It’s no secret that I love awards shows with an unquenachable love. They are one of my favorite things to watch, probably because they are basically four hours of People Magazine, which I also love: Who is wearing what? Who showed up with whom? Who fell? It’s fashion and film and high levels of self-congratulatory behavior.
I’m not going to say anything about Seth MacFarlane’s hosting job, but you can read some good articles here and here. OKAY, I will say that I thought he was a lot funnier than I had anticipated–I dislike both “Family Guy” and “Ted”–so my expectations were set quite low. I think “boobs” is a funny word, so there’s that. But his smarminess wore on me as the night went on, and by the time he made the joke about John Wilkes Booth, I was yearning for Steve Martin. Not because it was inappropriate; it just wasn’t that funny. Seth had his moments, though, and, And! I was utterly charmed by the Charlize Theron/Channing Tatum pas de deux. That was some lovely shit.
But the most important part of Oscar night is the fashion. No way should “Argo” have won Best Picture or Jennifer Lawrence Best Actress, but what remains aren’t the acceptance speeches. So let’s get to it!
Confession: One of my favorite parts of the entire Oscar experience is the fact that everyone changes into a second gown for the after-parties. I usually end up wishing that the actresses would have worn outfit #2 to begin with. Case in point, Anne Hathaway. Her original gown was a bad take on Gwyneth’s 2000 number (which apparently has its own Wikipedia page!), but with weird nipple darts. You can’t see the nipply action too well from this image, but a quick Google search will fix that right up. The nipples clearly weren’t her nipples at all, but the odd construction of the dress harkening back to Jean Paul Gaultier’s cone bra made famous by Madonna. I just wanted to grab her, take her backstage, and find a seamstress who could iron out her chest, stat. PLUS, the construction of the top of the dress makes it look like a satin apron! Those small spaghetti straps might be sexy to Mrs. Boyardee, but they just didn’t do anything for me.
The bottom of the dress–waist down–was lovely. I really liked the color, even if it did follow the beige/pastel trend of the night (though I think the red lips clashed a bit.) But it reminded me of one of my favorite dresses of all time: My senior prom dress. It was gray with a big pink slash of fabric around the middle that tied into a huge bow in the back. So, I have to give Annie credit for that. But the back of the dress cut her off in some weird ways. The only saving grace there was her crazy beautiful diamond necklace. But overall? It was a nipple apron gown, and there’s just no moving past that.
Someone said of Salma Hayek that she had the fanciest neck brace in all of Hollywood, and I really can’t imagine why in God’s name she would have otherwise chosen this getup. It is, in some ways, a welcome break from the largely dull red carpet and her past getups which were very “HELLO, I AM SALMA HAYEK, HERE ARE MY GIRLS” kind of thing. But I think she just ended up looking (especially in this picture) like a weird formal Barbie.
SIDENOTE: Did any of you used to get the Christmas Barbie dolls? My cousin and I got them from our grandmother every year until we were 25 (Kidding, we were 24) and we loved them. They had to be presented in extra large Barbie boxes because their outfits were so intricate and huge, their dresses so voluminous, that they could not be contained in a regular Barbie package. We loved those dolls and played with them endlessly (Courtney’s stayed in the package for safekeeping, mine came out right away and was usually deformed and missing shoes an hour later), but my sister was always so jealous she never got a holiday Barbie. She never really played with dolls much, but she will still get up in arms if you bring up holiday Barbies.
So, Salma, the holiday Barbie look rarely works for human beings; even ones as beautiful as you. Her hair, my friend Katelyn pointed out, looks like she just threw it up to get on the treadmill. Which is almost a sin, because I would kill for her hair. (That is not true. I would seriously maim for it, though, and that is no idle threat.) The velvet dress was super pretty and simple and if she had just worn that with a HUGE necklace dripping in rubies and emeralds, I think we all would have been happier.
Naomi Watts is a major frontrunner, in my opinion, for best dressed of the night. She pretty consistently hits it out of the park for awards shows because she knows what looks good on her and sticks with it. She isn’t a major risk-taker, but she isn’t a wallflower either. Case in point: This metallic Armani Prive. It could have easily been a strapless number made interesting with its color and texture, but the sleeve and collar detail–its asymmetry–make it so much better. And it’s such a sleek dress that her minimal jewelry, natural makeup, and messy hair were exactly what was called for.
I don’t have a ton more to say about her–it’s just a beautiful, glamorous look–but I will say that one summer my dad and sister and I saw Liev Schrieber play Macbeth in Shakespeare in the Park in Central Park, and he was so wonderful in that role. But even then I couldn’t help but hope that Naomi Watts would come out from behind the stage and sit down next to us to chat, because she just seems so approachable and fun and warm. Like Nicole Kidman before she married Tom Cruise and then divorced him and then married Keith Urban and then peed on Zac Efron in The Paperboy.
At this point, I don’t think anyone can say anything bad about Jennifer Lawrence. I mean, I don’t think she deserved to win the Academy Award when she was up against Jessica Chastain and Emmanuelle Riva, but she can hardly be blamed for that. (My beef was with the pretty and charming girl who is slightly offbeat playing a pretty and charming girl who was slightly offbeat and got the man in the end. Great performance, but not Oscar-worthy.) Anyhow. SURELY you have seen her post-Oscar interview-cum-Jack Nicholson introduction? Her response to the spill she took on the way up to the stage: “What do you mean what happened, look at my dress! I tried to walk up stairs in this dress, that’s what happened!”
Her lack of guile is utterly charming and endearing; everyone wants to be her best friend. Except for me, because I would never let my best friend wear that dress to the Oscars. Or, to be more precise, I would have cut the skirt down to half its volume before she left. The dress looks like something Carrie would have worn to a wedding in Sex and the City, only to realize when she arrived that she was, in fact, wearing a wedding dress herself. And then she would have written about the meaning of wearing white to a wedding while sitting cross-legged at her desk and chain-smoking in men’s underwear. But I digress. I loved the dress from the top to the hips, LOVED the back-necklace (super elegant), but the bottom was just too much flare. And too much to walk up stairs in, clearly. But, last night was really the night when J. Lawrence could have done no wrong, so we can’t hold too much against her.
You know who we can hold too much against?
Yes, that’s right. Melissa McCarthy.
I thought, when I first saw her, that it was a joke. Her hair, that is–the dress is bad, ill-fitting, and seems to have a garbage bag peeking out where the slit should be. But her hair, oh her hair. Did she put her finger in an electrical socket? Stick her head out the window on her drive to the red carpet? Did she get styled in Texas? It is such a mystery to me. Her hair is gorgeous–thick and reddish-brown and there are one million ways that it could have looked fantastic. But this was not one of them.
If she has a stylist, that person should be severely flogged. Her hairdresser should leave the country as soon as possible. And she, well, she can be forgiven this one mistake because one of the things that is best about Melissa McCarthy is that she is an actress and not a fashion plate, and she doesn’t try to conflate the two. I like that about her. But if she ever shows up in public with that hair again, I will weep and gnash my teeth and assume the end of the world is very near.
From the worst to one of the best:
After her truly sad dress at the Golden Globes, I had high hopes that Chastain would redeem herself this time around. When I first caught a glimpse of the back of the dress while Ryan Seacrest chattered away in the corner of the TV, I was wary. Redheads do not usually do terribly well in copper. Gold and silver, yes. Many bright colors, yes. But copper and bronze tones can tend to wash a ginger out, and that would have been a shame.
On second and third and fourth reviews, I only grew to love the dress more and more. Her hair and makeup were just right (if very “Old Hollywood glamour,” which seemed to be the theme for the night)–Kelly Osborne pointed out that if she hadn’t done the red lipstick, the whole look might have been way off, and I tend to agree. By the end of the night I loved everything about her look, and I really liked that because the beading and color of the dress were so unique, the rest of it was simple. All in all, a major winner. She made me proud of my race.
You’ll have to indulge me for a second, because this isn’t exactly red carpet stuff. BUT. This dress was by leaps and bounds my favorite of the night. I love it so much I want to marry it, or get married in it, or marry it WHILE I AM WEARING IT. I meta-loved it. Diane Kruger is a lovely actress, and a fashion plate to boot. She is also dating Pacey from Dawson’s Creek, whose real name is maybe Joshua Jackson?, but who I like to think is just a more dapper version of his character from my most beloved teenage TV show.
So, first things: She has the legs to pull this dress off, which not many people could. She could look a bit like the Flying Nun, too, but somehow that just makes it work even more! Has there ever been an Academy Awards where the Flying Nun was referenced? I don’t think so; not until this year. The shoes, the miniaudiere, the makeup, everything was perfect for a big Hollywood Oscar party. The hemline is so perfect for the dress, and the dolman/cape-y shoulders are just perfect. I wish I had been there just so I could have met her in the bathroom, told her I loved her dress, knocked her out with some ethylene like they used to do at the doctor’s, stolen her dress, and made Pacey run away with me. Is that weird? Don’t answer.
That’s a wrap for now, as I’m off to do some unimportant things like try to write and read and work and stuff. What were your favorites? What did I miss? And were there any that were just terrible? I’d love to hear about those, especially. Oh, and…
Honorable mentions: Jennifer Aniston’s red Valentino, with very Aniston beach-y hair; the front of Jennifer Garner’s dress and that necklace; Octavia Spencer’s beaded number; Quevenzhané Wallis with her poufed sleeves and puppy purse.
Dishonorable mentions: Amanda Seyfried’s outer space sexy McQueen (the cleavage circle underneath the choker thing is weird to me); Reese Witherspoon’s gown (which was a gorgeous dress and color but needed to be pulled up at the top and let out an inch at the hips); the back of Jennifer Garner’s dress, Renee Zellweger looking like a hot mess.
A final word: If you have not seen Hattie McDaniel’s acceptance speech at the 1940 Academy Awards for her role in “Gone With the Wind,” watch it. It is one of the most touching moments in film history, and the dignity with which she receives the reward is just the right antidote for the one-upmanship that marked most of the show on Sunday.