Let's be honest: This year’s Academy Awards were just... OK. But there were two really amazing moments. The first was Jordan Peele taking home the gold trophy for the Get Out original screenplay. The second was spotting a very special reunion on the red carpet: Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak. In the past, the two played a (tumultuous) couple on The Office and were together on-and-off during that time IRL as well. So when they popped up on Mindy's Instagram together and looking amazing side by side on the red carpet, well, Mindy Kaling and B.J. Novak's body language had shipping hearts everywhere beating a little faster.
After fans of the duo lit up social media the night of the Oscars, a source confirmed to People that they are still just friends. But I mean, just look at that chemistry! In the past, when asked about their relationship, Kaling described it as "weird as hell" to InStyle in 2015. “He is not my boyfriend, but he is not my best friend," she told the publication. "I guess you could describe our relationship as a 'romantically charged camaraderie with loud arguments,' but I don't think Facebook would accept this as a new status.” In other words, even though a source said they aren't together, there's just enough grey area to keep our hopes up.
So to find out if all this renewed shipping is just a product of wishful thinking, or if maybe there is still some hope, Elite Daily contacted body language expert Patti Wood, author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma, to get her take on what the pair's body language at the Oscars can reveal about their ~relationship~ (whatever it may be).
1. They Have A Strong Connection — And Possibly A Secret
To start to unpack their body language, Wood began with Novak, specifically noting the way he leans toward Kaling in the above photo. “If I didn’t have any background, I would say he wants to be a couple. Even if you look at his head, he’s having to check himself in that moment not to have it leaning forward more,” she says.
And according to Wood, Kaling appears to be subconsciously reciprocating. “If you look at her hip placement, see how her hip is jutted out toward him? … That hip action says at least they used to have a pretty profound sexual relationship,” she says. “The other thing it shows is her desire to control. If you look at her feet, you see how they are pressed tight together, like she doesn’t want to reveal and show. But the hip just naturally does.”
2. They Are Very Happy Just Being Around One Another
What stands out most to Wood in this image are their shoulders. “You see how his shoulder and her shoulder — their upper bodies — are slightly overlapped? That shows, at the very least, a deep connection between the two of them," he says. "They are merging; they want to be seen as one." She also notes in this image, they look like two people who are naturally in sync: “They’ve got the hand placement on the same level. And he’s doing that same lean again.”
If you are personally shipping the two, what Wood sees in their smiles is going to be particularly interesting. “In this [image] you see both of their lips suppressing something. In hers, you see real happiness," she says. "If you look at him, he’s got a slight twist in that smile, like he’s got a secret.”
What's also encouraging is that Wood does not see any signs indicating that the two are "just friends." "Usually, I see something that tells me that one of them is kind of exiting out or doesn’t want to be seen that way," she says.
3. Novak May Want To Be Seen As Unit With Kaling
In these photo booth snaps, taken at the Vanity Fair Oscars after party, Wood sees a more overt version of what she saw in the red carpet photos, especially in Novak’s body language. “Again, if you look at that top left photo, he just want to be seen with her ... He wants to be seen as unit with her. I think that’s what we can safely say, whether it's friendship or [as a] couple, he wants to be seen as connected with her,” she says.
So while no one can say definitively that the two are definitely ~a thing~ (other than the two themselves), there is plenty of evidence in their body language to keep our shipping hopes alive. "Whether as a friendship couple or a romantic couple, they’re definitely both happy,” Wood concludes. And ultimately, that’s the most important thing, right?
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