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Oscar Analysis: Anne Hathaway has an acceptance speech deficit

Thelma Adams
Yahoo! Movies Oscars Blog
February 15, 2013

To paraphrase the Beatles, when it comes to getting that little gold statuette, Anne Hathaway should be singing: "I want you, you know I want you so bad; It's driving me mad, it's driving me mad, yeah."

The "Les Miserables" star is on the verge of driving even her die-hard fans nuts, too. I'm dreading her acceptance speech on Oscar night -- and I'm not alone.

The prevailing attitude is, OK, Anne, you sang your tonsils out, we wept, and the award is yours. You've come a very long way from "The Princess Diaries." BUT if you deliver one more awkward unfunny adlib, one more breathy thank you to cast and crew, one more twinkly-eyed shout out to Mr. Hathaway, we're going to be miserable in a way that doesn't make us want to sing "I Dreamed a Dream."

The BAFTA Backlash

The backlash exploded after last weekend's BAFTA's. The Daily Mail headline said it all: "Anne Hathaway becomes a laughing stock after viewers ridicule her overly long Bafta acceptance speech."

Her joke about co-star Eddie Redmayne puking somewhere backstage and missing her moment fell flat. "Hey Eddie, get well soon, I'd come and hold your hair - but, you know," she said, pointing to her newly bestowed award. She is death to ad-libs.

The low-point of the night was when she thanked 19th century author Victor Hugo, something I've seen director Tom Hooper do with a dry, self-effacing wit that gets at the irony: Hugo was a genius, we're just filmmakers and actresses in fancy frocks.

My favorite snarky tweet quoted by "The Daily Mail:" 'If Hathaway thanked Victor Hugo, will Bigelow have to thank Bin Laden?' Another great one: "Every Anne Hathaway speech: *Attempts badabing joke, feigns humility, breathily compliments cast, thanks management, loves husband.* Vomit."

The Golden Globe Get-over-yourself Gabfest

Way back on the night of January 13th, early into the dream when Anne Hathaway won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, her time from hearing her name announced, smooching her hubby to being ushered offstage to wrap-it-up music was a meaty two-and-a-half minutes.

She began the speech with "Oh my gosh, this is happening," and then lurched to the awkward moment praising the "lovely blunt object that I will forever more use as a weapon against self-doubt." Ooh, ick. Then she breathily thanked the world and the microbes wriggling on it, her competitors, and again thanked her husband for "for the best string of yesterday's I've ever had." Must we suffer all this heavy breathing from the singer winning the award for holding very, very long notes? But it was all newer then, and her surprise seemed more genuine.

Critics' Choice Movie Awards: They're not Mensa but, please, don't remind them

From kiss-the-husband on her right to walking to the stage accompanied by her own voice singing "I Dreamed a Dream," to the new husband parting thanks, the acceptance at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards on January 10th, was the standard Hathaway acceptance speech. EXCEPT that the Vassar dropout went all spelling Nazi. The group spelled her name "Ann" not "Anne" and the actress couldn't resist: she began her speech with a ruler to their knuckles: "This is a bittersweet moment for me because I have this award but you spelled my name wrong. It is with an 'e.' It's probably in bad taste for me to point that out here."

"Sorry, I don't mean to be gauche," Anne said. She was. The problem with Ann, er, Anne is that when she tries to be self-effacing, it's like she has a little Hathaway devil prancing on her shoulder saying aren't I cute when I'm humble. Humility is not Hathaway's strong-suit. Nor is ad-libbing - her jokes tend to fall flat. And, as for all those kisses to her husband, by now I feel like telling the pair to get a room. You see the guy every day; you don't have to thank him from every podium.

So far, this long red carpet season, Hathaway wins the "Sally" award for worst acceptance speeches, named after "Lincoln" actress Sally Field's long-ago "You like me! Right now, you like me!" speech for her "Norma Rae" win. Neediness is death when it comes to grabbing the gold. You earned it, Anne, now be short and sweet and get off the stage.

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