I say this every year about the People’s Choice Awards – they don’t mean anything. And it’s comical how little they mean. Like it’s always been unclear who actually votes for them. And if you see the list, some of the categories and their winners are as basic and hilarious as the MTV Movie and (now) Television Awards but they do, year after year, attract a couple of big name actors who show up because, well, they’re using the People’s Choice to promote their chances for other awards which, to the credit of the People’s Choice Awards, they know what they are and they don’t pretend to be anything more.
The biggest name at this year’s PCAs was Jennifer Aniston who was given the People’s Icon Award for, well, being Jennifer Aniston. Literally. And I mean this on multiple levels. She’s Jennifer Aniston, one of the most consistent celebrities in the business. She’s consistent in personality, she’s consistent in appearance – Jennifer Aniston, for 25 years, has been FAMILIAR. While many celebrities go through phases and eras, Jennifer Aniston is comfortingly constant. If she were a brand she’d be Heinz ketchup or the McDonald’s golden arches. Or, if you want upscale, the Porsche 911. The Porsche 911, of course, doesn’t look exactly like it did back in the day but the DNA is recognisably there. If you only saw a Porsche in the 60s and went to sleep for 60 years and woke up and were shown a Porsche in 2019, you’d be able to guess with reasonable confidence that you were looking at a Porsche.
But Jen was also at the People’s Choice Awards as Jennifer Aniston playing Alex Levy as a heightened Jennifer Aniston in The Morning Show. Have you watched it yet? If so, you know that Alex is morning show Jen, that Alex and Jen have the same hair, fidget with their hair and their faces the same way, talk the same way – is it Jen accepting the People’s Icon Award or is it Alex? This, by the way, is not a criticism of her performance; rather, it’s the key to the performance. Jennifer Aniston’s best performance is becoming a character that she spent her entire career building in public – and her public persona, her iconic-ness (what is the noun of iconic?!) is what makes Alex Levy so tangible. America loves Alex. America trusts Alex. America cares about Alex. America… doesn’t really know Alex.
But Alex would, like Jen, get up on stage and tell the “people” that she doesn’t do it for the awards or for status or friends. That she does it for them. If you know Alex – and you should by now if you’re watching The Morning Show – this is some bullsh-t. And it’s also 100% true. Jen and Alex understand that the people have no idea but that the people have given them the power. This is what makes Jennifer Aniston so fascinating right now, more than she’s ever been: she’s finally playing the game using her own avatar.