For an evening so full of 'dream'-talk and comments about race relations, there was a shocking lack of color. I've never seen so many gray gowns, which leads me to think that folks were a little intimidated by the elaborate set and therefore decided to play it low-key. There were also a large number of ill-fitting frocks and frazzled locks. But once again, 'best and worst dressed' were an easy choice for little ol' opinionated me.
The Show- Opening 'Oscar Number', starring Neil Patrick Harris, was a let down. He is peppy and all, but it paled in comparison w/ the similar number starring Hugh Jackman from last year. I think the Academy should somehow be told that this musical opening is not ALWAYS necessary...that perhaps they should skip a few years. But it was good and cheesy (like always) and hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were good and schmoozy. I thought their opening 'monologue' was a little sloppy but token 'host quips' throughout the night were much better and added some much needed levity to the event. The show itself went along smoothly with only a few snafus in the way of confused audience members trying to figure out why their face was plastered on the two story screen at the back of the stage. Dance number midway thru the program, featuring a medley of the nominated scores, was dull. Horror movie tribute was well executed but seemed like a space filler, more than anything else; and the 'In Memoriam' segment was just kind of odd. I think James Taylor also felt a little awkward. I do have to say that the new 'method' of announcing the acting nominees is really effective, and that the screenplay 'forensics' are a welcome addition to that category.
The Speeches- Presenters were all pretty formulaic this year, with the exclusion of Ben Stiller who came out to present the makeup award decked out in complete 'Avatar' ensemble. He spoke to James Cameron in the make believe language of the Na-vi people which was hilarious, especially since that movie was not nominated for its makeup. Gosh, I hate James Cameron. Anyway, the acceptance speeches were eloquent and short (they had to be since the mikes turned off automatically on all awards except the major ones). Monique will probably run for politics someday; her speech was very 'I Have a Dream'. Sandra Bullock was extraordinarily well spoken and I actually got misty right along w/ Jesse James. My favorite speech belonged to Jeff Bridges, who littered the thing with 'Maaaan' and 'Duuuude' throughout.
The Clothes- Like I said, there was alot of 'gray' at the awards show this year. The weather wreaked havoc on quite a few updos (Sarah Jessica Parker and Rachel McAdams were especially unfortunate) and there were a few problems with fit as well.
My hands down 'best dressed' was this lady:
She is Sandy Powell, the three time Oscar winner for costume design. This time, she won for Young Victoria, but it was her own outfit that garnered the most attention. It was Art Deco classy w/ a modern edge. The haircut and accessories were blazingly confident; the pattern was spectacular. I also loved the back of this dress, which was cut in a low 'v' ...and what about those nails??
She's this generation's Edith Head-an extraordinary designer w/ a strong personal style. I'm a fan.
My best-dressed gent was, in my opinion, the best lookin' guy in the room. And yes, Jeff Bridges was my top pick at the Globes too. The guy is just waxing WELL, is he not? Check out the gorgeously groomed hair and beard w/ that Gucci tux. Yummy.
Honorable Mentions go to the usual suspects: Queen Latifah KNOWS how to dress her curvy body (but it was slightly ill fitted at the top), Helen Mirren always looks like royalty, Penelope Cruz DARED to wear a claret colored gown, Kate Winslet ordered up some really pretty Veronica Lake hair, Meryl looked beautiful, and I really loved Sandra Bullock's dress (though I feel it needed an up do and some different makeup).
Worst dressed was definitely Sarah Jessica Parker, who seems to have left the stylish days of Sex and the City firmly behind. The dress looked like a metallic banana and seemed to seriously be choking her at times. The crumpled aluminum foil at the breast, disguised as 'embellishment', was also overpowering and disturbing. Then we add the hair, which could be termed 'Statue of Liberty' meets 'Elizabethan Headpiece'. Plus, it was frazzled around the hairline, presumably due to the weather. The makeup was wrong as well; her eyes looked like black specks in the overly spray-tanned face. Not a good look for the red carpet's former 'golden girl'. The following photo is actually a very nice version of the actual ensemble:
Worst Dressed Male? Well, I gotta say this guy:
But admittedly, that might just be based on my personal feelings about him. I always feel like he would look more 'at home' in Shakespearean troubadour attire, complete with tights and codpiece.
Dishonorable Mentions: Alot of folks were 'mediocre' this year but no one but SJP really resonated as looking 'bad', to me. Rachel McAdams also had an unruly sprig of frazzled hair poking out at the hairline and her dress was an ugly print. Gerard Butler had a strangely disheveled hairstyle that made him look like a nerdy professor who stayed out too late. I thought the upper part of Kate Winslet's dress looked a bit too much like 'armor', especially when paired w/ her lovely soft waves. But all in all, it wasn't too bad.
Until next year...