Inside the Anne Hathaway ‘Les Misérables’ Video Spoof That Went Viral
If only a YouTube video could win an Oscar.
'An Anne Hathaway impersonator reminds the Academy why the 'Les Mis' actress should win an Oscar.'
“For Your Consideration,” an Academy Awards parody “ad” for Anne Hathaway’s performance in Les Misérables, went viral this week after it was posted online. The three-and-a-half-minute video shows Hathaway as Fantine (played by Emma Fitzpatrick) belting out “I Dreamed a Dream” with new lyrics. They now describe how badly Hathaway wants an Oscar.
Hathaway is the clear frontrunner in the 2013 Best Supporting Actress race, but she’s been getting flak from the blogosphere for coming across as too earnest or rehearsed during some of her acceptance speeches. All this chatter inspired Alberto Belli, a 28-year-old graduate student at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, to spoof the endless campaigning integral to Oscar season.
“I saw the movie; I thought she was great,” says Belli, who won a student Emmy for his musical about zombies, Zombo. “The role speaks for herself. I think she is a little bit pushing it.’
Belli culled numerous interviews Hathaway gave about preparing for Les Miz. He also read a popular BuzzFeed story “Why Do People Hate Anne Hathaway?,” and watched some of her acceptance speeches to inspire his new song, which he co-wrote with the lyricist Robert Hill. His film’s total budget was only $100.
“I coughed and wheezed and cried/in every scene until I died,” the fictional Hathaway croons. The rest of the song makes good use of real events—like how she had to cut her hair and lost 25 pounds for the role—before ending with the line, “Members of the Academy/Please don’t forget Anne with an ‘E.’” This was based on Hathaway’s recent remarks at the Critics Choice Awards, where she spoke off-the-cuff about how her name had been misspelled on a previous trophy.
To play Hathaway, Fitzpatrick kept rewinding a Les Miz screener and studying that pivotal scene. “I probably watched it five or six times … and tried to get the mannerisms,” says Fitzpatrick, a 27-year-old actress from Los Angeles and singer with the pop band The Mots Nouveaux. “That’s the joke: making it look as spot-on as you can.” When she got to the set, she rubbed brown makeup on her face so she’d look like a homeless French prostitute.
Like Hathaway, she shot her big showstopper in a single take. She successfully delivered the winning performance on her eighth, and final, try. (For the movie, director Tom Hooper used Hathaway’s fourth take, but she performed the song many more times for insurance.) “It would be awesome if she saw it,” Fitzpatrick says. “She seems like a funny chick.”