What’s your favorite Jennifer Lawrence moment? When she tripped on the way to accept her Academy Award, or when the paparazzi snapped photos of her drinking Veuve Cliquot straight out of the bottle? Or maybe it was the ease with which she regaled Conan O’Brien with a tale of butt plugs, or the Vine of her spilling mints in the middle of press conference? My personal moment happened backstage at the Oscars, when, with the help of a mildly lecherous Jack Nicholson, she turned the normally banal post-win interview into a master class in charm. He sneaks up on her, she freaks and fangirls out, they do some weird flirting, and when Nicholson leaves, Lawrence just loses it: “OH MY GOD,” she gasps, her face in her hands.
And there it was, my moment: I loved her. I had admired her acting years before, in Winter’s Bone, but this was something different. From that point forward, I was powerless before her charm. But what made that exact moment — and others like it — so effective? Stars are charming all the time. Anne Hathaway, who also won an Oscar that night for Best Supporting Actress, is a veritable charm machine. But that’s just it: Hathaway seems like a very talented, very well-programmed machine, while Lawrence seems like a weird, idiosyncratic, charismatic human. She’s never polished; she’s always fucking up. On the red carpet, in paparazzi photos, and in acceptance speeches, she seems to just “be herself,” which means anything from flipping off the camera to reacting with horror when someone spoils Season 3 of Homeland on the red carpet. She is the living, breathing embodiment of Us Weekly’s “Stars: They’re Just Like Us.”