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Celebrities 'snubbing' presenters while accepting awards is the internet's new hyper-fixation

Olivia Singh   

Celebrities 'snubbing' presenters while accepting awards is the internet's new hyper-fixation
  • People online are obsessed with overanalyzing and scrutinizing how stars behave at awards shows.
  • Robert Downey Jr. was criticized for not making eye contact with Ke Huy Quan while accepting his Oscar.

Awards season has officially ended, but not before people online found yet another thing to obsess over: how celebrities interact with presenters when they accept their trophies.

The 96th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, ran without major hiccups or slaps Sunday, and was instead a celebration of cinema's finest moments — from Ryan Gosling's dazzling "I'm Just Ken" performance to an appearance from "Anatomy of a Fall" breakout star and good boy Messi the dog.

But for all its breeziness and predictability, viewers couldn't help but scrutinize how stars acted when they got onstage to accept their awards — and call out those they felt didn't conduct themselves appropriately.

All eyes were especially on Robert Downey Jr., a three-time Oscar nominee who finally won the coveted award thanks to his supporting role as Lewis Strauss in Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer." When the Marvel star reached the stage, he took the award from an enthusiastic Ke Huy Quan without even looking at the "Everything Everywhere All At Once" actor.

The interaction went viral on X, formerly known as Twitter, with people pointing out Downey Jr.'s lack of eye contact with Quan, who won the same award in 2023.

Downey Jr. wasn't the only celebrity who was subject to this hyperfixation. Best actress winner Emma Stone also faced similar criticism. The frazzled "Poor Things" star barely interacted with Michelle Yeoh, Charlize Theron, and Jessica Lange and beelined over to hug her friend Jennifer Lawrence and "Amazing Spider-Man" costar Sally Field, leading some to say she snubbed the others — and Yeoh in particular.

In contrast, fans praised "Oppenheimer" star and first-time winner Cillian Murphy for shaking hands with all five best actor presenters before giving his acceptance speech.

(Business Insider has reached out to Downey Jr. and Stone but did not receive an immediate response.)

If these eagle-eyed observations feel familiar, it's because similar ones came out of the 2024 Grammys. At that awards show, Taylor Swift faced backlash for not acknowledging or greeting Céline Dion when she accepted a trophy.

These reactions are indicative of the heightened standards that celebrities are held to, even in high-stress environments

There's an assumption that stars should be used to being put under a microscope at all times. After all, they're paid to perform, and many of them do bask in the glory and attention.

But awards shows are fast-paced, hectic environments. There are crew members, photographers, celebrities, and reporters everywhere. If you fail to conceal your disappointment when you lose an award or gossip with your besties about fellow stars, you best believe there will be at least one camera capturing the moment for everyone to see.

If you win an award, there's a literal countdown clock limiting how much time you have onstage so the show doesn't veer off schedule. There's added pressure to not exclude any important people during speeches and an expectation to acknowledge fellow nominees in the category out of respect.

Some celebrities are more eloquent and composed in these big moments, while others are more anxious and overwhelmed.

Yes, they're famous people who are in these situations often, but they're still human — and not everyone is going to respond to winning the biggest award in their field the same way. Murphy, known for being an introvert who doesn't enjoy talking about himself, doesn't possess Stone's frenetic energy or Downey Jr.'s showmanship. Even Downey Jr. admitted that he took beta blockers to ease his nerves before attending the Golden Globes, where he won the award for best supporting actor.

People use these brief moments to overanalyze and make assumptions about what celebrities are actually thinking

These quick moments get ripped from the livestreams and uploaded to social media, easily availble for people to make hasty judgments without additional context.

Downey Jr. snubbing Quan made him look stuck up and egotistical. Swift being too preoccupied celebrating with her collaborators to interact with Dion was perceived as disrespectful.

But there may not have been any intentional ill will or bad blood in these interactions. Downey Jr. shook hands and hugged Quan in the press room at the Oscars, and Swift embraced Dion backstage at the Grammys.

Maybe these moments tell us something about celebrities' personalities. Or perhaps our need to dissect them is a reflection of ours.

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