Why you love to hate Anne Hathaway

Story highlights

Hating Anne Hathaway has become a favorite pastime for many

One writer says the dislike for the Oscar winner is "vehement"

Hathaway is aware that not everyone loves her

All the elements for a grand love affair with Anne Hathaway are there: the adorable pixie cut, the large, luminous dark eyes, the successful career that literally began with a fairy tale.

But be honest. She kind of bugs you, doesn’t she?

Google “Anne Hathaway” and “hate,” and the evidence is overwhelming. Link after link highlights the great American pastime (though it may actually be international, but more on that later) of being annoyed by the Oscar-winning actress. It’s clear from the abundance of articles and negative comments that some people don’t even want to see her face.

According to one academic, there may be a scientific reason why.

“When times are good we prefer actresses with rounder faces,” psychology professor Terry Pettijohn told Salon.com writer Daniel D’Addario in a piece titled “Anne Hathaway: Hollywood’s most polarizing star.” “They convey these ideas of fun and youth.”

Pettijon concluded that Hathaway has a “mature face” made distinctive by its slender shape and bone structure: “It suggests she would be popular when times are more challenging.” Salon.com goes on, “As the economy improves, Hathaway – whose peak of fame, post-boyfriend, pre-Oscar-hosting, came amid the 2008 economic crash – may just be a reminder of bad times.”

Try and find a correlation between dislike of any other actress and the recession. We dare you.

Such high-brow hatred is usually reserved for the elite, say a Gwyneth Paltrow, but Hathaway currently reigns supreme as the star so many love to hate. Like really hate. In a deep, visceral way that makes it hard even to pinpoint why.

“People do not like Anne Hathaway,” wrote Brian Moylan of Hollywood.com. “They use the word ‘hate’ a lot when they talk about her. And their hatred is vehement, like Itchy’s for Scratchy, like the Hatfields’ for the McCoys, and Taylor Swift’s for every man who she has ever talked to since her 15th birthday.”

Apparently this really holds true for women of the universe. Even in the midst of The Onion tweeting a vulgar term during the Academy Awards about 9-year-old best actress nominee Quvenzhane Wallis, there was still time to bash Hathaway.

“And what the Onion missed is that it’s Anne Hathaway who’s the real (expletive). Right EVERY WOMAN ON THE INTERNET?” tweeted Buzzfeed’s Jack Moore.

So what’s the deal? Why so much hate for an actress who defined cute in “The Princess Diaries” and held her own against Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada”?

Richard Lawson of The Atlantic Wire told Hollywood.com’s Moylan that Hathaway has “got this theater kid thing where she adopts the mood of every situation she’s in – rude and bawdy on ‘Chelsea Lately,’ poised and ‘classy’ at the Oscars, etc. – but wildly overcompensates every time.”

Lawson continued, “She always seems like she’s performing, and her favorite act is this overstated humility and graciousness.”

Writer Victoria Wellman is one half of the Oratory Laboratory, a site that helps clients craft speeches. Part of Hathaway’s problem, Wellman said, is that the actress is “just one of the people who just doesn’t come off as sincere.”

Take for example her award show acceptance speeches. The whole point of awards shows is that no one knows who is going to win and the audience counts on that element of surprise to be part of a winner’s speech, Wellman says. But Hathaway’s words of gratitude come off as way too rehearsed.

“The more you rehearse something, the more kind of presumptuous it comes across,” Wellman said. “We are used to seeing actors act, but we want to see a glimpse of their personality. With Anne Hathaway, the Golden Globes speech came off as rehearsed word for word.”

And the disdain isn’t confined to just these shores.

When Hathaway won the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, or BAFTA, award this year for best supporting actress for her role as Fantine in “Les Miserables,” her acceptance speech did not go over well.

“Anne annoyed audiences by thanking everyone remotely connected with ‘Les Miserables,’ even the author of the original novel Victor Hugo,” reported EntertainmentWise.com. “One snide remark on Twitter said: ‘If Hathaway thanked Victor Hugo, will (director Kathryn) Bigelow have to thank bin Laden?’ “

Not that Hathaway doesn’t have her supporters. Reacting to all of the negative Hathaway buzz, “Girls” star Lena Dunham implored her Twitter followers to think of the greater good.

“Ladies: Anne Hathaway is a feminist and she has amazing teeth. Let’s save our bad attitudes for the ones who aren’t advancing the cause,” Dunham tweeted.

The actress is not oblivious to the shade being thrown her way. After her Oscar win for best supporting actress Sunday night, she was asked backstage her reaction to being teased about her earnestness.

“It does get to me, but you have to remember in life that there’s a positive to every negative and a negative to every positive,” Hathaway responded. “And I’m going to … I’m going to go there. The miracle of the universe is that, as far as they know, there’s 51% matter versus 49% antimatter. Things tip in the scale of the positive. And so, that is what I focus on.”