Changing Hathaway’s Haters

 Changing Hathaways Haters

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Anne Hathaway.

Without a doubt, this year’s Academy Awards gave the media lots to talk about. There’s the debate over Oscar presenter Seth McFarlane’s envelope-pushing monologues, and Jennifer Lawrence’s stumble. But of all the gossip-worthy notes, one point was made so often in the Twitterverse that it began a media storm: Apparently, people hate Anne Hathaway.

Not everyone, of course. After all, Hathaway won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Les Miserables, and she has appeared on numerous magazine covers. But public opinion has been poisoned: the words “Hathaway,” “annoying” and “hate” garner multimillions of Google results. Even Anderson Cooper recently felt the need to defend Hathaway on his show.

The reasons are vague but came to a tipping point with Hathaway’s Academy Awards acceptance speech. The accusation? Rehearsed and not terribly genuine. Even before that, though, Tweeters were bashing her Awards dress for showing her nipples, a wardrobe malfunction that seemed less accidental after paparazzo photographed her going commando at the New York Les Mis premiere.

Who cares if a few (million) people hate her? Well, Hollywood, for one. Hathaway’s detractors are predominantly women. If Hathaway scores low on female popularity ratings, then certain roles won’t be made available. She needs some turnaround PR to make sure her place at the Vanity Fair Oscar party is secured.

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Anne Hathaway. A legion of female haters may ultimately change her career in Hollywood.

THE PR TAKEAWAY:  Want to be more liked? Find new friends and revisit old ones. When half the movie buying population doesn’t care for you, a PR rethink is needed. Hathaway’s problem is that she tests in market research as aloof and unapproachable. For the moment, cease photo shoots with Vogue and Bazaar, quietly put Valentino back on the rack, and instead publicly pal around with some old school buddies while booking slots on the chat shows hosted by other women: Ellen, Wendy Williams, Oprah, and Chelsea Handler. Being aloof and talented may be chic, but being in the company of other likeable women will turn this PR issue around. Just ask Hilary Clinton and Meryl Streep.

Wait – What Did Jodie Foster Just Say?

 Wait   What Did Jodie Foster Just Say?The reviews for Jodie Foster’s Golden Globes acceptance speech are in, and they’re mixed. After winning the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement award for 47 years in the business, Foster gave a speech that continues to confuse the media and Twitterverse. The recurring complaint: What on earth did it all mean? Foster’s messaging had everyone baffled.

This was a complicated speech. She touched on many issues, but the headliner for the media was that this was her official “coming out” announcement. The key words “I hope that you’re not disappointed that there won’t be a big coming-out speech tonight” ensured it was exactly that. But Foster was of the view that this was not big news; she gave the impression that her orientation was widely understood already. Cue more messaging – plenty more, and that ‘s where the confusion began.

She touched on the importance of privacy, her love of movies, the need to be heard and seen in life, and then what sounded like the real bombshell – the announcement about retiring from the film industry, at least in front of the camera. Yet backstage, she assured the media she would continue to act and direct. Then what was she talking about?

THE PR VERDICT: “C” (Distinctly OK) for Jodie Foster. We give this grade reluctantly; her speech deserves a higher rating, but the subsequent press reaction indicates otherwise.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: One message, fine; two, guaranteed confusion. And two announcements – she’s out, and she’s out of the business, or is she? – is just overwhelming. This was not a rambling speech, but it was a complicated one. For a six-minute awards monologue, it was probably too ambitious for a public that wants everything in a six-second headline. This might have been better placed in a longer, more considered format and venue, such as a talk show. (Jodie, meet Oprah.) Critics and the public continue to scratch their heads, but Jodie Foster, perhaps best known for being an independent spirit, probably wouldn’t have it any other way.