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Anne Hathaway poses with her award for best actress in a supporting role for Les Misérables at the Governor's Ball following the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Vince Bucci/AP)
Anne Hathaway poses with her award for best actress in a supporting role for Les Misérables at the Governor's Ball following the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Vince Bucci/AP)

You rock, Anne: Here’s why Hathaway is actually the best Add to ...

Why is it suddenly de rigueur to hate Anne Hathaway? Stop it. Right now.

Five days removed from last weekend’s Academy Awards, the seething public contempt for Ms. Hathaway, best supporting actress winner for Les Misérables, continues to reach levels usually reserved for drunk drivers, serial killers and hockey coaches who trip unsuspecting children.

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In recent days, CNN legitimized the Hathaway hate cause with the extended essay “Why You Love to Hate Anne Hathaway”; Hollywood.com chimed in with its own essay declaring “People do not like Anne Hathaway”; the normally tolerant Salon.com has officially declared the gamin actress “Hollywood’s Most Polarizing Star.”

Meanwhile, on Twitter, Facebook and the unwieldy realm known as the blogosphere, the Hathaway-bashing has spiked to fever pitch in recent days. Isn’t bullying supposed to be a bad thing?

And what reasons are cited for hating Hathaway? You name it. Because she’s too thin, too pretty, too doe-eyed, too phony, too skinny, too rich, too successful, too fashionable and, yep, too toothsome. That’s a whole lot of vitriol directed against a former Disney star who only turned 30 recently.

Mostly, the haters hate Hathaway for what they consider to be a wildly disingenuous Oscar acceptance speech and for simply being too happy. Recently married, fulfilled in her chosen profession and newly rewarded with filmdom’s highest honour, the mad girl had the temerity to appear blissfully happy before a worldwide audience.

Such cheek! Thus, she’s easy to hate. No question, one of the basic tenets of living in a democracy is the unalienable right to despise any person, place or thing one so chooses. But of all the available targets, Anne Hathaway? The shameful aspect: Amid all the hateful commentary and hurtful comments, the general public forgets Anne Hathaway is a very fine actress.

Judge for yourself. Critics and moviegoers alike fawned over Hathaway in her 2001 feature debut The Princess Diaries. Her career has steadily ascended since with intriguing character turns in Ella Enchanted, The Devil Wears Prada and Alice in Wonderland. She changes it up with each new role and has proven herself equally capable at goofball comedy (Get Smart) as complex dramatic roles (Brokeback Mountain). Her version of Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises last year instantly eclipsed previous portrayals by Halle Berry, Michelle Pfeiffer and other actresses.

So where did the love go? The anti-Hathaway movement is neither new or particularly original. When she won top honours for Les Misérables at the BAFTA ceremony in Britain earlier this month, the press pounced upon her for thanking Victor Hugo and her “vomit-inducing” acceptance speech. When she hosted Saturday Night Live last November, she was promptly pilloried for taking mean shots at Katie Holmes and Claire Danes in sketches. It’s a sketch show, ninnies!

Mercifully, the anti-Hathaway movement appears to be slowly tapering off. On the day post-Oscars, the only person who had Hathaway’s back was Lena Dunham, actor and star of HBO’s Girls, who herself generated harsh feedback for her support of the actress. In the past 24 hours, The Village Voice’s Michael Musto stated the Hathaway hate campaign is dwindling and The New Yorker published a spirited defense. The return to normalcy always takes time.

But the unbridled fury directed against Hathaway in recent days makes you wonder: Would the Internet be white-hot with hate diatribes had she lost last weekend? Would people be writing nasty things about Amy Adams or Helen Hunt or even Sally Field if they had taken the trophy for best supporting actress?

Not a chance. The public will always abide a sore loser, but a beautiful winner is simply too big and too easy a target.

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