There are many reasons to get nervous about presenting at an awards show: What if you mispronounce the winner’s name? What if you say the wrong name entirely? What if a guest interrupts an award winner’s acceptance speech? But for Paul Mescal, the jitters had more to do with who he was presenting with. The people’s hottie took to the Screen Actor Guild Awards stage on Sunday evening with Zendaya, whose return to the awards ceremony stage was glamorous and effortless. Unfortunately for Mescal, things were a bit clunkier.
While attempting to present Best Female Actor in a Television Movie or Series—an award that ultimately went to Jessica Chastain for her performance in George & Tammy—Mescal couldn’t seem to contain his nerves standing beside the Europhia star. As the duo made their way up to the stage, Mescal tried to offer an arm to keep Zendaya from tripping up the steps, only to be snubbed. Ouch.
Ever the relatable king, the internet sensed the Normal People star’s nervousness and clocked his behavior as totally understandable: “zendaya got paul mescal nervous and giggling, he’s just like me,” one Twitter user wrote. “my buddy paul literally on the brink of peeing himself next to zendaya,” another person teased.
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As they made their way to the microphone, the two giggled awkwardly at each other before Zendaya began her introduction. It’s my understanding they were seated at the same table that evening—but perhaps being that up close and personal with Zendaya in public might just be too much to handle. And while the Spider-Man: No Way Home heroine spoke with the grace and poise of a first lady, Mescal stood purse-lipped as he gazed into the crowd, seemingly on the verge of tears. (Rejection is hard, but I hope Mescal was able to recover from the arm blunder quickly.)
Between his Irish accent and his general ~sad boi vibe~, it’s easy for Paul Mescal to be sexy, but as the actor made his way through his part of the introductory speech, he had as much sex appeal as a runner who just ran a 5K: out of breath and on the brink of passing out. But, I get it. Between the NAACP Image Awards and the SAG Awards, Zendaya was serving looks all weekend, including a light pink rose-adorned gown for the SAG red carpet and the geometric silk cutout dress she wore onstage. It’s hard to be in the midst of someone so mesmerizing and keep your cool.
As Chastain made her way to the stage to receive her award, she took a tumble up the steps in her long, fuschia pink gown. (Maybe Mescal really was onto something!) Perhaps it was the shock of winning or the tricky heels-and-gown combo, but if I had to take a cue from Mescal, it probably had a little bit to do with being face-to-face with one of the most iconic stars of this generation.