Love is a many-splendored thing, especially when you’re gawking at it from the outside. In this column, we’ll be examining the celebrity couples—or, occasionally, good friends—that give us hope for our own romantic futures and trying to learn what we can from their well-documented bonds.
Everyone has their favorite part of awards-show season. For some, it’s watching hot people swan around in expensive gowns; for others it’s collecting their friends’ and coworkers’ hard-earned money via a perfectly predicted at-home Oscar ballot; and for me, it’s the delight of getting to see actors Busy Philipps and Michelle Williams—who first met on the show Dawson’s Creek and have been BFFs ever since—taking on the red carpet together.
It’s a well-known fact that Williams has often brought Philipps as her date to award shows over the years, culminating in Philipps’s now iconic reaction to watching the Moonlight/La La Land mix-up happen in real time in 2017, and honestly, I get it. If you were nominated for a major acting award—or even if you weren’t!—wouldn’t you want your best friend by your side to hand you Altoids and/or half a Xanax as needed and talk shit about the other nominees? (I’m not accusing Philipps of doing this, I’m just saying that’s what I would do if my best friend were up for an Oscar.)
“I’m just gonna go back in time and tell this kid that she’s going to have 5 OSCAR NOMINATIONS in the next 20 years,” Philipps posted on Instagram in a heart-melting ode to Williams after the 2023 Oscar nominations came out on Tuesday, adding: “Proud of you forever for building the life and career you dreamed of, even though the absolute overwhelming grief of being human had you wondering if you could at times. But then you would dig deep and try again. It’s one of my favorite things about you. You have never NEVER stopped trying.”
Of course, the friendship that Williams and Philipps share extends beyond Oscar season. In her extremely charming 2018 memoir, This Will Only Hurt a Little—which I downloaded to my Kindle and have subsequently reread on more Wi-Fi-free Spirit flights than I care to recall—Philipps recounts the pair’s years of wacky Halloween misadventures and nights of babysitting for each other’s kids, writing of the pair’s first encounter: “She was tiny and adorable, her perfect face makeup-free. She was carrying Fig Newtons and water. She asked if I wanted one, and we walked over to her room and sat in the rocking chairs so I could smoke. We started talking about bands we liked and books we were reading. I liked her immediately.”
This description of the start of a yearslong friendship gets to me precisely because it’s so humdrum; you might expect two famous actors to bond over, IDK, low-carb meal-delivery services, but Philipps’s memory of Williams inviting her out for steak shortly after they met reminds me of the millions of good meals I’ve taken down with my own best friend, meals when we were too busy cackling and conspiring (and possibly drinking more natty wine than was strictly necessary) to bother caring about the calorie count of the food on our plates. Life is too short, baby!
For her part, Williams said of Philipps in 2016: “I’m so in love with her. She’s proof that the love of your life does not have to be a man! That’s the love of my life right there.” As a gay woman, I’m going to go ahead and agree that the love of your life does not have to be a man (LOL), but I’m still extremely smitten by the fondness that Williams has for her wingwoman. Personally, I can’t wait to see Philipps’s reaction face at this year’s Oscars if Williams does, indeed, take home the gold statuette for her role in The Fabelmans—and if for some reason she’s not Williams’s date, I will riot. (I know Williams is married now, but husbands are boring! Best friends are forever!)