40th Birthday – Deified and Deified: Anne Hathaway, the Controversial – Culture


The New Yorker who defied Meryl Streep at the cinema in 2006 became polarised. Not even her Oscar win in 2013 could change that.

Skimming through Anne Hathaway’s biography might lead you to the wrong conclusion that you’re looking at an unhinged success story: the Brooklyn-born actress, named after Shakespeare’s wife, won several awards while still in college.

She secured her first major Hollywood role as a teenager: in the girls’ fantasy «Princess Diaries», better known here as «Suddenly Princess», in 2001 she mutated from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan.


Anne Hathaway as Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi, Princess of Genovia.

IMAGO / United Archives

The Cinderella effect used here may have secured her the role that really launched her career. In “The Devil Wears Prada” she plays a wallflower who struggles with the devil for a long time before finally blossoming into a journalist.

Meeting the icon

The Devil in Prada, with whom Hathaway competes in the fashion comedy, is the acting goddess incarnate: Meryl Streep. With 21 Oscar nominations, the 73-year-old clearly leads the Academy’s all-time list. Jack Nicholson, her closest pursuer, comes in at just twelve.

Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep in a profile shot during the 2006 Venice Film Festival.


Look! It is not only in the film that Anne Hathaway meets Meryl Streep as an equal.

Keyston/Luca Bruno

Hathaway, on the other hand, didn’t have much to show for it when she went up against Streep in 2006. The surprise was all the greater that the film legend in the film “The Devil Wears Prada” could hold a candle. All the more so because – as always – she completely immersed herself in her role and, after all, won a Golden Globe for it.

After passing this test of adulthood, Hathaway was finally able to present her full range to audiences. In the drama “Rachel Getting Married” she bribed as an ex-drug addicted outsider, in the finale of Batman “The Dark Knight Rises” as a sexy Catwoman.

The biggest triumph followed immediately after with the musical “Les Misérables”: as Fantine with a haircut, she sang from the heart, which earned her a well-deserved Oscar in 2013.

A woman with short hair looks up, candles behind her


Career highlight: Hathaway won an Oscar for her role in “Les Misérables.”

Imago Images/Mary Evans

When the “Hathahaters” scoff

Parallel to the growing success on the screen, however, the resentment on the network also grew. An American website named her the “most annoying celebrity of 2013” for her allegedly affected behavior.

Meanwhile, hatred flourished on Twitter. Under a hashtag that went viral as a catchy neologism: #hathahater. Hathaway’s rather rare missteps were relished here: for example, her ill-fated appearance as host of the 2011 Oscars alongside James Franco.

Anne Hathaway laughs alongside James Franco, who is wearing a women's dress.  The two hosted the 2011 Oscars.


He’s still laughing. But in retrospect, Hathaway was embarrassed to appear as an Oscar co-host.

Keystone / Mark J. Terrill

Industry expert Neal Gabler explained the sly glee of the “Hathahaters” this way: “Everything Hathaway does seems calculated and rehearsed. Therefore, every defeat of the supposedly perfect is seen as a victory.”

A misjudged all-rounder

Viewed soberly, Hathaway’s class is hard to argue with. Even off the screen, she constantly flashed her talent: Whoever saw her – allegedly drunk – in the cult talk format “Between Two Ferns” cannot get her haunting voice out of their head.

Also worth seeing: her rap battle with James Corden and her promotional duet with Roger Federer for Switzerland Tourism. In the latter, you can even hear her cursing in Swiss German: “Mischt!”

The mother of two, who has had a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame since 2019, really has no good reason to be angry. Especially since it’s now being championed on Twitter too – by people who call themselves “Hathahater-Haters”.

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