In case you somehow didn’t realize, the Oscars took place last night, and some of the biggest names in Hollywood descended on the Dolby Theatre for the occasion.
One of the stars was British actor Hugh Grant, who presented an award during the ceremony.
On his way into the venue, Hugh was stopped for a live ABC interview with Ashley Graham, and what happened next has not gone down well with viewers.
In fact, Hugh has been branded “disrespectful” and “rude” following the seriously awkward conversation that saw Ashley desperately try to get a substantial answer out of him for almost 90 seconds.
Right from the start, Hugh appeared to be uninterested in speaking to Ashley, who said: “Hugh Grant, you’re a veteran of Oscars and you’ve been here a few times. What’s your favorite thing about coming to the Oscars?”
Hugh hesitated and seemed distracted as he looked around before saying: “Well, uhm, it’s fascinating. The whole of humanity is here, it’s Vanity Fair.”
This seemed to be a reference to William Thackeray’s 19th-century novel, which is famed for its portrayal of the shallow and vapid English elite.
However, the magazine Vanity Fair also hosts the Oscars afterparty, and Ashley appeared to misunderstand what he’d said. She replied: “Oh it’s all about Vanity Fair, yes, that’s where we let loose and have a little bit of fun.”
When she asked Hugh what he was most excited to see at the Academy Awards and whether he wanted anyone in particular to win, he gave little back and did not engage in the conversation.
“What are you wearing tonight then?” Ashley followed up in an apparent bid to lift the tension.
“Just my suit,” Hugh drily replied. When Ashley pressed to know who made it, he said: “I can’t remember, my tailor.”
Changing the topic again, Ashley brought up Hugh’s Glass Onioncameo, but he refused to indulge her. “Well I’m barely in it,” he said. “I’m in it for about three seconds.”
“But you still showed up and you had fun, right?” she countered. With a wry laugh, Hugh replied: “Almost.”
Wrapping up the awkward exchange, Ashley said: “Thank you so much, it was nice to talk to you,” to which Hugh answered: “Yeah,” before being caught rolling his eyes and pulling a face.
Viewers at home were puzzled by Hugh’s behavior, and it wasn’t long before the interview had gone viral as his actions were dissected on social media.
“You don't have to be that much of a dick, Hugh Grant. I mean you really just don’t,” one person tweeted. Another wrote: “Why was Hugh grant so rude?? Shout out to Ashley for holding up the conversation. / getting through that.”
Someone else also praised Ashley’s attempts to salvage the interview, tweeting: “Wow @ashleygraham just earned her paycheck on that interview with Hugh Grant. She was gracious and persistent through his obvious desire to not be there. Why agree to an interview if you have no interest in participating??”
One more asked: “could Hugh Grant have been worse than what he was? How terrible was he on that red carpet interview with Ashley.I’ve always liked him.Tonight I’m done with him.The face he put after the interview was over, was so disrespectful!”
And while some argued that Ashley’s questions weren’t very creative, one person pointed out: “if you don’t want to be there don’t go. You’re at the oscars what do you expect? These are the types of questions that always get asked.”
Others also tried to defend Hugh by excusing his behavior as a cultural difference, with some even claiming that this was an example of a British sense of humor.
“People accusing Hugh Grant for being rude at the Oscars clearly have no idea about the British’s self depreciation and dry sarcastic, sardonic sense of humour lol,” one person tweeted.
“The Hugh grant interview is such a cultural difference in humour thing lmao cuz I see so many Americans getting mad and saying how rude he is but it’s literally just British humour,” someone else agreed.
Another echoed: “Hugh Grant’s interview at the Oscar’s and the reaction to it are a great way of illustrating British vs American culture. He’s hilarious.”
However, this may not be entirely true, and the real explanation could actually be much simpler: Hugh Grant just isn’t who everyone thinks he is.
You see, over the years the actor has made no secret of the fact that he is absolutely nothing like the bumbling English gentlemen that he is so famed for playing on the big screen.
In fact, Hugh has suggested that he is even a bit resentful of the reputation that his likable onscreen personas have given him in real life, as he practically screamed from the rooftops that it isn’t an accurate depiction.
“I get very annoyed when people think I’m nice or diffident or a polite English gentleman," he said in a 2016 interview with Entertainment Weekly. "I’m a nasty piece of work and people should know that.”
And in January 2020, Hugh revealed that the director Richard Curtis got a kick out of repeatedly casting Hugh as a good guy because he knew that this was so far from the truth.
Speaking at a press conference for the TV series The Undoing, Hugh said that it was “such a relief” to have made the transition into playing bad guys.
“I can’t tell you. Richard Curtis, who wrote all of those romantic comedies did a lot of… It always used to make him laugh that people thought I was that nice, public, Englishman, because he knew that exactly the reverse was true,” Hugh added. “It’s very nice to be closer to home.”
Hugh has also admitted to falling out with several of his women costars over the years, and with Julia Roberts it was because of the “cruel” way that he would criticize her appearance.
In 2004, Hugh described Julia as “very big-mouthed” in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. “Literally, physically, she has a very big mouth,” he went on. “When I was kissing her I was aware of a faint echo.”
He doubled down on the comment 11 years later when he admitted on Watch What Happens Live that he and Julia aren’t friends because he “probably made too many jokes about the size of her mouth.”
“She probably hates me by now,” Hugh added.
And in 2009, Hugh confessed in an interview with Elle magazine that he’d even made costars cry in the past as he detailed exactly which of his ex colleagues “despises” him.
When asked to describe the actors in three words, Hugh said: “Julianne Moore: Brilliant actress. Loathes me. Rachel Weisz: Clever. Beautiful. Despises me. Drew Barrymore: Made her cry. Stunning film-star face. Hates me."
In fact, just last year Hugh said that Renee Zellweger was one of the only women costars that he hadn’t “fallen out with.”
“I love Renee. Uh, she’s one of the few actresses I haven’t fallen out with,” he said during an interview on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show.
Hugh has also had run-ins with other celebrities, including Jon Stewart, who branded the actor his worst Daily Show guest of all time in 2012.
In scathing comments, Jon compared Hugh to a “dictator” and said that he was “a big pain in the ass.” Jon added that he “never” wanted Hugh to return to the talk show and claimed that he gave “everyone shit the whole time” during his 2009 appearance.
Hugh admitted on Twitter shortly afterward that he’d been unpleasant during filming. He wrote: “Turns out my inner crab got the better of me with TV producer in 09. Unforgivable. J Stewart correct to give me kicking.”
In 2015, Hugh added of the incident: “I did have a tantrum backstage. About once a year, I have a really mega-tantrum, and sadly he witnessed one.”
And just last week, the star divided people when he revealed the details of his 2021 “mega-tantrum” in an interview with Total Film magazine.
Hugh said that he “did a Christian Bale” and targeted a child actor’s chaperone when he kicked off on his very first day on the set of his new film, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
“I lost my temper with a woman in my eyeline on day one. I assumed she was some executive from the studio who should have known better,” he said, before saying that he did “a lot of groveling” when he realized his mistake.
The anecdote ended up reminding people of Hugh’s response to his 1995 sex worker scandal as they pointed out that he has maintained an expert grasp on his PR throughout his decades in the limelight.
“His public apology on Leno for cheating on Elizabeth Hurley with a prostitute is still considered a gold standard of great PR work,” one person posted on Reddit at the time. “He’s never deviated from that playbook.”
“He gets away with it because he plays up his ‘oh, I’m a naughty boy’ stick,” another said of Hugh’s “man baby behaviour.”
And off the back of yesterday’s Oscars interview, someone else said of Hugh: “He’s totally a dick, but at this point I’ve just accepted that’s who he is.”