I really don’t understand Twitter sometimes.
I know a statement like that makes me sound too young, naïve, sheltered and privileged to be allowed chocolate milk, let alone unaccompanied access to one of the internet’s most reliable joke factories that sometimes doubles as a dumpster fire.
But look, ‘Olivia Colman’ has been trending all night, which is right and correct. What I don’t get is this little descriptor on the ‘trending topics’ page:
Her ‘inspirational’ speech? ‘Teary-eyed’?
Do me a favour. Close every other window, turn up the volume, and watch this speech in its entirety, without interruptions from your Oscar party or your friends texting you. Take this ride from beginning to end with me, as I have done no fewer than 15 times:
Maybe I was too quick to dismiss the concept of ‘teary-eyed’, because I am weeping with laughter at every word here. I don’t know what made me laugh the most, and could only narrow it down to my top four moments in a two minute speech:
1. When she referred to accepting the award as ‘geniunely quite stressful’
2. When she admitted she’d be impressed if her children weren’t watching
3. Her method of dealing with the ‘please wrap up’ sign on the teleprompter was to blow a raspberry at it
4. She looked at her husband (who we all noticed immediately is a full-on silver fox, by the way), got emotional, and decided to rein in that emotion by mocking his! “Oh, he’s going to cry! (beat) I’m not.”
This speech has brought me inordinate joy, because how do you get to be an Oscar-winning actress and still so completely unspoiled, so earnest in a real, not-trying-to-be-endearing way? I just lost 20 minutes going back through old Oscar winners to find someone who was as genuinely surprised and unaffected. I gave up around 2001, and I suspect I’d have to go all the way back to Anna Paquin, 11 years old and gulping in shock.
But it’s a false premise, of course. Anna Paquin was a child – you expect her to be unspoiled and delighted. Olivia Colman isn’t a household name in North America, especially when compared to Glenn Close or Melissa McCarthy or You Know Who, but she’s not Yalitza Aparicio either – she’s been working nonstop in British TV for almost 20 years (shout out to anyone who loves Twenty-Twelve or W1A!!) She’s the new Queen in The Crown, for God’s sake! How can she have been in the business for this long, have that much talent, and still inspire people around her to act like this?
It’s especially notable because of the Emma Stone factor. Emma’s high on the endearing quotient herself, but over the years her effusiveness has tamped itself down - probably a self-preservation measure. So her unmitigated joy here is really special. And just in case you thought it was only for the cameras:
Emma Stone walking out crying through lobby. "That was the best thing that's ever happened," she tells her publicist, presumably talking about co-star Olivia Colman? "She's the best person ever."— Amy Kaufman (@AmyKinLA) February 25, 2019
The only bad thing about Olivia’s incredible acceptance speech is that her incredible unfiltered charm could become larger in people’s minds than her talent. I adored every minute of her speech (current play count: 21), but she completely deserved that Oscar.
The Favourite only works because her Queen Anne is a study in extremes – she’s the outer limit of fragile and volatile and childlike and bitter, and if her performance had been any less than absolutely excellent, the whole story (not to mention Stone’s and Rachel Weisz’s performances) would ring completely false, and she plays it with complete conviction and commitment. How else could she bring you to baleful laughter with a single word “…Badger”?
I’d say I want her to bottle whatever it is that has allowed her to remain normal, but I also want her to remain the only one as endearing and accomplished. So while it’s utterly beside the point, it follows that a hunter-green mock-neck front-shawl gown would only be chosen by a rare and precious bird, who is going to make it up to anyone she forgot by giving them ‘a massive snog’.
We don’t deserve her!!!!