Things We Need To Revisit From The 2017 Academy Awards

The other day I read a think-piece about how the twist ending of this year’s Oscars – as well as the reversals of fortune at the 2017 Super Bowl and the 2016 Presidential Election – means that there’s a glitch in the matrix: that we’re living in a simulated universe and either something broke, or someone’s messing with us.

For the 2017 Academy Awards ceremony to be dull and unremarkable for over 3 hours, only to get so wacky in the last 5 minutes that it inspired stoner philosophy in the New Yorker: that’s a feat. We already discussed our Best Dressed picks, so let’s revisit a few other happenings of the oddest awards night in recent memory.

The Opening Number and Monologue

Maybe it’s because I grew up on Billy Crystal’s annual parody numbers, but wow, was this year’s opening uninspired. Of course I love Justin Timberlake, but I prefer an opening number that actually remarks on the year’s nominees (yeah, I know the song was nominated, but am I crazy to want a La La Land reference when there’s an actual MUSICAL up for Best Picture? Something with the fantastic ladies from Hidden Figures? The nice aliens from Arrival?).

The monologue wasn’t quite as sharp or well-paced as I’ve come to expect. There were some good ones in there, though (“black people saved NASA and white people saved Jazz”) and some standard ones (the jokes about how young Damien Chazelle is seemed to be cribbed from Good Will Hunting-era Ben and Matt jokes), and a few that were just bad (on the biggest night of someone’s professional career, I’ve always found jokes about how nobody saw a movie or knows who someone is to be ill-conceived). I do like Jimmy Kimmel, but I don’t think he was the best fit for the Oscars host; I think he was the guy from ABC.

The Matt Damon Jokes

Who counted the Jimmy Kimmel/Matt Damon rivalry jokes last night? It’s a running gag you’d come to expect if you watch Kimmel, but if you don’t it probably just felt a little overdone.

The Bit With The Tourists, Which I Hated

As you already know by now, there was a really protracted bit where a group of tourists were told they were going to see an exhibit of Oscar gowns, only to walk into the auditorium full of celebrities. It was terrible for so many reasons:

  • It took forever. Legit, 7 minutes. Whenever the Oscars is packed with dumb bits, I always think of how annoyed I’m going to be when it’s 11:30 PM EST and top winners are being rushed off stage after 30 seconds, or 12:05 AM EST when I’m still awake.
  • The cell phones. I hate when baby boomers complain about kids these days always on their phones, but damn, could those baby boomers get off their phones?! It reminds me of when I was sitting at my niece and nephew’s Christmas pageant and couldn’t see a thing because everyone in front of me was watching it with their tiny phone screens poised in the air.
  • Something about the Normals mixing with the Pristine Fancy People just felt gross.
  • No really, put down your phone, Gary.
  • Is it just me, or does walking off a bus in tourist clothes onto national television and a room full of celebrities sound like a weird, bad nightmare? My only consolation is that everyone was calm enough that it was probably fake.
  • Yeah, Jimmy. Not everyone’s named something like Jimmy. That’s not even a good joke.
  • In general, I hate the idea of manufacturing Magic Moments – it’s the same feeling I get when I look at someone’s carefully curated Pinterest wedding. At some point you just have to let things play out normally and appreciate that magic can’t be planned. Case in point: this bit with the tourists was boring and long and bad, but the most fascinating part of the night – the glitch in the matrix at the end – was completely unexpected.
Saint Brie Of The Pursed Lips

We’ve come to realize that every Oscars night will involve us discussing how Brie Larson is a good person. She really seems like a genuinely down-to-earth, caring human even when the cameras aren’t on (for instance: hugging each and every ones of the assault survivors who appeared with Lady Gaga during the 2016 Oscars – during a commercial break, not on live TV). It is because Brie has become an advocate for survivors of sexual abuse that it was so horrifying that this awards season kept seeing her paired up with accused sexual harasser Casey Affleck. As at the Golden Globes, Brie handed off Affleck’s award with a pursed-lip smile and all the polite iciness of a well-bred Southern hostess.

Yes, Brie handed off the Oscar with a quick hug and congratulations, but she wasn’t going to clap about it. And it was that tiny gesture – not clapping – that put the next-day headline focus on the accusations against Affleck instead of his win.

I will say that I’m happy for Casey’s Manchester By The Sea costar Michelle Williams, who looked happy, and for his brother Ben, who I am willing to believe has given him a stern talking-to.

VIOLA!

There are some actors and actresses whom it feels like a privilege to live in the same time as. Viola Davis is one. After her much-deserved nominations for The Help and Doubt, it’s a joy to see her win her first Oscar – and I say first because I’m certain there will be more.

The Ladies Of The Help

I don’t know what it is, but occasionally the cast of a movie coalesces in such a way that you know filming it must have been (to use the oft-repeated junket cliche) like summer camp. Maybe because of its location shoot, that’s how The Help is. The actresses really seem to have become like a family on-set and remained friends years later. Oh, plus they’re all absolutely crushing it. To see Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer all involved in nominated pictures is an absolute delight.

MAHERSHALA!

It seems that every awards season has its darling (Jennifer Lawrence; Lupita Nyong’o, e.g.) and this year it was the talented, intelligent, really really handsome Mahershala Ali. It’s no secret that we were pulling for him, and we promise it wasn’t JUST because we like his speeches (the man does give a good speech though).

The Children of Moonlight

The actors behind the youngest versions of Chiron and Kevin, Alex Hibbert and Jaden Piner, are two talented seventh graders from the same Miami school. They were selected to audition and didn’t even know it was a big project – and now they’re part of a Best Picture winner. It’s the fantasy I always had as an inner-city kid, and the fact that it came true for these two amazing boys is phenomenal.  Alex and Jaden are kids, but they’re also old enough to grasp that the Oscars are a big deal and it seems that they were taking in every minute of it. All love and all pride.

La La Land Wins?

La La Land was good. It wasn’t my favorite — some of the Hollywood Is In Love With Itself vibe is only interesting if you are actually from there, I think, kind of like looking at some other family’s photo albums — but it was good. A modern musical is a fresh and innovative idea, it was beautifully executed (the color palate alone!), and for the first time in a long time, there was a really well-made film that was trying to be charming.  If movies like La La Land come into fashion I won’t be upset. Still, my gut said that Moonlight was going to win: if I felt that it was more deserving, certainly a number of voters had the same opinion.

When La La Land was announced as the winner I was disappointed, but didn’t feel like Moonlight got robbed, exactly. I understood why La La Land could have won, it was the expected winner, and as I said, it was good. I saw a photo album page I recognized in Moonlight (as I said, I grew up in the inner city with drug houses next door and across the street; Moonlight is the first and only time I have ever seen a neighborhood like that depicted with complexity and humanity. It meant a lot). Voters, I figured, saw a photo album page they recognized in La La Land. Fine.

But wait. The signs were there from the beginning. I interpreted Warren Beatty’s drawn-out announcement as an aging actor trying to be funny, but it was actually a pause to figure out what was going on. Faye Dunaway thought that Warren was allowing her to read the winner, when he was really signaling her in a “do you see what I’m seeing” way. Producers rushed on – well, maybe not rushed; they could have hustled a little bit more if you ask me. They reportedly realized there was a problem immediately but took minutes to get to the stage. Shock can cause delay, though. I was actually more surprised by the producer who (evidently) already had been told that they lost, delivered his speech anyway, then interjected “we lost, by the way.”

God bless Jordan Horowitz for clearing it up with”I’m sorry. There’s a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won Best Picture”, though at first I thought he was trying to say that Moonlight DESERVED best picture.  Nobody else on stage – not the producer who accepted before him, not the host, not the presenter, not the producers – had stepped in by that point, so I appreciate his quick thinking and decisiveness. Then there was some painfully bad on-stage vamping (KIMMEL. Telling them they should keep it isn’t the way to go; and it wasn’t “nice of them,” the other guys won it), and Warren tried to clear his name (redemption would come later, when it became clear that  he was handed the wrong envelope). A visibly stunned Moonlight cast took the stage. It was baffling.

Moonlight Wins!

Moonlight was my personal pick for best picture. It was so beautiful at times that I wanted to cry not because it was sad, but because it was true. I think my soul broke open in the final scene and not in a bad way. Moonlight is the first Best Picture winner with an all-black cast AND the first LGBT winner as well. It deconstructs masculinity, particularly black masculinity, in a thought-provoking and profoundly touching way.  However, Moonlight was also so beautifully written, filmed and acted that it deserved to win on its merits as a film, not because it was ground-breaking. It’s one of those movies where you can’t really explain why people need to see it, just that they need to.

Advertisements

Best Dressed at the 2017 Oscars

We’ve been blogging about the Oscars for four years now and watching them for about 20 – and that was hands-down the nuttiest night in our Academy Awards memory. From Denzel’s shocking loss to Viola’s triumphant win, Auli’i Cravalho’s otherwordly poise and composure to Lin’s endearing joy, culminating in the most INSANE deus ex machina ending we’ve ever seen – when the wrong envelope was opened and La La Land was announced the winner, only to have producers come out and confirm that the rightful winner as Moonlight – there was a whole lot going on. It’s almost enough to make you forget that it was an amazing night for fashion, too. Key word: Almost. Because no matter what insanity went on with the envelopes, we feel pretty confident about who the winners of our Best Dressed prizes should be.

Molly’s Picks

Janelle Monae in Elie Saab
I've been a Janelle Monae stan since The ArchAndroid, and I am having SUCH an

I’ve been a Janelle Monae stan since The ArchAndroid, and I am having SUCH an “I’ve been telling you all” moment right now. Things to know about Janelle’s fashion choices: for quite some time she only appeared in black and white tuxedos, but she has relaxed her “uniform” and now wears gowns, always in her signature black and white. Her albums center around a futuristic sci-fi mythology, a world populated by androids with lots of cool space allusions. I could see this look flopping on somebody else, but knowing Janelle’s penchant for black and white, and her fusion of sci-fi and soul, an Oscar gown where she looks like an intergalactic android empress is the best and, honestly, only appropriate choice. Also: that short hair and grecian headband: excellent.

Emma Stone in Givenchy
Like with Janelle Monae's look, I love Emma Stone's gown as much for what it represents as for how it looks. For a lot of us, Givenchy will always be synonymous with Audrey Hepburn, and in fact Emma is the first person to win Best Actress in Givenchy since Audrey. As I've said other years, I always love when nominated actresses dress with an eye towards the fact that this may be THE dress for them: the image that will be called up throughout their career and used in stories about them when they're old ladies. And with La La Land so glitzy and classic, this Old Hollywood look is a symbolic choice - a gown that could have been featured in one of the classic films Emma's character Mia grew up checking out of the library. A note about makeup: every single time I see Emma in a lip color, I think that it's HER color. Coral: her color. Bright pink: her color. This brick red: her color. She has a complexion for lipstick, which I didn't realize was a thing until just now.

Like with Janelle Monae’s dress, I love Emma Stone’s gown as much for what it represents as for how it looks. For a lot of us, Givenchy will always be synonymous with Audrey Hepburn, and in fact Emma is the first person to win Best Actress in Givenchy since Audrey. As I’ve said other years, I always love when nominated actresses dress with an eye towards the fact that this may be THE dress for them: the image that will be called up throughout their career and used in stories about them when they’re old ladies. And with La La Land so glitzy and classic, this Old Hollywood look is a symbolic choice – a gown that could have been featured in one of the classic films Emma’s character Mia grew up checking out of the library. A note about makeup: every single time I see Emma in a lip color, I think that it’s HER color. Coral: her color. Bright pink: her color. This brick red: her color. She has a complexion for lipstick, which I didn’t realize was a thing until just now. Also of note, Emma is sporting a small Planned Parenthood pin.

Ruth Negga in Valentino
Evidently the inspiration for this look was

Evidently the inspiration for this look was “pagan goddess.” I was going to say a more streamlined take on a demure Victorian look, but either way. I wouldn’t love the high neck and long sleeves on just anybody, but Ruth has such long, straight lines and I think it complements her perfectly. I love the contrast of the brighter, orange-y red with the deeper ruby on her headpiece and earrings. I find this dress to be a great example of dressing FOR your type (Ruth is this year’s pixie-like ethereal Irish nominee, after all), instead of against it. My only very minor gripe is that red dresses always look odd on the red carpet because of the contrasting tones. Note the blue ribbon for the ACLU.

Nicole Kidman in Armani Prive
Love the pillar dress, love the embellishments, actually love that this whole look is basically monochrome except for her lip color.

Love the pillar dress, love the embellishments, actually love that this whole look is basically monochrome except for her lip color.

Mahershala Ali in Ermenegildo Zegna Couture
Because we have to acknowledge that the men tried, too. Sometimes black-on-black can look kitschy, but the way this pulls together is pure elegance. I love that he went with a waistcoat and shirt, stayed black with the bow tie, and splashed it out a bit with the pocket square. And the shirt studs, besides? He is killing me. It's just so great to see a man having fun with accessorizing. Elegant, indeed.

Because we have to acknowledge that the men tried, too. Sometimes black-on-black can look kitschy, but the way this pulls together is pure elegance. I love that he went with a waistcoat and shirt, stayed black with the bow tie, and splashed it out a bit with the pocket square. And the shirt studs, besides? He is killing me. It’s just so great to see a man having fun with accessorizing. Elegant, indeed.

Brie Larson in Oscar De La Renta
Brie looks pristine and icy and beautiful, exactly how you should look while forking over an award with a pursed-lip smile while gently seething. The length is fantastic, I love the train and I don't always love trains, and the architectural structuring on the front of this is perfectly matched with the contrasting fabric finishes.

Brie looks pristine and icy and beautiful, exactly how you should look while forking over an award with a pursed-lip smile while gently seething [Annual reminder that Brie Larson is a Good Person]. The length is fantastic, I love the train and I don’t always love trains, and the architectural structuring on the front of this is perfectly paired with the contrasting fabric finishes.

Traci’s Picks

Taraji P. Henson in Alberta Ferretti

Taraji kept it classic and cool in a gown fit for Hollywood royalty. The neckline cut is perfect, the slit on the leg isn’t too high, and the best part is that this velour dress isn’t black – it’s navy blue.

Auli’i Cravalho in Rubin Singer

Like Moana coming out from the sea, Auli’i stepped into the spotlight and straight to our hearts. In addition to her outstanding performance with our boy Lin-Manuel during the show, this SIXTEEN YEAR OLD wore this gorge flowing gown on the red carpet. The white dress with gold accents was classy but just unique enough to stand out from the crowd. It also reminds me of water, but maybe I’m too into Moana.

Ava DuVernay in Ashi Studio

Ava might not have walked away with the gold last night (we’re of the mindset that she should have won, but whatever), but she sure did make a statement with this stunning gown by Ashi Studio, a designer based in Lebanon. The country is 54% Muslim, and Ava chose them specifically as a “small sign of solidarity.” We need people like you, Ava.

Isabelle Huppert in Armani Privé

I haven’t even seen Elle, nor have I seen anything Isabelle Huppert has been in, but she looks like Hollywood royalty in this gown. The 63 year old donned a dress perfect for her age, with just enough sparkle to shine in a sea of youngins.

David Oyelowo in Dolce & Gabbana

More and more men are taking risks with color on the red carpet, and David Oyelowo is rocking a black and white suit coat with modern details, and we are all for it.

 

Golden Globes 2016 – Best and Worst Dressed

Awards season was off to a (slightly censored) start last night with the Golden Globes, and now that we’re officially promised ceremonies filled with Kate and Leo reunions for the next few weeks, I’d say it’s looking pretty good. Also looking pretty good – a number of the ladies in designer gowns. We’re back to bring you our picks for Best and Worst dressed from the booze-filled ceremony, capes and all.

Best Dressed

Molly’s Picks

Brie Larson in Calvin Klein

Like our 2003 Junior Prom, dresses with cutouts in the midsection are really in – and like our 2003 Junior Prom, just having good abs isn’t enough to pull off the look. Take a closer look at the beading – this is one marvelously well-executed dress and the color is perfect on Brie’s complexion.

Alicia Vikander in Louis Vouitton

To be more specific: I love this on Alicia Vikander- it’s so fresh and minimal it almost looks like a light summer dress instead of a formal gown until you look at how beautifully executed the pleats are. It’s really deceptively simple, but if it were tailored just a bit less well we’d be in pinafore territory: that’s what makes this such a success in my book.

Jaimie Alexander in Genny

The Golden Globes are a bit more playful (read: boozy) than the Oscars, and it’s just the place for a bold geometric pattern like this. I can’t get over how perfect this emerald green color is on Jaime, and I’m almost amazed that the combination of the large pattern and low neckline isn’t over the top. I think the otherwise simple construction keeps it from crossing the line. Good work, Genny. Whoever you are.

Jennifer Lawrence in Dior Haute Couture

Every awards show has one gown that waffles between my best dressed and worst dressed list, and this is the one for Golden Globes 2016. My thought is, Jennifer Lawrence has been a staple at every awards show for the past 4 years, but she’s still young and I’m happy to see her take a few risks. So combining a swing top with cutouts seems like a good thing to do – and good on her for balancing it with simple, classic hair and makeup.

Lily James in Marchesa

Lowkey trend of the past 2 years: capes on the red carpet. But in tulle, it looks new and downright angelic. If this dress were simply white it wouldn’t make my list, but look at it in a few different photos – it’s actually rainbow pastel like Lily is the queen of the unicorns or something.

Traci’s Picks

Jenna Dewan Tatum in Zuhair Murad Couture

After clearly beating her husband at Lip Sync Battle the other night despite it being a tie, Jenna knocked it out of the park again on Sunday with this gorgeous flowing navy blue gown. It gives off serious Starry Night vibes to me, which just makes me think of romance and glamour.

Laverne Cox in Elizabeth Kennedy

When you’re tall and skinny like Laverne a dress like this makes you look like a freaking Grecian goddess. I love that collar, too. She knows how to work this gown.

Olivia Wilde in Michael Kors

Glittery dresses seemed to be in fashion last night, and one of my favorite looks came from this beauty, in a to die crimson colored dress. It fits her body perfectly and I’m loving the complimentary eye makeup. The whole ensemble makes her looks sexy yet sophisticated at the same time.

Jennifer Lopez in Giambattista Valli

I went through a mustard phase a few years ago, and I still stand by it. The color doesn’t look great on everyone, and I don’t think J Lo’s worn a lot of dresses in this color, but she looks great in it. With the Angelina Jolie leg and the Lupita cape, I love all of it.

Taraji P. Henson in Stella McCartney

I judge a lot of my Best/Worst dressed on how the person carries themselves in said gown. If it looks like the dress is wearing you, I’m more apt to put you on the Worst list. If you know how to rock a simple yet stunning gown like Taraji, you’ve made the Best dressed. She came into the ceremony to slay, and even managed to hand out cookies on her way up to get her trophy too.

Bonus: Michael B. Jordan looking fine af.

Worst Dressed

Molly’s Picks

Cate Blanchett in Givenchy

I think it’s supposed to be 1920s fringe meets 1930s Old Hollywood, but I feel like she’s the fanciest barmaid in the whole saloon (not into THIS MUCH fringe, even on someone like Cate Blanchett).

Melissa McCarthy

First of all, she looks absolutely beautiful except for the dress. Second, the dress isn’t exactly her fault – these awards shows really emphasize that a lot of designers don’t know what to do with anyone over a size 6 or so. Third, I still wish Melissa would find a way to stay away from these dresses that look like garbage bags.

Kate Hudson in Michael Kors

Remember when I referenced my 2003 prom talking about Brie Larson? Yeah. This one is actually straight off of an early 2000s prom rack. It reminds me of something Britney Spears or Keira Knightly would have worn 13 years ago, which isn’t soon enough for a revival in my book. The matching choker doesn’t help.

 

Giuliana Rancic in Alex Perry

Take the same dress, give it cap sleeves, and it would be fine (-ish).

 Wiz Khalifa in Thom Browne

Wiz Khalifa looked like he was having a blast, which is great. I just wish he’d take off the sunglasses, wear long pants, and tidy up his tie.

Traci’s Picks

Taylor Schilling in Thakoon

As I mentioned with Taraji, sometimes the outfit wears you instead of the other way around. Taylor made my best dressed both at the 2014 Emmys and 2015 Golden Globes, but I’m not feeling it this year. That blazer – and I know she loves low-cut tops – and the glitter pant combo? Sorry, not for me.

Patricia Arquette in Paule Ka

Instead of putting a bird on it, Patricia misheard and put a *bow* on it.

Jane Fonda in Saint Laurent Paris

Jane Fonda is 78 and has a rockin bod. Remember this electric gown from Cannes last year? While this kind of shows her frame off, that top is not doing her any favors. She looks like the roof of a Spanish style house.

Cate Blanchett in Givenchy

Cate Blanchett – amazing actress, okay red carpet star.

Regina King in Krikor Jabotian

As much as I love a cape, it needs to be utilized in the right fashion. Lupita’s GG cape? Yes. J Lo’s GG cape? Yes. Regina’s sheer fabric ‘cape’? Nope.