Awards Season: A Winning Strategy

Shinan Govani on the Oscar marathon.

NUVO Daily Edit: Awards Season: A Winning Strategy

Has it really been already a year since Jack Nicholson made Jennifer Lawrence’s acquaintance for the first time, going so far as to do the one thing even more brazen than photo-bombing—interview-bombing?

Lawrence, freshly Oscar-crowned, was in the midst of a backstage sit-down with Good Morning America‘s George Stephanopolous, when that man from The Shining crashed in mid-interview. “You did such a beautiful job,” Nicholson told her, entering the shot with his famous grin. And then, the clincher: “You look like an old girlfriend of mine.”

There is an epilogue to that episode, we’ve learned. The 76-year-old later sent America’s sweetheart a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of Cristal, as Lawrence revealed in a December 2013 interview with ABC News’ Bianna Golodryga. Inevitably, there was a note attached that read, “Missing you already.”

Clearly, Nicholson isn’t the only one missing Lawrence, given her return-engagement with the Academy Awards this coming weekend. Angling to make history with another boomerang nomination for her work in American Hustle—just one year after scoring with Silver Linings Playbook—she would be the youngest person to ever win twice for acting. Not only that, if she does prove victorious, she’d be entering a very elite cabin on Oscar Airways: only Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Jason Robards, Tom Hanks, and Luise Rainer (way back from Hollywood’s very nascency) have managed this feat of back-to-back acting wins.

So why do I have a funny feeling about all of this?

I can’t help but agree with intrepid Oscar blogger, Sasha Stone, of the website, when she tweeted, “The worst thing that could happen to JenLaw right now is to win another Oscar…trust me on that one. The beast is hungry.”

Winning by not winning is a more effective strategy, I would argue. All celebrity invariably follows the Isaac Newton rule, and the top is a dangerous place to be. No matter how killer Lawrence’s personal brand is—relatable, glib, pretty but still nerdy—the very outlets that made you can unmake you, and the many rivers of social media that love you can just as easily drown you. Everything moves so fast in today’s age of Twitter-Buzzfeed-Instagram, that those currents are likely changing even as we speak.

The race for Best Supporting Actress is one of the true nail-biters left in this year’s Oscar season, and of the main toss-up to be had there—between charismatic over-sharer Lawrence and regal new girl Lupita Nyong’o—it’s the 12 Years A Slave thespian who could use the Oscar more. Her career gets a lift, and the “business” gets to crown a newly-minted star. Lawrence, who’s only 23, already has a statuette to snuggle up to, and she doesn’t lose any mojo, career-wise, if she loses, particularly since she’s making Hollywood bags and bags of cash through the Hunger Games franchise.

Keep in mind what they say about familiarity and contempt. I’m crossing my fingers that Lawrence gets a chance, however small, to dodge the spotlight. At least until her eighth nomination in 2025.

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Photo: Jennifer Lawrence in a still from her Academy Award-nominated movie “American Hustle”. ©2013CMTG.