Kate Winslet betrays the British with emotion


Unless you swore off entertainment news for the New Year (in which case, what are you doing here?), you know that the highlight of the Golden Globes was Kate Winslet, who won Globes both for best actress (Revolutionary Road) and best supporting actress (The Reader). Aren’t Kate’s Globes gorgeous?

Winslet had been nominated five times before without a win, so when her name was announced as best supporting actress, she was excited and charming, if a bit breathless, as she read her acceptance speech.


When her name was announced as best actress, she was overwhelmed. And who wouldn’t be, with Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep and Kristin Scott Thomas on the ballot? Particularly since Hathaway’s name supposedly was leaked earlier in the week by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. But Winslet recovered enough to thank everyone she needed to thank and to apologize to Jolie for temporarily forgetting her name.


Personally, I found the whole thing endearing and certainly one of the most entertaining moments in a fairly routine show. But the British, as Jezebel so fittingly put it, were not amused.

Chris Ayers of The Times Online calls the speech “a global disaster.”

Every so often a speech comes along that is such an assault on taste and dignity ­ think of Gwyneth Paltrow’s whimpering snotfest at the 1999 Oscars — that something must be said.

Ayers went on to say that in such a stressful time in the world, Winslet’s speech risks making her appear isolated from reality.

If Barack Obama can hold it together in Chicago on election night, then surely Winslet — a professional actress — can tone it down in LA on Golden Globes night … such public displays of emotion are hardly in the British DNA.

Um, OK. An acting award acceptance speech should be as refined and eloquent as a presidential acceptance speech. Got it.

The Independent’s Brian Viner called Kate’s speech “embarrassing,” and also compared it to Paltrow’s 1999 acceptance.

As sure as carpets are red, the awards season will produce a Paltrow or two, but I wouldn’t have expected it of Winslet, whose irreproachably middle-class upbringing in Reading has always seemed to imbue her with a rather sensible outlook on life.

Viner went so far as to say that the speech prevented her fellow Brits from being proud of her. “… our own pride in this latest accomplishment by a fine British actress was diminished as soon as the first tear plopped onto that lovely cheek. Never mind sorry to Anne, Meryl, Kristin and oh God, who’s the other one. It’s us, her loyal British fans, to whom she should apologise. We expect less of you, Kate, much less.”

Crying? There’s no crying in England.

Hadley Freeman of The Guardian describes her reaction to the speech as “the occasional wave of nausea, swiftly followed by a rush of hands to eyes in order to block out the spectacle. … this is, on one level, a typical overemotional acceptance speech. Yet Winslet manages to overegg an already very custard-heavy pudding.” (That phrase is now in my memory bank to use at the earliest possible opportunity.)

Freeman also gives a lesson in proper self-talk.

Winslet, clutching her speech from her first award of the evening but now going ‘off the cuff’, lets her inner posh fumbling Brit stereotype fly by trying to calm herself down by urging herself — out loud, and twice — ‘Gather.’ It would be interesting to know if anyone has ever said this outside the Mitford family, since 1932.

Hey, I get this one. The Mitfords were friends of Hitler and Kate won for a Holocaust movie. Right? No wait, she won supporting actress for The Reader — that was the first speech. Never mind. Maybe it’s another pudding reference.

I must, at this point, ask our British readers to help me understand. Does an emotional speech such as Kate’s truly embarrass you? Would you go so far as to say she’s not behaving properly and may, in fact, have put her career in jeopardy? Am I crass for thinking the speech was adorable? And if your country indeed wishes to disown her, would you send her to me?

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