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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Jude Law is still nursing that burn Chris Rock dealt him at the 2005 Oscars

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Photo: Jeff Kravitz (Getty Images)

Jude Law is the subject of a compelling new Vulture interview in which the actor’s “blinding” beauty serves as a means of framing his artistic journey over the years. Speaking of Law’s recent turns in The Young Pope and The New Pope, for example, director Paolo Sorrentino says, “The beauty of Jude was very helpful for the character because the quintessence of beauty as pope was something, not provocative, but unpredictable.” He continues, “Beauty is something that changes the relationship between the pope and all the people around. All the men, all the women. [It] puts the people in a different condition.”


That beauty, weaponized into art in in Sorrentino’s hands, was a gateway for the young actor once upon a time. But, as Law himself admits, it also made it easy to discount his actual talent. In 2005, following a year in which he led two notable box office bombs in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and Alfie, he was the butt of a cutting joke at the Oscars. “If you can’t get a star, wait. If you want Tom Cruise and all you can get is Jude Law, wait! It’s not the same thing,” cracked host Chris Rock. “Who is Jude Law? Why is he in every movie I have seen the last four years?” He added, “Next year, he’s playing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in a movie.”

Reflecting on the burn, Law admitted that it burned deep. “I’m going to be really candid,” he said. “Chris Rock slagging me off at the Oscars was upsetting. It felt like, ‘Fuck, am I that guy that you point fun at?’ Obviously, I’ve realized since that a gag is a gag is a fucking gag. Whatever, it could’ve been anyone.” After a moment, he added, “It was probably a bubble that needed bursting around myself. Like, ‘Oh, this could be brutal. This isn’t all plain sailing.’” It appears Sean Penn taking the stage that night to awkwardly declare Law “one of our most talented actors” wasn’t much of a salve.

The incident was one of many that led Law to reconsider how one lives a life in the spotlight. Later in the interview, he alludes to the tabloid drama that plagued his then-relationship with Sienna Miller. “You see this Frankenstein’s monster being created, this puppet that has your name and your face attached, and it’s an odd thing,” he says. “Because you don’t want to say, ‘That’s not true.’ [But] to address it or argue it is giving it limelight. And so over the years, I’ve just retracted. You change your life so you’re not so exposed—what to avoid and how to live a life that’s slightly less obtainable.”

Read the full interview here.

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