Jennifer Garner has finally shared her thoughts about becoming a meme for her reaction during the Academy Awards, and her response is super relatable. During Friday’s episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jennifer Garner said she’s embarrassed about her Oscars reaction. And while she’s not cutting herself much slack (it was all in good fun!), Garner’s opinion about the whole situation is pretty understandable.
When Garner appeared to have a surprising revelation during the Academy Awards — and the moment was caught on camera — it quickly became an Oscars meme. Jezebel writer Bobby Finger first pointed the moment out on Twitter, writing, “What realization did Jennifer Garner just come to?” The clip he posted shows the Love, Simon actor appearing to have an epiphany while clapping during the awards ceremony.
And while Garner seemed to think the tweet was funny at the time — she tried to get in on the meme by joking about it in an Instagram story — it looks like she has mixed feelings about it.
“I can’t even look at it. I can’t. It’s too embarrassing,” Garner said to DeGeneres during Friday’s Ellen episode. “I have no control over this,” she added, pointing to her face. “What am I doing?”
Garner added that she “started getting texts” about the situation, explaining to DeGeneres that she tries to avoid reading about herself online. But in this case, the meme was “unavoidable.”
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Garner went on to criticize herself about the reaction, and said, “I want to just punch her in the face,” referring to her own image. She also said told DeGeneres that she feels “regret” over the situation, and that she doesn’t know what she was thinking during the now-infamous moment. In fact, Garner told DeGeneres she didn’t even remember what was happening during the ceremony at the time her reaction was captured.
Garner’s candid comments about her Oscars reaction might come as a surprise to fans who saw her first reaction to the meme. When she posted an Instagram story about the situation, Garner joked about the “realization” she’d reached, suggesting things like “Congrats to Shape of Water. Maybe I should date a fish,” and “Can’t wait to work with Lena Dunham. Wait, did I sign a nudity waiver?” (Dunham and Garner will be working together on the new HBO show Camping.)
In some ways, Garner’s comments to DeGeneres make the whole thing even more relatable for fans. Yes, it was clever of her to try to prove she was in on the joke, and to offer up some funny captions about her expression. Still, it’s also a normal reaction for her to be a little embarrassed about going viral. And, honestly, it’s refreshing to see Garner being honest about how she feels about the meme. There’s nothing wrong with trying to play something off and get in on the joke, but when a moment you don’t realize is public starts getting tons of online attention, it’s also OK and within your right to feel awkward about the situation.
And for his part, Finger seems to feel a little guilty for starting the meme in the first place. After seeing the Ellen clip on Friday, he tweeted: “I made Jennifer Garner sad and it makes me sick!!!!!!!! I deserve to be punched in the jaw!!!!”
That may be a bit of an overreaction. It looks like Garner isn’t too upset about how everything went down. She recreated her expression from the clip during her Ellen appearance — so even if she’s a little embarrassed about it, Garner still sees the humor in the situation.