How this year became the Year of the Mum in Hollywood

Hollywood’s male stars haven’t been afraid to let Mother share the limelight. But is it a PR stunt or are they really Mammies’ boys, asks Claire Droney

How this year became the Year of the Mum in Hollywood

THERE are plenty of ‘red carpet’ mums who will be expecting something big on Mother’s Day on Sunday if this really is the ‘Year of the Mum’, as the tabloids are calling it.

It really did seem to be the year for mothers posing for photographs, clutching gold statuettes, and kissing, hugging and gazing at their tuxedo-clad, alpha male superstar sons, who gushed openly about their devotion to these women.

Matthew McConaughey strutted about the red carpet, doing interviews with his arms around both his wife and mother, Bradley Cooper sat in the front row of the Oscars with his mother, and girlfriend Suki Waterhouse, and Jonah Hill and Michael Fassbender presented their mothers proudly to the press. In his Oscar acceptance speech, director Steve McQueen jumped for joy and thanked his mother for her ‘hard-headedness’.

When Jared Leto posted a screen shot of the FaceTime call in which he told his delighted mother that he was bringing her to the Oscars on Twitter, and afterwards thanked her publicly in his ‘thank you [mom] for teaching me to dream’ Oscar-winner speech, there was a collective swoon from his newly-minted female fan base.

Even the usually taciturn Leonardo Di Caprio joined in the mother-love, paying tribute to Irmelin Indenbirken in a February interview with Entertainment Tonight.

And while Di Caprio may have publicly kissed his 21-year-old Victoria Secrets model girlfriend, Toni Garrn, at a Golden Globe aftershow party, it was his mother whose arm he chose to link on every red carpet.

“That just makes them that much more attractive!!!!!’ enthused one poster on an internet forum, while another wrote “You’ll never regret taking your mum. Smart move.”

‘It’s a modern phenomenon. It’s indicative of a shifting way of men are being encouraged to think about their mothers,’ says Guardian film critic, Peter Bradshaw.

“Back in the day, and probably up to the eighties, if a single man brought his mum to the Oscars, he may as well have worn a t-shirt saying ‘I am homosexual.’ It would’ve been outrageously swishy and gay. Now men are more open and see their celebrity mums as fashion accessories,” he says.

Irmelin Indenbirken, Leonardo DiCaprio and Bono at the Oscars

Irmelin (wearing a gold, Oscar-like dress), beamed and twinkled her way through the shows, her eyes crinkling up in fun as she made the ‘A-OK’ sign with her thumb and forefinger on the red carpet while Leo looked on indulgently. Jonah Hill’s mum laughed gamely at Ellen DeGeneres’ jokes about her son’s masturbation scenes in The Wolf of Wall Street, and Jared Leto’s mum danced into the early hours with Jane Fonda.

The mothers were also there as comfort blankets for their sons on what has to be a stressful and intense night.

Matthew McConaughey (centre) with mother Mary Kathlene (left) and wife Camila.

“People don’t want to show up on their own. You need somebody in your corner and it may as well be your mum. She’s non-threatening,” says Bradshaw.

And after losing out to McConaughey, maybe #PoorLeo (the hashtag trended on Twitter after the Oscars) needed his mum at his side to whisper reassurances and sternly tell him to fake-smile for a few more hours.

However, Bradshaw concedes that there may be an element of spin to the whole procedure.

“I don’t think it’s a cynical move. However, it is about the positioning of the celebrity in the celebrity market place. It signals availability to the fan base and says you’re a good guy. If Jared Leto turns up with Scarlett Johansson or Lupita Nyong’o on his arm, it closes off the female fanbase. Now they can’t even fantasise about him. If he brings his mum, that’s absolutely adorable,” he says.

Musician Shannon Leto with Constance Leto and her actor son Jared Leto attending the Oscars

One Direction’s Harry Styles uploaded a YouTube video of himself and his mother high fiving whilst making sandwiches, while a homesick Niall Horan moved his mother to London for a few months last year.

Perhaps Ryan Gosling, who brought his mother to the Oscars in 2007, explained it best:

“She deserves to go to a fancy party and have bunch of fancy people tell her she did a good job.”

More in this section

Lifestyle
Newsletter

The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up