If you’re tempted to feel bad for Jennifer Aniston — don’t. The “Cake” star is certainly not sweating the fact that she missed out on an Oscar nomination this past week. The outpouring of support definitely helped.
“I was amazed at how many messages of ‘Shocked!’ ‘F**k ’em!’ and ‘Robbed!’ I got,” she told HuffPost on Friday while promoting “Cake,” out January 23. “I found it quite endearing and flattering that I had so many people rooting for me. It was almost just as good to be number one snubbed than to be nominated,” she added with a laugh.
Aniston wasn’t the only one snubbed this year. The Angelina Jolie-directed “Unbroken” also got left out of major categories. Still, the two were all smiles at Thursday’s Critics Choice Awards — their first time sharing a carpet since 2009, apparently.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since Aniston and Brad Pitt separated, and he went on to start Hollywood’s unofficial First Family with Jolie. Remarkably, the narrative of Aniston as the victim hasn’t yet faded.
Always the class act, Aniston didn’t give the tabloids much to work with Thursday night. The latest headline involves her praising “Unbroken,” as if to say that “finally, the hatchet has been buried!” when in fact there is no hatchet. “She made such a beautiful movie,” Aniston told ET. “But they’re not focusing on why we are on the carpet together. They’re focusing on the catty bits and the drama, and there’s no drama.”
“It’s time people stop with that petty BS and just start celebrating great work and stop with the petty kind of silliness,” she added.
Even though Aniston herself stars in one of the most critically acclaimed roles of her career, this is what people want to talk about. That, and marriage and babies — specifically, when is she going to check those milestones off her list?
It’s something the 45-year-old actress, who is engaged to actor/director Justin Theroux, has to address in almost every interview. Last summer she memorably told Carlson Daly: “I don’t have this sort of checklist of things that have to be done…and if they’re not checked, then I’ve failed some part of my feminism…or my value as a woman.” A collective ‘thank you,’ followed from women everywhere.
Clearly marriage isn’t a prerequisite for happiness. Elizabeth Taylor was married eight times to seven different men and look how that turned out. Even Brangelina aren’t doing things on a traditional timeline, since they just got married last year.
Aniston, who lives with Theroux, seems perfectly content with her relationship. “I have a level of ease right now in my life. I have an unbelievable partner who supports me and loves me and makes me feel like there’s nothing I cannot do,” she told The Huffington Post.
As for babies, it’s clear where Aniston stands. “It does feel like an unfair pressure [on] women, not just myself,” she told Allure for the January 2015 cover story. “I have a lot of friends who decided not to have children, who can’t have children, or are trying but are having a difficult time. There’s all sorts of reasons why children aren’t in people’s lives, and no one has the right to assume. It’s quite rude, insulting, and ignorant.”
In the same Allure article, Aniston admitted that this public perception that she has put her career before the desire to be a mother still hurts. “This continually is said about me: that I was so career-driven and focused on myself; that I don’t want to be a mother, and how selfish that is…Even saying it gets me a little tight in my throat.”
It’s this kind of candor that makes Aniston especially endearing to female fans everywhere who have been watching and loving her for 20 years now, since the beginning of ‘Friends,’ where she first displayed her comedic timing. Since then, she’s has some good roles (“The Good Girl”), some not-so-good roles (“Derailed,” “The Bounty Hunter”), a bunch of movies filed under ‘guilty pleasures,’ and some forgettable ones.
“Cake” is anything but that. In the small indie film, Aniston plays a woman suffering from chronic physical and emotional pain as a result of a car accident. She’s addicted to a dangerous mix of booze and painkillers, and paralyzed from the loss of her son. It’s proof of what she can do with interesting material.
Much has been made of the fact that Aniston, who also serves as an executive producer on the film, went makeup free for the role, gained weight, and wore prosthetic scars on her face, to which she says: “It’s interesting, a woman going physically unattractive is where you get recognition and some sort of respect. You read things like, ‘Oh, finally, she’s acting!…[It’s] quite sexist, to be honest, because men don’t get that.”
Off-screen, Aniston went beyond the typical celebrity spokesperson role and has found success as an entrepreneur. In 2012 she invested in Living Proof, the beauty company founded by MIT scientists and known for their anti-frizz technology (cool fact: this month the company launches a line for women with curly hair). It’s a savvy move, considering we’ve all been obsessed with Aniston’s hair since “The Rachel.” As co-owner of the company, she brought on Chris McMillan, the genius behind her most famous cut and her mane man to this day, to be the brand’s celebrity hairstylist.
If people insist on feeling sorry for Aniston, they have officially ran out of ammunition. She is thriving, and yes, in her fourth decade (take that, Hollywood!).
Then there’s the fact that she looks like this:
These days, the haters seem to be outnumbered by those on her side.
Did she deserve an Oscar nod? It depends who you ask (it’s an emphatic yes around here). Alas, there are only five slots in the Best Actress category, so someone has to be left off, and Aniston’s spot seems to have gone to the surprising (but equally deserving) nominee Marion Cotillard for “Two Days, One Night.”
Still, it doesn’t change how Aniston feels about the work, which is ultimately the only thing that matters.
“The woman’s journey is so heartbreaking but so uplifting,” she told Variety about her character, Claire. “She’s gone through a trauma but maintains her wit, which is very endearing.”
The same can be said of Aniston.
This story was originally published on Variety Latino.