In between the red carpet and the actual show, we had a Defcon One-level television disaster: NBC wasn’t coming in on our TV. (I assume Defcon One is from Star Trek, but I don’t know for certain. Anyways, the idea holds.) The picture, when it was there, was super grainy, like a bad YouTube video. We could hear Tina Fey wisecracking every thirty seconds or so, but there was no picture and the audio was stilted. So, my genius husband found some sort of Canadian workaround online and I was in, albeit about a minute behind the live broadcast.
The red carpet segment on E! had given me most of the information I needed, but the show itself was a strange mix of things this year. Jacqueline Bisset’s boozy acceptance speech in which, among other things, she quoted her mother saying “go to hell, and don’t come back.”Tina Fey’s weirdly racist “Blacklist” joke (which I wrote about here). Emma Thompson’s moment of utter triumph. Amy Poehler’s celebratory make-out session with Bono. It was one of the more entertaining awards shows we’ve seen in recent years, and I think we have Poehler and Fey (mostly) to thank for that.
But the real stars of the night, as usual, were the outfits. So I’ll get down to it, while reminding you that we are 48 days from the Oscars. Ladies, start your engines.
The real knockout of the night had, in my mind, no competition whatsoever. Lupita Nyong’o, who has an excellent spate of red-carpet victories to recommend her, stunned in a floor-length, cherry-red Ralph Lauren column. WITH A CAPE. (Remember Gwyneth’s Oscars dress last year? It was lovely, I’ll admit, but this topped even that Tom Ford confection.) Nyong’o could have worn pajamas and her bone structure and elegance would have carried her up the best-dressed ranks, but this dress is one for the ages.
In a category by herself, as usual, was Zoe Saldana. She took a risk; that’s for sure. But not all risks can pay off, and this one looked like a couture quilt. I do appreciate that she always gives us something to talk about, but in this case, she just looked like a drunk girl playing dress-up. You could have told me she and Helena Bonham-Carter argued over who got to wear that dress and Zoe won only by ripping off the organza hem and I would believe you in the blink of an eye. The sleeves were kind of cute and princess-y.
I imagine it’s not easy to dress a baby bump. Drew Barrymore did it very Drew Barrymore-ly, which is to say she looked like a giant flower. The dress was atrocious, but whatever. It worked for her. Kerry Washington was, as usual, perfectly styled and perfectly beautiful. I wasn’t a huge fan of the bib-like top, but the lines of the dress itself were lovely. Olivia Wilde, however…that is one sexy mother-to-be. She has a feline look to her, which might sound weird to say, but there’s something to the way she carries herself and moves that is catlike. So the slinky, sequined, emerald green Gucci dress worked perfectly. I confess my bias here: I will always love a woman in a long-sleeved, body-hugging, sparkly silhouette. It’s pretty universally flattering–Adele and Carrie Underwood both pulled it off beautifully at the 2012 Grammys. Olivia Wilde is now part of that same stratosphere. Try it someday; maybe you’ll like it, too.
From the number of best-dressed lists she’s appeared on, it would seem to be a controversial decision to name Cate Blanchett one of the night’s worst dressed. She is a darling of high fashion, and while occasionally puzzling, she does usually make choices in favor of avant-garde designers, which makes her (sartorially, at least) very like Tilda Swinton. But the funeral number she wore to the Globes couldn’t possibly pass muster on any but the most stringent, depressing runways–and she was at a Hollywood awards party! The skirt part of the dress was beautiful, and I wish she had Armani cut the top off and worn a t-shirt with it. Honestly, that would have been eight hundred times better. The back of the dress was risqué and fun, but like I wrote that night, the back was writing checks the front couldn’t catch.
Speaking of women who wore t-shirts to awards parties…I don’t know what Julia Roberts was thinking. All I can come up with is that she spent too much time with Meryl filming August: Osage County, a happy family movie about a warm summer in Missouri. (I haven’t seen it yet.) Otherwise, what is the possible reasoning for the collared top underneath the totally passable, if plain, Dolce & Gabbana dress? Perhaps she was channeling Sharon Stone’s famous ’98 Oscars look, but the key there was that Stone wore the shirt AS A SHIRT, not some weird dickey. HuffPo Canada applauded Roberts for dressing appropriately for a “WOMAN OF HER AGE!” but unless that age is dead or over 100, you don’t need to do this.
If I had been invited to the Globe (this is what, the twenty-eighth year they snubbed me? RUDE) I would have worn Julianna Margulies’s dress in a hot second. I love the combination of gold and black done well, and the slim bodice and full skirt of the dress reminded me of the best fashion in Gone With the Wind, but in an even better way. The neckline was just low enough to keep it from being dowdy, and the coral shape of the gold pattern was elegant. I loved it. Plus, I feel like it had pockets? A dress with a skirt that big has to have pockets.
Elisabeth Moss was a surprise frontrunner, in my opinion. She’s not someone I think of as super interested in fashion, and she’s made some interesting red-carpet choices in the past. But this J. Mendel dress worked so well on her. The color, a deep cranberry, was a shade darker than the popular orange-reds that dotted the show (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Taylor Swift, Amy Adams), which made it instantly the goth alternative to the rest of the sweethearts. The shape of the dress was flattering, and even though it did sort of look like a tablecloth, it looked like a really great tablecloth that should have been turned into a dress in the first place.
Honorable Mentions: Reese Witherspoon in turquoise Calvin Klein (very California beach babe, one of my favorite looks and done to perfection by Jennifer Lawrence at the 2011 Oscars); Margot Robbie in Gucci with a slit up to there; Amy Adams in American Hustle-character Valentino; Naomi Watts in metallic Tom Ford.
Dishonorable Mentions: Sandra Bullock in a Prabal Gurung wetsuit; Zooey Deschanel in a beautiful skirt ruined by a weird junior-high crop top; Emma Stone‘s smock-like skirt paired with a sequined top; Lena Dunham in a pretty but ill-fitting Zac Posen dress she couldn’t stop tugging at. Jennifer Lawrence, who I’m not even going to talk about.
If you’ve made it this far, I’m impressed and grateful. See you in 48 days.