all the popular forms of major media. Is she a great actress? Not really. Honestly if you look at history there are very few truly great actors and actresses. But you know, they give an Oscar out every year so they gotta pick someone, and hell, might as well be someone with a pretty face that they can market to legions of fans for many decades.

  7. Are any of you J-Law groupies aware that she has referred to her characters of Katniss and Ree (from Winter’s Bone) as “white trash” numerous times? Or that she doesn’t try to immerse herself into her characters’ lives at all, aside from working out? She has admitted this in interviews. She also loves to imply that she’s unique and special (“invincible” was the word she used… I smell an ego) for refusing to ever “starve” herself for a part. Actors and actresses don’t have to starve themselves for a role unless they have an eating disorder, because they have professionals who coach them on the best way to lose weight without starving themselves. J-Law also has stated, quite explicitly, that she doesn’t believe in bisexuality. Imagine if any other star had said that, especially these days when such ignorance is completely offensive and unacceptable. But did all of you J-law fans hear a word about it? No, because all of you worshipers refuse to accept that she is anything less than perfect, so media outlets keep such statements concealed in order to make sure they get enough revenue, lest they dare to say anything even slightly negative about her. To see the way her fans go crazy over her is like Stockholm syndrome. Oh, and Tiffany, your comment saying: “she’s the best in the game right now so crawl back under your rock and let your hate kill you…BYE” perfectly proves this. I’m not saying Jennifer is a bad person (since I don’t know her), but this ridiculous fandom around her is doing a lot more harm than good. Good luck being such an asshole, Tiffany- I’m sure Jen will read your comment and make you her very best friend.

  8. Oh, and Chuck Plumb: what makes you think she deserved her Oscar? More importantly, did you see any of her competitors? Did you know that Jennifer did almost nothing to prepare for the role, and didn’t even read the source material? Or that she didn’t bother to study what people with bipolar disorder actually behave like? I know a LOT of people with BPD, and while her acting was good, it was NOT believable as someone with BPD. I know how subjective these things are, but to claim that her Oscar is proof that she is the most talented thing out there is preposterous.

  9. I Love movies and a big fan of people who make them.Close Friends and relatives of my family are into movies and though we are non-english actors, we sometimes have hollywood actors in our mutual parties. So one day we had Robert deniro at one such party and my family being huge fans of him got to meet him and he was very nice with us.My daughter is a huge j law fan and mentioned it with deniro, so in the conversation we asked about how good an actress she is and to our surprise, robert deniro said i dont like to praise her because its not good for her, but said that if jennifer is in any movie he would like to watch it the first instance he gets time to watch it.We asked who his favorite actors are , he told us old names we’ve not heard before from hollywood and leonardo dicaprio , when we asked actresses he just simply replied I like meryl streep and the other one i just told u(referring to jennifer.)

  10. I Love movies and a big fan of people who make them.Close Friends and relatives of my family are into movies and though we are non-english actors, we sometimes have hollywood actors in our mutual parties. So one day we had Robert deniro at one such party and my family being huge fans of him got to meet him and he was very nice with us.My daughter is a huge j law fan and mentioned it with deniro, so in the conversation we asked about how good an actress she is and to our surprise, robert deniro said i dont like to praise her because its not good for her, but said that if jennifer is in any movie he would like to watch it the first instance he gets time to watch it.We asked who his favorite actors are , he told us old names we’ve not heard before from hollywood and leonardo dicaprio , when we asked actresses he just simply replied I like meryl streep and the other one i just told u(referring to jennifer.)

  11. Jennifer Lawrence, to me, is the least talented of all the A-list actors out there. I wouldn’t even call her an actor but rather a made-up star. Hollywood have a lot of power and they can make or break anyone, even talentless twats like Jennifer. The argument of the number of oscars is far from having any merit, Oscars have everything to do with politics and nothing with talent or merit. Take for example Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt or Glenn Close never won an Oscar and they blow almost any actor out of the water in terms of talent. Nowadays, the media wants you to celebrate emptiness, stupidity, shallowness, that is why the stars of nowadays, in acting and in music are talentless. Make a stupid movie that have no depth like The Hunger Games and it makes 400 million, make a genius movie like Boyhood and it barely hits the 50 million mark. That tells you a lot about what is prioritized nowadays.

  12. the writer of this article has a right to his opinion and that includes anywhere on earth. I think she is a overated with the constant attention she gets from the media. he is just stating the opposite of what the fans of jennifer lawrence are stating so she is good looking and may seem nice in interviews that does not have anything to do with acting ability look at russell crowe he has a rough personality but the characters he portray make you have sympathy with him even though he is only portraying a likable character. the film she was awarded best actress for was okay buy not excellent. her acting had a contribution to it so stop thinking like herd of sheep and think like a person.

  13. Ragnar Danneskjold

    It simply amazes me how much idolatry people develop towards actors. Insane

  14. hey, “able”? I love how you criticized the author for being a cliche (couldn’t add the accent there) for thinking for himself and realizing that JLaw isn’t worth the hype, and label it as “shallow hipsterism”? What is more cliche- recognizing that some over-inflated star perhaps isn’t worth their orgiastic worship, or going along with what everyone else says because that is the easy thing to do? I don’t think I’ve ever read a more hypocritical comment on here than yours. And all of you people defending her like it’s something to get angry are over are hypocrites too, acting like this guy is trying to ruin her career by expressing an unpopular opinion. One more thing, Able- did you ever stop to think that maybe 99.99% of aspiring actors and actresses don’t make it because they aren’t nearly as attractive as her? Probably like 90% of them? Smh.

  15. In her Vanity Fair profile, Jennifer said acting is stupid. She described an experience where she met a young burn victim who was now more secure about her appearance and proud of her nickname “girl on fire”. Jen went on to say: “That was the first time in my entire career that I actually felt like there was a point in this. Not to sound rude, but it is stupid. Everybody’s like, ‘How can you remain with a level head?’ And I’m like, ‘Why would I ever get cocky? I’m not saving anybody’s life. There are doctors who save lives and firemen who run into burning buildings. I’m making movies. It’s stupid.” She goes straight from feeling that “there was a point in this” to saying that acting is stupid. Just because it isn’t on the same level of nobility as being a fireman/surgeon, acting is a legitimate profession that is NOT stupid, obviously has benefited her very much, and is sought after by so many struggling actors who would die to reach Jen’s level of success. If you ask me, she is ungrateful and ignorant, and I am tired of seeing her patted on the back for these kinds of statements. If it weren’t for her fame, she wouldn’t have opportunities to inspire people the way she did with the young burn victim, or to donate her wealth, etc. The whole “I’m not saving lives” line has been said before, and does not excuse her calling her own career stupid, completely ignorant of the fact that every society in all time has had (and needed) forms of entertainment- professions in that industry are just as legitimate as everything else. If she thinks acting is so “stupid”, perhaps she should quit and become a firefighter. But no, she will continue to be a commodity for the film and fashion industries, benefiting in ways that most of us can only dream of, and then acts like she is above it. And all of you (like the commenter who said that this article is so not true that it almost made her cry- get a life) who viciously defended her above have been essentially brainwashed by media outlets who refuse to criticize her in any way. Why? Because of the multitudes of impressionable fans like them.

  16. I too, fail to understand the hype of her. She is mediocre, at best as far as acting, and has an insufferable personality. I refuse to see any movie she is in at this point. The only movie of hers that she was actually good in was Burning Plains. Other than that she is either really blah, or too over the top to even be realistic or to have any connection to her characters.

  17. Give me a break. Jennifer Lawrence has raw, undeniable talent. Whatever film she is in, 99% of the time she is fantastic. The only reason you think she is overrated is based upon your opinion that she is an OK actress and she is getting acclaim. She is received acclaim because of her talent, not because of he popularity. Anne Hatheway is a hated actress (not by me, but by many) and she isn’t popular but she still receives awards. So your hypothesis of the academy giving oscars based on popularity is idiotic. Jennifer Lawrence has talent, and the reason she is popula and highly acclaimed is because she has talent. End of

  18. No, it’s because she plays the exact same character over and over. Do you not realize how constructed all of this is? How do people develop so much obsessive worship towads actors? She and her pr team know exactly what they’re doing.

  19. First of all, freedom of speech. This person can write a blog, and I feel he brings up some good points. I also do not understand the hype around Jennifer Lawrence. I will say that she is beautiful and seems unafraid to say what’s on her mind at any given time. Apart from these qualities, is her level of acting superior to most other actresses out there? I would say no. I don’t see a lot of depth in her acting– I don’t ‘believe’ her, you could say. Brash, outspoken people (often with the guise of humor) will often demand our attention, and then get it. But does it make them artistically amazing actors? No. Folks who think she’s amazing have yet to appreciate the greats. There will always be those who appreciate the mediocre– which is fine. Just don’t call it great.

  20. Jennifer Lawrence is one of the worst actresses of out time. She looks dead on film and if she didn’t have breasts (fat sacks in her case) no one would spend 5 seconds paying attention to her.

    I mean really…..

    And, she has a vulgar disgusting mouth to boot. Ever hear this trash talk off camera?

  21. Well I’m a female so don’t anyone reply with me being sexist. Such a damn scapegoat now to call someone sexist for having an opposing opinion on someone of the opposite sex. Anyways, she’s an actor. She’s good, but I don’t get the hype either. Yes it is difficult to pull off a role successively, but there are plenty of others before her that have done that as well. Maybe I am too critical on people because I just see her as another actor and I’m hard pressed to name anyone that makes me exclaim “well damn! I forgot this was a movie.”

  22. I don’t understand the hype either and I’m waiting for it to end. I don’t find her talented at all. She’s either wearing the same face or overacting, no subtlety at all. It’s especially painful to see her in Xmen. Yes, it’s a superhero flick, but there are Fassbender and McEvoy in it, and they’re both very talented “new” actors (even though they’re not that young audience is still not that tired of them), and seeing JLaw ruining their job is just… meh. Her Oscar for Silver Linings was a great surprise for me. I didn’t even think the Academy would take notice of this movie, seemed a very, very mediocre and poorly written melodrama to me.

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