Both actresses won Oscars at a young age, and both women are still wrestling with the imposter syndrome that this achievement invokes.
The year Brie Larson was 26 the year she won an Oscar for her performance in Room.
On the night of the ceremony itself, Larson felt as if she was in a state of overwhelming shock and joy, but the morning after she was disillusioned. What did this accolade mean? What did it predict for the future of her career? What should she do next?
So she called her friend Jennifer Lawrence, herself an Oscar winner for Silver Linings Playbook at the age of 22. “I was like, ‘I don’t feel any different. I don’t feel better about myself. I still don’t feel like I’m a good actress,’” Larson has recalled to InStyle.
JLaw responded with the most Jennifer Lawrence advice: “She was like, ‘Oh yeah. That’s totally normal. I’ve had the same thing. Don’t think of it like that. Think of as, like, you got your Ph.D. You’re certified; that’s it. It doesn’t change anything. You can still f**k up. Every judge is still human.’”
It was those words of advice that helped centre Larson in the face of this self-doubt. She still feels impostor syndrome, she admitted, even more so on the eve of Captain Marvel, her biggest project yet. But she realised that the only way to process self-doubt is to keep moving forward.
“I don’t think you overcome self-doubt,” she said. “I think it’s something you listen to.”
This isn’t the first time that Larson has praised the importance of Lawrence’s friendship. Speaking to Vanity Fair in 2017, Larson revealed that she has a group text with Lawrence and Emma Stone, another Oscar winner, where they talk openly about the particular anxieties of success and fame.
“I felt lonely and bad sometimes,” Larson recalled. “I was embarrassed to keep talking about myself. That [group of friends] saved my life. I was able to continue to talk with them and everything that was going on in my life, and it was with people who had been through it before and are also hilarious.”
“That support and acceptance was everything,” she said. “I was home-schooled, so I didn’t have friends that had the same interests as me, and I found it to be absolutely incredible.”
Captain Marvel, the world’s greatest superhero, doesn’t struggle with self-doubt. And in some ways, Larson has explained, it was her strength and courage in her convictions - even and especially in spite of her flaws - that made the character so appealing in the first place.
“She didn’t apologise for herself,” Larson told InStyle. “I felt like that was a really valuable trait, because she is incredibly flawed and makes a lot of mistakes… And has to ask to atone for them, and that is super valuable. She’s not ever shrinking herself down.”
“I want to hold on to the [Captain Marvel] cockiness and the sense of ownership,” Larson added. “Because I do believe in my abilities, and I do value myself, and I do know that I’m strong, and I do know that I can do a lot of things that people don’t think I can do.”
Captain Marvel is in cinemas in the UK and the US on International Women’s Day on 8 March.