The Oscar Best Actress race has been dominated for weeks by Jennifer Aniston. You didn’t think Reese Witherspoon would stay quiet on that, did you? No. Reese has something to say. That’s what she told Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes this week, have you watched it yet? I’ve attached the video below. In just 12 minutes, Reese presents her Oscar strategy, and it’s similar to Matthew McConaughey’s last year, with a Tracy Flick twist. Reese is here to represent Female Hollywood. But to balance out the feminist edge, because oh no, let’s not scare away the men, there’s also the part where she shows you her softness.
Do those old white Academy voters living in Palm Springs watch 60 Minutes? Of course they do. And those dudes can’t resist a pretty blonde crying on television.
Tears. And not just any tears, but tears over a mother taken too soon. That’s the big revelation – that her mother lost her mother much too young, and so when her character in Wild, Cheryl Strayed, breaks down in the forest, that’s the spirit coming through Reese. “I was holding on to my own mother’s grief in my body.” Come on. Who could resist that narrative? Especially when that angel face twists with sadness and those big blue eyes redden and water, and that sweet voice constricts into a whimper…
And then Reese’s mother makes an appearance, confirming Reese’s story, the prototype of an all American mother, looking at her child and calling her “my baby”. Oh that’s good, Reese. That’s very, very, very good.
It’s also good when she explains why she’s made so many sh-tty movies. This is where McConaughey comes in. He too made a lot of sh-tty movies. And last year, his angle was to keep repeating over and over again that he very deliberately stepped away from those kinds of projects to rededicate himself to quality. For Reese the explanation turns out to be…
A broken heart.
Who could possibly be creative when your brain is “scrambled eggs”?
Never mind that some of the best art, some of the best literature, some of the greatest songs were produced in times of “scrambled eggs”. Reese doesn’t work that way though, which is fair. And we won’t judge her upcoming movie with Sofia Vergara titled “Don’t Mess With Texas” until after this award season is over.
So the Reese Witherspoon narrative is being rewritten. She has actively, over the last few months, rejected the America’s Sweetheart title. Since that infamous arrest (“Do you know my name???), she’s embracing the fact that she’s complicated, that she doesn’t have to be “nice” all the time. Well, of course she doesn’t.
Who is Reese Witherspoon? She shows you, when she takes Charlie Rose through the halls of that prep school at the midpoint of the interview, that’s who she still is. The girl who grew up to defy a police officer, who tried to intimidate a police officer with her celebrity identity? That girl came from that place, Harpeth Hall. Was there really any doubt that Reese Witherspoon from Harpeth Hall would become Reese Witherspoon, Hollywood’s Golden Girl?