Hands up if you like Emma Stone – as an actress, not just a cute personality.

Keep them up if you think she’s one of the best of her ‘class’. That is, if you think she can hold her own against Michelle Williams, Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman, Anna Kendrick? Yeah, me too.

Here’s where it gets tricky.

Keep your hands up if you believe that this performance was the best one of the year. The best acting by a woman committed to film in 2016?


Because whether your hands are up or down, I can’t shake the feeling that Emma Stone doesn’t think she deserved to win the Oscar. Not now. Not like this. Sure, “Emma Stone, Oscar Winner” was the dream—but something about her face and demeanor this whole year has told me that she doesn’t think she’s earned it.

You feel it too, right? She doesn’t beam when she talks about Mia from La La Land. She’s done few open-mouthed-laughter interviews. She seems a bit subdued, and I wonder if she feels a bit sheepish about the unstoppable Emma-will-win train? Everyone wants to be rewarded for their best work—provided it is their best.

Problem is, all the whispers about La La Land are kind of true. It’s a bit light.

“I’ve been at it for six years!” Mia complains. Six whole years, poor baby! It’s hard to look with an even glance from this role to Natalie Portman’s to Ruth Negga’s, and I bet she knows it.

It’s not as much of a challenge—or a change in her—as Birdman, for example. Even so, that’s her most ‘difficult’ role; she’s never done anything like Black Swan or American Hustle or Brokeback. Emma Stone is still playing variations on winsome Olive from Easy A, with whom we all fell in love. Very charming variations but… who wants to keep playing the same character for 8 or 9 years?

I wonder if my pop psychology even extends to her wardrobe this cycle. Lainey posited that her Independent Spirit Awards green ensemble was her having as much fun as she would let herself. But why did she have to play it so safe? Because she was playing a ‘nice’ character? What would happen if she wore weird-ass-sh*t that would on a different year be earmarked for Rooney Mara?

Okay, all right. One final note, and this one, I admit, is a bit churlish—if you’re badass enough to wear a Planned Parenthood pin on the red carpet (which only Emma Stone and Dakota Johnson did, as far as I know…), and I appreciate that it is a badass move, I really do, why wouldn’t you go ahead and make sure it could be seen? The gold pin on the gold dress faded into the background almost entirely…

When I brought this up last night, I admit some people rolled their eyes at me, and I’m not saying she should have chosen a different dress. But… you couldn’t coat that thing with a bit of navy nail polish or something?

For what it’s worth, her gold column wasn’t revolutionary but it wasn’t snoozeville, and though her Vanity Fair getup makes me think of a kid’s raincoat, she’s finally smiling a real smile in most of the pictures. 

Next year she’ll be on the presenting circuit. Think about what she’ll get to wear then. In fact, now that she’s won the damn trophy, maybe there’s a lot more freedom about to come her way.