Jennifer Lawrence is the past, the present, and the future of entertainment

Hunger Games: Catching Fire comes out tomorrow at midnight, so The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has an article today entitled “Lawrence is Hollywood’s modern everywoman,” referencing, of course, Jennifer Lawrence. She’s the star of those films (the first one made about $692 million worldwide, and was thus the third-highest grossing film of 2012), but she’s also got an Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook, an Oscar nomination for Winter’s Bone, is in a potentially Oscar-friendly film coming out soon in American Hustle, and will also be in X-Men: Days of Future Past and Dumb and Dumber To in the next few years (not to mention there’s another two films in the Hunger Games series after this, since they’re breaking the third book into two parts). Oh, she was born in August 1990, meaning she’s 23. Do you feel bad about your own life yet?

Lawrence has a goofball affable-ness around her that has made her an absolute darling of the young girls set. For example, reference the amount of content related to her on Buzzfeed alone: “Jennifer Lawrence continues to be amazing with an awesome response about body image” to “21 times Jennifer Lawrence totally nailed the whole interview thing” and “The 25 best Jennifer Lawrence quotes of 2012.” Jezebel got into it too, with “11 reasons why Jennifer Lawrence is your BFF in your head,” including this clip:

Here’s a GIF-heavy list of reasons why she’s a “better person than you.” She’s also been the cover subject of Vanity Fair and Vogue, among countless others.

One bit of bad news for J-Law: via Google Trends, she hasn’t caught up to Taylor Swift just yet in terms of online reference points. That could be because T-Swift has an official Twitter account and J-Law does not.

She has, however, blown past Kristen Stewart, who was the female star of the last major book-series-to-big-screen (and while there’s a possibility Stewart could win an Oscar for an ideal role somewhere in her career, it’s not something one should hold their breath about):

This is going to sound overdramatic as hell, but here goes anyway. Lawrence (and Swift) might be the ideal stars for the current generation of females (and, to some extent, males) coming up as leaders of their families/households and just as women. This new generation (I’m speaking only U.S. here, generally) were children of an almost unprecedented period of wealth; many studies have been written and cited about how the needs of a current 20-something are much different. They want experiences more than anything, and so they look for quirkiness and a relatability in their stars. Lawrence has that. She talks about cartwheels, exercising your vagina, Dance Moms, and all other manner of things on press tours. She’s not remotely canned. That’s what this new generation — whatever the exact moniker for it — is all about.

I’m not sure what the best parallel for Lawrence is; on the male side, she kinda seems like she could have a Johnny Depp career, balancing box office blockbusters with quirkier, award-driven roles and maintaining an interesting aloofness with the celebrity media. On the female side, I first thought of someone like Susan Sarandon, but … Sarandon’s not really a blockbuster actress. I thought of Angelina Jolie for a second, but her quirkiness comes from a much different place. There’s an element of big-time Demi Moore in Lawrence too, but for this analogy to work, she’d have to end up with one of the major male stars of her era (whiff on the Cooper front, though). Regardless of who she morphs into 10-20 years down the road — which is to say, she might become the Michael Jordan of female box office stars, whereby no comparison really does anything justice — she’s definitely one of the biggest stars out there right now.

Just look at this Reddit thread — 325 comments, almost 2300 upvotes — to encapsulate everything above.

She’s the imaginary BFF for a ton of people right now, so it does make you wonder what playing Cathy Ames in East of Eden will do to her star. In short answer, it will probably make it even brighter. And it’s hard to get much brighter than having a Winnie Cooper seal of approval:

I’ll leave with this clip, as I think it encapsulates a lot of positive stuff about Lawrence. At a time where some 22/23-year-old stars have included Miley, LiLo, K-Stew (the whole director scandal) and more, she’s actually fairly clean — and unafraid to run on a set after being pulled off Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Ted Bauer