E! News made it into an entire, several-paragraph story yesterday: "Jennifer Aniston Refuses to Watch the Oscar Nominations Being Announced Tomorrow." Indeed, a full-article about how a woman was simply not going to turn on a television. But it fit into the tired narrative that Aniston, despite being wealthy, beautiful, seemingly happy, and by all conventional measures successful, is a sad sack. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
Now that it's official that Aniston did not get an Oscar nod for her leading role in the movie Cake, according to Just Jared, and the Internets at large, "fans are upset." Her loyal fans (and perhaps there's a new generation of them now that Friends is streaming on Netflix), the ones who were always on #teamJen following her split with Brad and Brad's subsequent hook up with Angie, wanted this for her.
Part of the story, which seems to be taken as common wisdom, is that Marion Cotillard's nomination took Jennifer's rightful spot. First, let's acknowledge that getting nominated for an Oscar is not like waiting in line at the DMV. No one "takes" anyone else's spot. It was not earmarked or numbered for Jennifer Aniston; the statue was not already engraved with her name on it. As Los Angeles Timesentertainment reporter Meredith Blake put it, "I don't think that's how it works!"
Secondly, unlike Cotillard's universally adored Two Days, One Night, Cake was a critical flop. In spite of this, Aniston garnered praise for her portrayal of Claire, a sour, drug-addicted woman in chronic pain, which is noteworthy, but perhaps not Oscar nomination-worthy. Still, Aniston's name was in the Oscar mix, and that's due, in large part, because the actress worked her butt off campaigning for a nom. I am fully supportive of women going for whatever awards or gigs they want—so no shade to Aniston for admitting she wanted that little gold man. But that doesn't mean it's a tragedy that she didn't get it.
It all goes back to the original insult: That Brad Pitt jettisoned Aniston for Angelina Jolie. That story has such legs that, even though it's a decade old and the players have all fully moved on with their lives, many reports have linked Jennifer's snub with the fact that Jolie also missed out on a nomination this year. "Rivals Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie are BOTH snubbed in the 2015 Oscar nominations," The Mirror blares. Never mind that in an interview earlier this month, Aniston acknowledged the breakup as a "media driven topic" that "follows" her.
So don't feel sorry for Jennifer Aniston, either for the original insult or for being "snubbed" for an Oscar this year. She's talented, and there will be other roles, probably more serious ones given the critical acclaim she received for Cake. If I had to guess, I bet that Aniston woke up, learned the news, had a moment of sadness, before smoking a J and having some consolation sex with her fiancé. At least that's how it goes in my Aniston fan fic. If you want to be upset about something from this morning's Oscar nominations, be upset over the overwhelming whiteness and maleness of this year's honorees. Be agitated over Ava DuVernay being snubbed for Selma. That's something that's actually sad.
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