So, last night was the Oscars, that gleaming bastion of class and merit, where they will give a woman an Oscar for directing the best film of the year and then play “I am Woman” before throwing to commercial. In keeping with this grand tradition, Hollywood takes the opportunity to go all-out, lining up for the fashion police in a glittery, flawless parade.
I am kidding. It was a disaster. This face says it all:
And when Kristin Stewart speaks for all of us, you know something is wrong.
It’s a sad, sad day.
The thing is, there wasn’t much that was particularly ugly or awful; it’s just that compared to last year, everything last night seemed so…similar; either you were in a pastel dress that was vaguely unflattering, or you were in a print that was vaguely unflattering. Well done, all!
Rose Above the Fray:
First off, my award for best-dressed of the night: Susan Geston.
You can’t see all the detail here, but it has several layers of netting, including one that stands out a little from the body. It’s age-appropriate and sophisticated while still looking funky, and she picked what looks like blue-opal jewelry that popped AND matched her eyes. She looked great.
I continue to think Amanda Seyfried is some sort of magnificent ice alien who left her home planet to come be in Nicholas Sparks adaptations here on Earth. She avoids peaches-and-cream syndrome by choosing cool, silver shades, and this green just barely avoids washing her out, like it just barely avoids looking like bubble wrap.
Helen Mirren, looking like a sparkly cloud, and Christopher Plummer, looking dapper. How much do I love that they came together to the event? I LOVE IT A LOT. (I LIKE MICHAEL FASSBENDER.)
Carey Mulligan, you wore the mullet of dresses, and I will never know why. In cocktail length this would have been adorable. PS, fire the person who told you to bleach out.
This is a dress you wear when you know you will be accepting an award. She looks horrifically uncomfortable in it, but you know, nice dress. (Gold lace is not my thing, but I love that she managed to wear such a skimpy top and not look like mutton-dressed-as-lamb OR like anyone else who has done sheer tops on the red carpet, so she gets a pass.)
I wish ZoÃ« Kravitz had gone full-velvet in this thing, but if she wanted a flattering color on top, she got it, and if she wanted to get attention with the color-blocking, she got it. The lines are clean, and miraculously, so is her hem.
I wanted to like what she wore, whatever it was. Unfortunately, I think someone from my class wore this exact dress to the 10th-grade Winter Formal, and I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it now.
Which is more than Meryl Streep can say. This one is so close to being lovely, but instead of drapey-goddess feel, it just looks like she bought it three sizes too big and forgot to get it taken in. Cinch an inch!
Anika Noni Rose looks a little like a Project Runway challenge where they have to use broken mirrors and an old mother-of-the-bride dress to create a red carpet look. But at least she looks like she won that challenge?
Sigourney Weaver, meanwhile, looks like she’s at a State dinner. She wore a version of this at the Emmys last year and looked amazing, so I’m not sure what happened, but it wasn’t good.
Kate Winslet, tired of pretending her ethereal dresses don’t have more internal architecture than St. Paul’s, just decides to wear the armor on the outside this year.
Rachel McAdams, you are JUST BARELY on this side of “motel bedspread.” You are lucky you are so polished here, is what I’m saying.
Elizabeth Banks (the poor man’s Rachel McAdams?) in the same bridesmaid colors everyone was wearing, but at least it was a flattering shade, has some interesting details, and had no slit. If it didn’t look like it was sliding off her boobs, we might have a winner.
Speaking of things sliding off her boobs:
Charlize. Dude. I can’t even begin with you.
I Just Want To Sit You Down and Ask Why:
The thing is, there’s nothing WRONG with Kristin Stewart’s dress. It’s just that her red-carpet history shows how much she likes funky, short dresses with colorblocking and studs and whatever else you wear when you’re young and mulleted, and here she’s clearly a hostage of some stylist.
Tina Fey: Flat-out hostage.
I was laughing with, not at, ZoÃ« Saladana on this dress, until I realized it had a slit. Lady, if you cannot walk in your enormous Tribble dress, that is no one’s fault but your own.
But she was far from the only one who decided to show a little leg for no reason.
The Family Jewels: a Photo Essay
Anna Kendrick, I cannot believe you blew your awesome fuschia dress already and wore this ridiculous getup to the Oscars. I also cannot believe you chose a dress where the huge slit was accentuated with some Battenburg lace.
Deborah Ann Woll could do so much better than this dress, which washes her out, has a She-Ra belt in the middle, and an unflattering slit up one side. (Also, she should fire her hairdresser; no one should look at someone this beautiful and think, “Is her head really small? What’s going on?”
Technically, this is a gather and not a slit. But I didn’t want to create a whole “I Laughed Out Loud” category, so I put this here.
Wait, yes I do.
I Laughed Out Loud:
It’s a satin bedsheet with a tiara around it. I don’t even know what to say. I want to like it for being different, but in that color, the dress looks flat-out cheap. I mean, it looks like they didn’t even flatten the seams on this thing.
Look, full marks to Diane Kruger, because she took a chance. And that chance is ugly. Game played, game lost.
Vera Farmiga, here photographed being eaten by a sea anemone.
Virginia Madsen, ibid.
Maggie Gyllenhaal, landing on the other side of the “motel bedspread” line. The line is thin, but oh, it’s important.
And just an example of what’s missing from this year:
Cameron Diaz now:
Cameron Diaz in 2002:
I loved her in 2002. Sure, her hair was a mess and the outfit was a little weird, but it looked like she had put it together herself because she really liked it, and there was no one else on the carpet who would have worn it. I’m not endorsing the return of Uma Thurman’s milkmaid dress or anything, but when I saw this year’s picture of Cameron, it was a thumbnail, and until I clicked it I had no idea who it was, because it could have been almost anyone. Awkwaaaard.