Jennifer Lawrence faces backlash over BAFTA win

Tom Butler
·Senior Editor
Battle... The two actresses are also up Oscars (Credit: Entertainment/EOne)
Battle... The two actresses are also up Oscars (Credit: Entertainment/EOne)

The BAFTAs are over for another year and the headlines will tell you two films dominated: ‘Gravity’ took six awards, while ’12 Years A Slave’ nabbed Best Film and Best Actor.

And they’d be right, it was an outstanding year for the two films hotly tipped to be duking it out for the top awards at the Oscars too, but the headlines don’t tell the whole story.

[BAFTAs 2014: The full list of winners]

While much of the chatter online during the show questioned ‘Gravity’ nationality credentials (here’s why it is resolutely a British picture) a vocal proportion also took to Twitter to question Jennifer Lawrence’s Best Supporting Actress win for ‘American Hustle’.

But why has a victory for the ‘Hunger Games’ star, one of the most beloved actresses of the internet, caused such outrage?

Two words. Lupita Nyong’O.

The 30-year-old Kenyan-Mexican’s turn in ’12 Years A Slave’ as the brutally mistreated slave Patsey is nothing short of astonishing and many had expected her to take home the trophy.

It’s a raw, honest and utterly heartbreaking performance, made even more confounding by the knowledge that it’s her big-screen debut, but the British Academy decided to honour Jennifer Lawrence instead.

To give her her dues, Lawrence is utterly brilliant in ‘American Hustle’ too. Her Rosalyn Rosenfeld is dizzy, deceitful, and downright hilarious, and she deserves all the plaudits she can get.

But, as much as we love J-Law, we can’t help but think that it’s ultimately an extended cameo, albeit a genius one.

To make matters worse, the ‘X-Men’ star wasn’t ever there to collect her trophy, sending her ‘American Hustle’ director David O. Russell onstage to deliver an oddly self-serving speech in her place.

Obviously, it wasn’t entirely a two horse race, in fact, it was a heavyweight showdown that also included Julia Roberts for ‘August: Osage County’, Oprah Winfrey for ‘The Butler’ and Sally Hawkins with the home advantage in ‘Blue Jasmine’, but the Twitter outrage seemed particularly aimed in sympathy at Nyong’O.

It’s a star-making turn for the actress, who will be seen next in Liam Neeson actioner ‘Non-Stop’, so this awards snub is unlikely to hold her back, but she can justifiably wake up this morning feeling more than a little robbed.

Since making her debut, she’s won over fans thanks to a strong social media presence and love of selfies with stars so, funnily enough, it’s a J-Law trait that seems to have engendered her to the general public: The perception of being "grounded”.

Her date for the BAFTAs was her Mum, you don’t get much more grounded than that.

[BAFTAs snub James Gandolfini]

Let’s not jump to conclusions though, this isn’t the start of a Jennifer Lawrence “backlash”, it’s more the beginning of a love affair with Nyong’O, and a general feeling that there’s been a miscarriage of justice somewhere along the way in the BAFTA voting process.

Lawrence picked up Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs – Can Nyong’O upset the cart with a win at the Oscars? We’ll find out on March 2.