Oscars a ‘Yawn’
I have to say that I thought the 79th Academy Awards were a lumbering ‘snooze’ which felt more like Amateur Hour, than an iconic awards show. I am a big fan of Ellen Degeneres but I didn’t find her to be particularly funny, and felt that her brand of low keyed, self deprecating humor did not work its magic for this long awaited evening. She was not at the top of her game and was far more effective when she did the honors for the Grammy Awards and the Emmy Awards.
And speaking about not living up to the hype, larger than life Andre Leon Talley, appearing for the first time as Fashion Commentator for ABC’s pre Oscar segment, is living proof that simply having MAJOR fashion credentials, not to mention a well documented knowledge of fashion and fashion history, does NOT a commentator make. Word of advice; keep your day job, Andre! (And you too Ellen).
ALT seemed very nervous, stiff and uncomfortable (which is completely understandable), but the result was that he was far too effusive and ‘obvious’ in his praising of designing best friends Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Manolo Blahnik, and Karl Lagerfeld. And the Will Smiths are positively adorable and talented, but to label them “Hollywood’s First Family”????? Really.
And sorry Andre, but I disagreed with you about Kirsten Dunst’s mousey gray Chanel gown with its unflattering and matronly neckline and feathered hem. And more importantly, I thought that March Vogue cover girl and Academy Award winning actress, Jennifer Hudson, (who ALT has taken under his wings), looked far better when she opted for a covered up, soft, empire waist, Vera Wang gown for the Golden Globes. The Oscar de la Renta dress and jacket she chose to wear last night was very sci-fi looking and out of character for Oscar. (I agreed with The New York Times’ Eric Wilson (“Red Carpet Recycling: Who Said Knockoff?”) who described the metallic python bolero jacket as appearing to have been designed “to protect her from the prying ears of invading space aliens.” At least she was smart enough to leave off the jacket when she took to the stage to accept her gold statue.
As for the fashion overall, I never really understand dressing for these Red Carpet events and always yearn to see more individuality and modern thinking being applied. I think most times, the women look like carbon copies of one another (only the color of the long bare gown seems to change) and what you normally get is akin to ‘prom night’ (accept that the floral corsages have been substituted by millions of dollars in borrowed gems).
While beautiful Penelope Cruz looked like a true movie star in her flesh toned voluminous gown, Jada Pinkett Smith shined in her gold toned form fitting Herrera (which she jokingly said made her resemble the gold statue), and Reese Witherspoon looked great (and natural) with her long blonde hair worn straight, which was offset by the romantic black strapless Olivier Theyskens confection, I’ve seen Cate Blanchett look better and ditto for Nicole Kidman who still stood out in her red gown with unwieldy bow at the neck. (Even though it resembled Charlize Theron’s Dior ‘debacle’ from the past, it’s still hard to make Nicole look bad no matter what she wears).
And I didn’t particularly like Best Actress winner Helen Mirren’s rather aging and lifeless Christian Lacroix. (When she took the stage with her bag in tow, I couldn’t help but think ‘The Queen’ has really rubbed off on this actress. (Queen Elizabeth never goes anyplace without a proper bag). Talk about life imitating art. And after seeing pictures of Meryl Streep (yikes…that necklace…those shoes)…all I can say is that it’s a good thing she didn’t have to get up on stage to accept an award for Best Actress. The Devil may wear Prada…but what the devil were you thinking Meryl? (Though she gets ‘points’ for admittedly not using a stylist).
Quite frankly, in terms of the evening, one can say the best WAS saved for last: Martin Scorcese finally picked up his long overdue Best Director Award, and the talented Forrest Whitaker’s heartfelt acceptance speech for Best Actor was itself worthy of an Academy Award.
- Marilyn Kirschner
(More coverage of the Oscars by our entertainment editor Diane Clehane reporting directly from the event later on today.)