A lot of great acting may be invisible, but you don’t get an Oscar for underplaying it. Instead, it’s the tear-jerking, weight-dropping performances that take home the prize.
Given that criteria, Anne Hathaway’s work this year as the half-starved prostitute Fantine in Les Misérables seems worthy of the statue, not to mention ripe for satire. Emma Fitzpatrick nails the latter with a spoof video of Hathaway’s big I Dreamed a Dream scene, which instantly went viral after the L.A.-based actor/singer posted it on YouTube.
In the video, Fitzpatrick delivers a note-perfect rendition of the song, but instead of describing the desperation of a fallen woman, the lyrics highlight the desperation of a self-important actress who really, really wants to win. “I played a prostitute who died/Her life was really sad and awful,” Fitzpatrick sings. “But I was bold and unafraid/I let them give me this new haircut/And I lost half my body weight/But they never did a wide shot …” All in all, comic gold.
The video, created by director Alberto Belli, not only mocks the short hair Hathaway adopted for the role and the 25 pounds she lost so she would look near death, it also spoofs the movie’s great technical achievement. In director Tom Hooper’s film, the actors sang live for the camera rather than recording the songs separately. “And I sang the vocals live/No, they did not prerecord them … Although I had to blow my nose/I did it all in one take, bitches!”
Both the movie and Hathaway have proved polarizing. Some critics admired the way Hooper and the cast brought emotional realism to the artifice of a musical movie; others, annoyed by the earnest sentimentality that is the heart of Les Miz, called it bombastic. Meanwhile, Hathaway was much snipped at in the blogosphere after she accepted the Golden Globe for best supporting actress with a breathless speech full of clearly well-rehearsed lines.
She is the favourite to win the same prize at the Oscars, but the viral video may throw a few stones on the path to the coronation.