What to say about this year's Academy Awards? After the trainwreck that was James Franco and Anne Hathaway, I think everyone was hoping that Billy Crystal would be a breath of fresh air. And he had his moments, but it mostly felt like the Academy were trying to do some song-and-dance about how things used to be--too many jokes about how long Billy has been around. Many of the award intros felt stale, too -- Sandra Bullock's weird language bit was apropos of nothing, and Robert Downey Jr.'s documentary gag was charmless and went on far too long. Don't even get me started on Diddy's First Wives Club, aka J.Lo and Cameron Diaz, and their strange backs-turned we're-friends thing, to say nothing of the former's alleged wardrobe malfunction. (One highlight that came from the evening is this video of Meryl's face upon hearing she had won.)
With all the montages and tributes, it felt like the Academy is maybe worried that we're all going to stop going to see films in the near future? "Movies! They're important! Remember movies? Here are some movie stars talking about why they love movies! Reese Witherspoon loves Overboard! Stars: They're Just Like Us!"
However, at least one good thing did come from Sunday night's festivities: I won our family's annual Oscar pool! It had been a few years, and it was about time -- my dad and Zack have championed an ABL (Anybody But Laura) campaign recently, and they needed to be put in their place.
But now on to the most important part of the night -- the dresses! Much like the work of God in our lives, the fashion of Oscar night will redeem even the most terrible of sins we had to suffer through. Right? Riiiiight?
Thankfully, we could tell Michelle Williams apart from her twin Carey Mulligan because Carey was nowhere to be seen on the red carpet. Unfortunately, this is what Michelle was wearing.
There was much ado about the color on the red carpet--Coral? Red? Orange?--and not nearly enough talk about what a crazy dress this was! The color, I think, was the only redeeming factor about an otherwise-schizophrenic getup. It's peplum (that little skirt beneath the bodice)! It's a bandeau! A corset! A ruffled maxi skirt! Belted, with a brooch! She is a beautiful woman, but she almost always dresses like she's straight out of the 1920s. I love a good vintage (or vintage-inspired) dress as much as the next girl, but I thought this was one of the worst of her rut. Bring back the canary yellow Vera Wang!
I wish that Sandra Bullock had walked backward the whole night. Down the red carpet, up the stairs, and into her chair, because unless she was hiding her adorable son inside the front of her dress (and maybe she was!), there was no need for the blouse-y part to be so baggy. As I said earlier, it was like the evil twin of Claire Danes's Golden Globes dress; also, I am not sure what to make of the diamond leaves that look like skeleton fingers on her hips. Fun? Creepy? I'll let you be the judge. But the back of the gown was lovely! (Also, I was going to show the front here, but adding pictures to a blog is REALLY HARD GUYS and it made everything wonky, so just look at this).
NOW, can we talk about Octavia Spencer? Because she looked fabulous. FABULOUS. Her dress fit like a dream, and I loved every little detail -- the train, the cut of the sleeves, the color, the clutch! Perfection. Plus, don't you kind of love that she and Sandy are BFFs? I mean, as this picture suggests?
If you know me, you know that I have FEELINGS about Gwyneth Paltrow. Feelings included but not limited to annoyance which, on occasion, burst into outright flames of hatred. I just find her so inane and didactic, with her GOOP and her Glee and her singing with Cee Lo and macrobiotic vegan diet. She is the bitchy girl that you went to high school with who never understood why we couldn't all jet off to France for the summer or why people didn't get straight A's. So, yes, ahem. My feelings.
But, I will not let those feelings get in the way of a fantastic fashion moment. Clearly, she nailed it with this Tom Ford number -- and it's totally the kind of outfit that should be called a number. Even the cape didn't look stupid, which is a huge accomplishment because who would ever suggest a cape to the Oscars? She looked perfect. So, you know, there's that. But I still think she's a robot.
From far away, Shailene Woodley kind of looked like J.Lo in a super J.Lo getup with her hair pulled back and some assuredly insane cutout in the back of the dress. Sadly, it was none of those things, just another instance of the lovely 20 year-old dressing like she is a matronly schoolteacher from Star Trek. (Okay, that last one is a thing I found when I Googled "matronly schoolteacher from Star Trek.") I would love to see her dress more her age - which isn't to say slutty, just more like a young actress. As it is, this outfit looks too much to me like a 70s wedding dress with those small cotton fuzzy things from Michael's glued all over. Maybe next time?
Have you ever watched Sesame Street?
Remember Snuffleupagus? Specifically, his eyes?
Okay, now look at her boobs.
I rest my case.
Oh, look! Kristen Wiig is wearing another beige dress! Seriously, I like her SO much, but her ensembles have run the gamut of ecru to bone and back again more times than should be allowed. Plus, this particular dress seems to be cut into thirds. The top third is a cute, corset-y bit (if I do want to tug it up an inch or two), and the bottom third is kind of a pretty, flowy skirt. But the middle? It's like someone took a pair of huge nylon underwear and stretched them over her hips--just a weird transition from top to bottom, and in a color that super washes her out. Am I being too mean? We'll never know.
I mean, COME ON. It is just not fair how absolutely PERFECT this gown is. And maybe it's because I've been waiting my whole life for a redhead to finally wear just the right thing to an awards show, but as soon as I saw this dress I knew it would be one of my all-time favorites. The combination of black and that rich gold pattern look so lovely on her, and it looks (in the best possible way) like a set of drapes torn down at Versailles and made into a perfectly elegant couture getup, Gone With the Wind style. I could talk about the bottom for DAYS. And it's Alexander McQueen, which is fun not only because of the success of MoMA's Savage Beauty exhibition but also the fact that it really is wearable art. Overall, I think she has all the ingredients of a winning Oscar-night ensemble: Elegant, unique, well-fitting, and fun.
Okay. You wanted good news first, right? Always get the good news first. Chastain was the ice-breaker. So now, Let's Talk About Angie.
Here's the thing: The dress was really pretty! Boring, sure--she wears black monochrome to, like, every other event. But it was velvet and had these really pretty brooches on the back. Her hair and makeup were super meh, and she did look incredibly thin, which, you know, not good. But really, the star of the show was The Leg. The Leg, which has spawned a Twitter account, inspired numerous Monday-morning watercooler conversations, and launched a phenomenon that has hit the farthest reaches of the Internet...It was, quite possibly, the unwitting highlight of the evening.
I think the main reason that we all loved it, though, is that this insistence on vamping regardless of where one finds oneself is proof that Angie is, indeed, the high-maintenance person we all secretly hope her to be. If she weren't, after all, we too could land Brad Pitt! We, too, could adopt children from around the globe and become UNICEF ambassadors and look like walking sex before 8 in the morning in one of our seventeen homes. But we want her to be difficult, arrogant.
Anyways, enough social commentary.
HOLA. I AM JENNIFER LOPEZ, and my entire dress is made of shiny packing tape and diamonds and little bits of money, all emanating from my womb, the provider of LIFE! The hair on my head is actually a performance piece comprising millions of tiny worms, all glued down so tightly that if you stand near enough to me, you can hear them scream. Where is Ben Affleck? Why is my scalp burning?
All this fashion analyzing has me exhausted, and there is delicious Indian food on the way. But, I would be remiss to not to mention this year's First Annual Jessica McClintock Award Winner....
Wendi McLendon-Covey, the Bridesmaid that everyone forgot about until last night. The color is boring, the cut is totally something you would see on the rack of that famed mall chain, and the detailing is entirely too overwhelming and cheap-looking. Perfect J McC material.
Honorable Mention: Milla Jovovich in a gorgeous, one-shoulder silver Elie Saab; Meryl Streep in the gold lame Lanvin that was practically begging the comparison to an Oscar; Stacy Keibler, whose metallic bronze number grew on me as the night wore on; and Emma Stone (even though the bow was very Nicole Kidman ca. 2007), for daring to wear that color as a redhead and pulling it off.
Dishonorable Mention: Berenice Bejo, who I think is GORGEOUS, in a way too washed-out mint Elie Saab dress; Natalie Portman in a totally boring polka dot dress; Cameron Diaz reprising her Something About Mary hairdo (sans, you know, the gel); and Colin Firth's wife whose red getup did have a boob shelf that looked pretty handy for storing snacks.