What’s usually so exciting about seeing celebrities in court, says Naomi Fry in The New Yorker, is the promise of relatability. Their “perfectly made-up” faces are covered, for once, with “mascara tear streaks”, proving famous people can be brought low just like the rest of us. But Gwyneth Paltrow’s trial this week – in which she was awarded $1 in damages after being found not liable for a ski crash in 2016 – was gripping for precisely the opposite reason. The Oscar-winner “unabashedly leaned into every stereotype” about herself, delivering lines that could have been pulled straight from The White Lotus. Everything from her “well-cut garments by leading designers” to her bottled sparkling water screamed Hollywood opulence. At a time when most celebs are obsessed with appearing “of-the-people”, there’s something refreshing about Paltrow unapologetically flaunting her status. Her performance on the stand was her “best role in years”.
The best thing about the trial is how low the stakes were, says Marina Hyde in The Guardian. Asked how the event had affected her life, “Her Vajesty” delivered the “sociopathically straight-to-meme line”: “Well, I lost half a day of skiing.” The plaintiff, meanwhile, said he’s so mentally scarred that he now opts for an “ungodly looking red fluorescent outfit” when skiing. “Stakes, dear boy. Stakes.” The “most compelling proof” that he suffered a brain injury was his choice of lawyer, “who made Lionel Hutz look like Cicero” – at one point, she asked the 5ft 10in Paltrow how tall she was, before squealing: “I am so jealous! I have to wear four-inch heels just to make it to 5ft 5in.” The whole farce was absolutely pointless – but “unmissable”.