Hollywood's angst over awards season

Although celebrities are famous for their performances at the Golden Globes, Oscars and other awards ceremonies, they can't help but take issue with the scrutiny of the red carpet. "Every photo takes away a bit of your soul," actress Keira Knightley said.

Jennifer Lawrence calls the whole thing "torture."

"Last time, I was so scared … I trembled like a Chihuahua," the young actress recalled after finding out on Thursday that, at 22, she was nominated for her second best-actress Academy Award

In an interview with Vanity Fair earlier this month, she called her profession “stupid”: "Why would I ever get cocky? I’m not saving anybody’s life," she said.  Nonetheless, her first encounter with the red carpet was nerve-wracking. 

"It’s uncomfortable having to pose when people are shouting at you, and the next day you just get slaughtered," she said.  “You walk out [on the red carpet] and go, 'Hate me!'"

And Lawrence is not the only Hollywood A-lister to lament the agonies of dressing up in exquisite designer clothing and posing for millions of adoring fans. 

"I hate red-carpet events; I absolutely hate them," fumed actress Keira Knightley in a tabloid rant about the "horrific" experience of being photographed.

"Every photo takes away a bit of your soul," she sniffed.  "I don't like the fact that people write, 'Oh, you look like crap' in print.  I have self-esteem problems.  You know, skinny people are allowed to feel s--- about themselves."

Despite her insecurities, Knightley did a topless photo spread for Allure magazine to coincide with the release of her film "Anna Karenina" – a film overlooked by the Academy this year.  Still, with an estimated net worth of $50 million, the 27-year-old actress doesn’t have much to complain about. 

Or does she?

"God I hate her," Knightley said about her character Karenina. "You want to choke her … because at no point can she see what is right in front of her.”

Knightley’s angst is echoed by actor Joaquin Phoenix, who in a recent interview was unable to mask his contempt for the “subjective” award process at the Oscars.

"I think it's total, utter bulls--t, and I don't want to be a part of it," he told Interview magazine in November.  "It's a carrot, but it's the worst-tasting carrot I've ever tasted in my whole life … Pitting people against each other … It's the stupidest thing in the whole world."

Up for a best-actor Academy Award this year for "The Master," (a film also nominated for best picture) Phoenix announced Thursday that he will put his strong convictions aside to attend the ceremony.

"Those remarks were unfortunately out of context," explained his representative. 

Sir Anthony Hopkins, who has previously won multiple Oscars and film awards, said he can’t stand the social scene at award ceremonies.

"Having to be nice to people and to be charming and flirting with them ... oh, come on!" he huffed to the Huffington Post. "People go out of their way to flatter the nominating body and I think it's kind of disgusting."

Hollywood veteran Kirk Douglas couldn’t agree more.  He told Vanity Fair this month that when attending an awards ceremony, his main objective is escaping the ordeal “in record time.”

"In 2010, I presented best supporting actress to Melissa Leo at 6:15 p.m.  I was back home in Beverly Hills nibbling potatoes and caviar with my wife at 6:50," he said.

And then there is the physical discomfort stars must endure.  It’s no secret that celebrities subject themselves to punishing preparations before their glamorous walk down the famed carpet – preparations that often involve radical juice cleanses, surgical enhancements and freakishly extreme diets.

"Those celestial bodies are the product of power-bleach, armpit Botox, stiletto foot surgeries, cleavage facials, anti-anxiety drugs and last-minute liposuction," reported the British stargazer, Daily Mail.

Some of the most popular celebrity diets this year have been the lemon, maple syrup and cayenne pepper diet, the baby food diet and the "air diet," wherein the dieter holds the food in her/his hands but doesn’t actually eat it.  Yum.

Before the awards season even began, Anne Hathaway had already attained that enviable emaciated look for her highly praised role of Fantine, the sickly prostitute in "Les Misérables" (for which she received an Oscar nod.)  Slim to begin with, Hathaway reportedly dropped 25 pounds by alternating between starving herself and eating two tiny squares of dried oatmeal paste a day.

With so much starvation going on, it’s a wonder more stars don’t collapse on the celestial carpet, as "Glee"'s Amber Riley did last May at an Academy screening. Though Riley chalked it up to being dazzled by flashbulbs, extreme dieting may account for other celebs' bizarre behavior at award ceremonies, such as when Penelope Cruz nearly passed out at the 2009 Academy Awards.

"Penelope Cruz, who won best supporting actress at the Oscars for "Vicky Christina Barcelona," said she has no recollection of the evening because she felt faint with tension," reported OK magazine.  "Bizarrely, Penelope said she can remember tucking into 300 canapes, crying for half an hour and being confused," said the article.

In fact, some stars would probably welcome red carpet amnesia. Tara Reid’s blatant wardrobe malfunction was memorably humiliating, and Angelina Jolies icky PDAs -- one with her ex-hubby and the other with her own brother – were absolutely cringe-worthy. 

Still, most movie fans, oblivious to the glitterati's pain and suffering, eagerly watched last night’s Critic’s Choice awards and are gleefully counting the hours until Sunday night’s Golden Globes ceremony.  Hosted by funny ladies Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, it promises to be a great show.

"Because it’s such a fun, sloppy night, it's not really about the host giving any kind of big comedy performance," Fey told reporters on Wednesday. "We sort of feel like our job is to keep things moving and to help get the movie stars more liquored up so hopefully, someone’s boob will fall out of a dress."

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