LOS ANGELES – Ellen DeGeneres stated during the Oscars telecast on Sunday night that the most important thing in Hollywood “is youth.” But try too hard to stay young, and you could be condemned and criticized.
That may have been what happened to Kim Novak and John Travolta.
Travolta, 60, introduced Idina Menzel singing the Oscar-winning song “Let It Go” from “Frozen.” Leaving aside his mangling of Menzel’s name, Travolta’s appearance was instantly slammed.
“On a scary creepy scale of 1 to 10, John Travolta was a solid 15 last night. The toupee! The glassy eyes! The slurred speech! *shudder*” one wrote, while another quipped “Is John Travolta introducing the song from Frozen because his new face was created by a team of animators? #Oscars.”
Novak, 81, once considered a Hollywood sex symbol, joined Matthew McConaughey on stage to present the award for Best Animated Feature (weirdly again for “Frozen”), yet seemingly struggled to get the words out, barely moving her face as she spoke.
Her presence instantly generated a social media firestorm of taunts, teases and outright nastiness.
One user tweeted that Novak’s plastic surgeon should be “murdered,” and another quipped: “Surprised Kim Novak was left off the ‘in memoriam.’”
But others immediately leapt to Novak’s defense. After all, she has openly battled mental illness, cancer and suffered a very serious horse riding accident several years ago.
“Half the people being cruel about Kim Novak are ten years away from being Kim Novak,” Ronan Farrow tweeted. Another viewer wrote “Miss Kim Novak is (a) Hollywood legend and deserves respect, not stupid jokes at her expense,” another observed “you would never insult your grandmother, esp in such a vulgar, crass way Kim Novak has been subjected to here on Twitter, show some respect.”
Some say Novak’s appearance was proof a result of pressures on actresses to stay young.
“Novak’s appearance was shockingly disheartening. I am saddened that women in Hollywood are falling for the hype of attaining perfection,” celebrity career strategist Suzannah Galland told FOX411, adding that women are certainly held to more pressing standards to maintain a young appearance than males in the biz. “It’s time for them to take a good hard honest look at themselves and have the courage of grace to age with dignity.”
The famed “Vertigo” actress admitted FOX411 in 2012 that being deemed the ultimate Tinseltown beauty did come with disadvantages.
“Sometimes [it’s] a handicap, having people [judge] you only for the way you look, rather than for the way you think and feel about life,” she said. “There are so many people who only look at the outside… If you stop and look at just the outside, that’s unfortunate.”
Even during her prime, Novak was known for being somewhat uncomfortable with the glitz and glamour of the show business. And in 1965, at the very height of her fame and fortune, she turned her back on Hollywood for a much more mellow existence on a sprawling 240-acre ranch in southern Oregon and to this day claims not to have looked back.
“I am the person who has left Hollywood and is really living a wonderful life away,” she told us last year.