Jennifer Lawrence Doesn’t Deserve The Worst Actress Nom For ‘Mother!’
Darren Aronofsky's mother! was always going to be controversial. The moment the film's first poster debuted, featuring a starry-eyed Jennifer Lawrence offering her heart, seemingly ripped from her chest, to something (or someone) outside of the Eden-like frame, mother!'s dance with a quizzical public began. One clever, albeit presumptuously secretive, promotional tour later and mother! went from being one of the most hyped-about movies of 2017 to the most hated. That hate is now being validated through the 2018 Razzie nominations, of which mother! has been given three.
Not to be one of those film pretentious film persons, but c'mon people. Just because mother! was challenging does not mean it falls under films the Razzies consider to have "properties that make it dangerous or capable of having a harmful effect on human health or the environment." (Though the irony—mother! being a film that features a giant metaphor for how humans have ruined the earth—is laughable.)
Of the three Razzie nominations mother! received this year, Lawrence being up for Worst Actress is the most egregious. The other two—Aronofsky for Worst Director and Bardem for Worst Supporting Actor—are arguably less trolly, but the fact that Bardem is also nominated for Worst Supporting Actor in some Pirates of the Caribbean movie that apparently came out last year gives this whole list a bad taste.
Lawrence is undeniably brilliant. Mother! is Lawrence's movie considering the camera rarely puts her out of center frame. Her anxiety is the audience's anxiety; her terror is the audience's terror. Lawrence is a vessel bringing the tension Aronofsky so masterfully builds to the audience. Without Lawrence at the center of the story, mother! would have fallen flat. It's her performance, the physicality of it all, that makes mother!'s debatable on-the-nose approach to metaphor so unsettling.
Out of all the performances Lawrence shares a category with, it's hers that feels the most out of place. (Frankly, it should be Oscar-nominated.) Mother! is not a badly acted movie, nor is it a badly directed movie. Mother! is not a bad movie at all. It's a difficult movie, yes, but difficult does not mean bad. The Emoji Movie and Daddy's Home 2, two 2018 Razzie nominated films, are bad. Mother!, on the other hand, is challenging.
Sigh. It's, as Michelle Pfeiffer says in the film, just never enough, is it?