Jennifer Aniston has suffered plenty of friendly fire in the 25 years since she became the ageless American Breck Girl, next door – but this now veteran actress is no one’s victim.
Of course, the beloved former “Friends” star was ranked after a decade (1994-2004) as spoiled rich chick Rachel Green on NBC’s “Must-TV” sitcom, followed by another decade of Romantic comedies from retreading films – some smash hits, others outright stinky, often starring fellow slummers Adam Sandler and Jason Bateman.
Despite six previous Emmy names (and one win in 2002) for comedy, armchair critics reveled in the social media flooding with shady praise for Aniston’s crisp hair – and sarcastic reviews of her self. – saying range of a note as a light actress.
Suck it up, haters: Gold Derby gurus now rate the 51-year-old as a favorite to win best actress in a Drama Sunday at the 2020 Emmys for her revealing, counter-type performance of Alex Levy, an aging TV hostess on the verge of depression on the hit Apple TV + series “The Morning Show.”
“Don’t underestimate Aniston just because a lot of tipsters pick Laura Linney or Olivia Colman to win,” Gold Derby founder Tom O’Neill told The Post. “Remember, Aniston won the SAG award earlier this year and has virtually the same voting system as the Emmys – only actors voting for actors.”
Additionally, “Aniston is enjoying a triumphant career comeback that is particularly appealing to television industry insiders,” added O’Neill. “She portrays a reigning television celebrity struggling to survive in a cruel crumbling world around her – the threat of rising young stars and her shock at uncovering the terrible secrets and betrayals of the old regime.
But the actress proved a long time ago that she had real chops in a wide range of under the radar projects – the masses were just sleeping on them. Here are nine times Aniston has proven she can really play:
Before having “friends” (1980s to mid-1990s)
Aniston began learning his craft at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan (aka the “Fame” School), making her off-Broadway stage debut at age 19 in “For Dear Life” at the legendary Joseph Papp Public Theater in 1988.
When Hollywood came to call, the brunette with a supposedly different nose perfected her chops by supporting sitcom tracks. In 1992, she joined the repertoire company of Fox’s short-lived comedy-drama series “The Edge” (an “SNL” audition failed) before starring in a starlet prerequisite: horror – “Leprechaun” from 1993.
But what many don’t realize is that she quietly returned to Broadway for “24 Hour Plays” marathons in 2006 and 2009.
“She’s the only one” (1996)
Miles away from her turn as debutante Rachel with sad eyes and sad eyes, Aniston’s Jane stole this sweet indie flick by busty blonde bombshell Cameron Diaz, who had just made her debut as that star opposite Jim Carrey in “The Mask.” Critics took notice, but the public – and Hollywood executives – seemed determined to classify her as a Sandra Bullock / Julia Roberts drop.
“The object of my affection” (1998)
This saccharine soap opera about a girl who falls in love – and has a baby with – her gay best friend (Paul Rudd) was a deaf dud. But its acclaimed director Nicholas Hytner, of Broadway and Shakespeare theater fame, hinted at Aniston’s future greatness. “Her first instinct may be to put a very skillful, polite, funny touch on a line – and trust me, she can do something funny,” he told Vanity Fair in 2001. “But she can. also, after a moment of reflection, to find a much more interesting, more truthful, much more touching way of playing a scene … when she spends more time with material that forces her to exercise other muscles, her gift really considerable as an actress will be more widely recognized.
“Office space” (1999)
One word sums up Aniston’s supporting role in Mike Judge’s quirky workplace comedy: “flair.” As a frustrated waitress at Chotchkie’s – a replacement for TGI Fridays – she lashes out at the impeccable boss who straddles her for not wearing enough decorative buttons. A low-key flop at the time, it has since achieved true cult status, which led to Aniston once proclaiming, “You know what I really like? I love it when people say, “I loved you in a movie” that didn’t really catch the eye. “
“The Good Girl” (2002)
This dark comedy found Aniston channeling Sissy Spacek in “Badlands” with her dry voiceovers as a small town cashier on the skids – and generated some sparkling weird chemistry with a pre- “Brokeback Mountain” Jake Gyllenhaal. After its premiere at Sundance Film Fest, acclaimed critic Roger Ebert said: “Aniston has finally made a decisive break from his ‘Friends’ image in an independent film of satirical fire and emotional turmoil … It will no longer be possible. to look at it in the same way. ”So why isn’t it available on the major streaming services?
The disastrous debut of Warner Bros. spy thriller “Tenet” in …
Tabloid Princess (2005 to Eternity)
It wasn’t a scripted performance, but embodying Grace Under Pressure was perhaps the biggest role of its repetitive romantic comedy era. Despite being struck weekly by the tabloid headlines of “Poor Despised Jen” after Brad Pitt ditched her for Angelina Jolie, Aniston’s depth of steel seems so evident now. In 2005, she told Vanity Fair: “I don’t have a halo I’m polishing here. [but] I am not defined by this relationship. I am not defined by the role they make me play in the triangle. But in 2016, she warned readers of Marie Claire: “I have worked too much in this life and in this career to become a sad, childless human.
“Friends with Money” (2006)
Writer-director Nicole Holofcener thought outside the box to introduce America’s sweetheart as a depressed maid stoner lagging behind luxury department stores, picking up samples of free beauty products to fill a emotional void when it is not dead-end boning a young man. Aniston more than held her place against a cast of powerful character actresses (Frances McDormand, Joan Cusack, Catherine Keener) who possessed a wealth of success that remained beyond her reach.
Yes, they stuck a prosthetic scar on her iconic face, mopped up her golden tresses, and wrote her signature smile. The calculated playbook “Ugly for an Oscar” would be laughable – if it weren’t so good. Aniston’s haunting turn as a crash victim with chronic pain has earned him Golden Globe and SAG nods. “I felt like I was going back to class,” she told ABC News at the time. “It’s been so long since I had to do this or had anything like this to dive in. I am delighted. It was exciting to continue to challenge myself.
“The Morning Show” (2020)
In a first episode of a boardroom monologue reminiscent of the classic Faye Dunaway camp rant – “Don’t f – – k with me, guys. It’s not my first time at the rodeo! – from “Mommie Dearest,” Aniston delivers an electrifying jerk of thin-lipped rage. As a daytime TV diva struggling to survive after her longtime co-host (Steve Carell) gets # MeToo’d, she’s exposing a hitherto untapped lineup – essentially stealing the series from her co-host. Oscar-winning star / producer Reese Witherspoon, who plays her. youngest apparent heir.
Digging into the dark underbelly of celebrity culture was “cathartic,” Aniston has since revealed. “To look at it from an actor’s brain, observe it and recognize it, I had to look at it rather than pretend it doesn’t exist,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “This show was 20 years of therapy grouped into 10 episodes. … I was reading a scene and I had the impression that an entire manhole had been removed from my back.
But is that enough to finally earn her that first Emmy for legitimate drama?
“Come on, it’s Jennifer Aniston,” Gold Derby’s O’Neill told The Post. “Sometimes Hollywood industry awards are all about hugs – and Jen deserves a big award for her welcome return to the limelight on Apple TV +.”