Last week, Anna Kendrick stopped by Conan to tell us about the time she freaked out after meeting Beyoncé at the Grammys, right before Katy Perry “finger-banged” her cleavage.
Although these stories were rehearsed, as is the norm for most talk show appearances, it was exactly the kind of fangirl candor that we crave from our celebrities. Kendrick’s anecdotes were also reminiscent of that time another ingenue told Jimmy Kimmel about how starstruck she was by Brangelina at the Golden Globes. The actress of course, was Jennifer Lawrence.
Lawrence has since been on a full-blown aw-shucks charm offensive — culminating with her infamous spill at the Oscars — to become America’s de facto BFF. Her girl-next-door persona is the antithesis to Anne Hathaway’s theater school polish, while her wide-eyed enthusiasm makes Kristen Stewart’s aloofness look snotty. But, Lawrence has become so adept at playing the normal card that some observers have started questioning her authenticity. There is an inevitable J.Lawr backlash finally brewing. (To be fair, any signs of her star dimming exist only in the outer corners of the Internet, but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from buzzing on who might be “the Next Jennifer Lawrence.”)
Shailene Woodley was an early front-runner for the title, thanks to her starring role in the upcoming Hunger Games wannabe Divergent and her goofy energy. But, Woodley jumped the shark when she told Flaunt magazine that she gathers her own spring water, gets all her food from a farm, and makes her own toothpaste and medicine. Don’t get us wrong — we're all for environmental proactivity. But, part of what’s made Lawrence so likeable is that she’s relatable. Which of your friends gathers her own spring water? That’s what we thought. (Though, we may need more rain water-gathering friends. This may be on us, not her.)
That’s where Kendrick comes in. When the 28-year-old actress broke through as the ambitious Natalie Keener in 2009’s Up in the Air, we all recognized her enormous talent, but she failed to capture the zeitgeist in the same way that Lawrence did. In fact, over the next three years, Kendrick’s career seemed to stall thanks to a series of prosaic roles as various love interests, failing to capitalize on her versatility as a performer.
Then, Pitch Perfect happened and everything changed.
The sleeper hit featured Kendrick’s sublime vocal abilities and reintroduced her as a leading lady. It also earned her a chart-topping single with “Cups” (the video has been watched over 100 million times on YouTube), making her Hollywood’s newest multi-hyphenate. Kendrick herself was surprised by the song’s runaway success, and took to Instagram to express her disbelief.
In fact, it’s been Kendrick’s shrewd use of social media — namely Twitter — that has inspired countless compilations of her best tweets, which tend to ruminate on anything from masturbation to her love of imbibing. And, as everyone knows, one of the keys to becoming America’s BFF is by being embraced by the Internet. When BuzzFeed published “40 Reasons I Want To Be Anna Kendrick's Best Friend," it was clear the girl had made it.
Also, when this Newcastle ad surfaced online last week, we thought, “Could Kendrick be the actress to nudge J. Lawr from off her self-effacing throne?” Then we watched this and this and this, and remembered that no one will ever manage to do quite that. Actors are defined by trends, and trends are fickle. Lawrence is only 23, and her best work both on- and off-camera is still ahead of her. That said, Kendrick’s emergence as one of the more likable actresses in Hollywood is exciting. So when we steal our parents car to joyride, we can invite both her and Lawrence. Hey, there is room for all our Hollywood BFFs.
Photo: Via Instagram.