Asked by a cheerful Graham who he thought was most “thrilled” to see win an Academy Award, Grant curtly replied, “No one in particular.” Graham shifted the focus to fashion and gleefully asked which designer he was wearing. “Just my suit,” Grant said flatly. Graham bravely persisted and asked who made it. ‘I can not remember. My tailor,” Grant added.
Graham then engaged the veteran actor about the Netflix whodunit movie “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.” Grant downplayed his role: “Well, I’m barely in it. I’m about three seconds in.”
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While Grant, who has been acting since the 1980s, is no stranger to these Hollywood events, the exchange was not at all surprising in Britain, where part of the social fabric is to avoid bragging too much about yourself talk or even admit how much fun someone is having. Discuss expensive designer labels? A gross faux pas.
“US Twitter is so angry about Hugh Grant giving an interview that would be completely normal at any UK event.” said a viewer defending Grant’s behavior.
“Hugh Grant doesn’t mean to be rude here, but that’s what it feels like to be British and confront absurdly enthusiastic American extroverts,” says another. said.
Perhaps nothing summed that up more than Graham’s follow-up on Grant’s short appearance in “Glass Onion.” “But still, you showed up and you had fun, right?” she continued. “Almost,” Grant replied, as the interview came to a painful end.
I finally watched this and I feel like this is the blue/gold dress of videos.
He’s just acting weird? I don’t think… he is… rude?? pic.twitter.com/l35jQN9vcj
— Dave Jorgenson 📈 (@davejorgenson) March 14, 2023
British humor — from comedy sketch troupe Monty Python to dry-tempered actor Ricky Gervais — is often regarded as “quirky, sarcastic and self-deprecating,” said Sarita Malik, a professor of media and culture at Brunel University London, in an interview on Tuesday. Much of it has crossed over to the public in the United States with “great success”.
However, Grant’s red carpet interview “is a classic case of different humors colliding and being interpreted differently,” Malik said.
Grant, she added, had made a career out of “playing on this idea of quintessentially British. His personality is a typical mix of chic charm and moodiness.
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Yet another cultural clash came when Graham asked Grant what he loved most about attending the Oscars.
“It’s fascinating. All of humanity is here — it’s Vanity Fair,” he joked, referring to British author William Makepeace Thackeray’s 1847 novel that satirizes rampant ego, class, and consumerism.
“Oh, it’s all about Vanity Fair, yeah, we’ll let loose there and have a little fun,” Graham nods in agreement, assuming Grant is talking about the legendary Oscar after-party hosted by Condé Nast magazine.
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The clip has been viewed thousands of times on social media with reactions from Americans and Britons.
It was “a bit pretentious of him to make the reference in this context,” one viewer unimpressed said.
Others wondered why Grant had bothered to attend or be interviewed if he had such disdain for the event.
“I don’t get this from Hugh Grant. If you don’t want to be interviewed, don’t pick up the microphone, smile politely and walk on. Kudos to Ashley Graham for repeatedly trying to get something interesting out of him, “another said.
In some ways it’s rather reassuring to see that Britain hasn’t quite become the US culturally – as evidenced by the reactions to the interview with Hugh Grant/Ashley Graham (Americans think he was rude, British people know he just wasn’t fake).
— Natasha Devon 🌈💙 (@_NatashaDevon) March 13, 2023
Molly Geidel, an associate professor of American studies at the University of Manchester, said Grant’s response to the cheerful Graham was British in itself. “In my experience, one of the things that unites most Brits is disdain for the slick service-with-a-smile work culture in the US,” says Geidel, who grew up in Vermont before moving to England.
“Until recently, people here in the UK prided themselves on not having to perform fake happiness, or what we sometimes call affective labor,” she added.
Some online in the United States applauded Graham’s efforts.
“I’m very sorry that Hugh Grant was so incredibly disrespectful and rude to you. I salute you for keeping your composure,” said one Graham admirer tweeted. “She really took the blows and kept getting up. Crazy respect,’ another said.
Graham himself was asked about the interview by a TMZ photographer at the airport on Monday and said, “You know what? My mother taught me to kill people with kindness, so please.
Malik suggested that the interaction might show Grant’s critical relationship with the media.
Grant has become a vocal campaigner for a more responsible press in recent years, supporting the British advocacy group Hacked off after being one of several high-profile victims to have his phone hacked by tabloid journalists.
Undaunted, Graham cheerfully ended the interview.
“It was nice talking to you,” she told Grant with a smile — a performance that some commentators say should earn her a Best Actress award.
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