The Academy Awards are a lot like Christmas: weeks of advertising and anticipation create unrealistic expectations that are often unfulfilled. There’s too much buzz and not enough honey. Just weeks later, both events seem like much ado about nothing. If asked, most of us would be hard pressed to recall who got, didn’t get or gave what to whom.
Although the Academy made a concerted effort to engage a more youthful audience this year, the show managed to alienate its target market and the other demographic in decidedly democratic fashion. Depite Hathaway’s desperate-to-please exertions and Franco’s easy-to-please persona, the lacklustre awards show was almost entirely devoid of entertainment value. The only ones who appeared to have a good time were the shameless self promoting, Hathaway, Hathaway’s mother, cringe-worthy Kirk and the“f-bombing” Kirk-flirting, Michelle Leo. Franco’s grandmother contributed a lewd “Marky Mark” remark, thus establishing the event’s inelegant tone. Betty White must’ve had another gig that night. By comparison, British bad boy Russell Brand, seemed almost erudite. James Franco in full monty Marilyn drag – not so much.
Note to Academy Award producers: consider Bullock and Baldwin for co-hosts next year. They’ve got taste, timing and talent. Alec is fifty, which is the new forty and forty something Sandra – fresh off her Jesse James debacle – is America’s forever young sweetheart . B&B have got all the right, visual and visceral stuff, if you ask me.:
If the Oscars are a celebration of performing excellence, shouldn’t actors be prepared to perform an acceptance speech? A plethora of premilinary award shows give nominees plenty of practice. So, acting surprised, then humble, undeserving, then entitled – “you love me, you really love me” – shouldn’t be a stretch of their skill set. Pretending is what actors do best. If they’re not blessed with Colin Firth‘s unaffected eloquence, they should pretend to be.
Note to Michelle Leo: The reason “Kate made it look so #@(%$# easy” is because she didn’t pretend to be unprepared. And she didn’t show up in an Elvis inspired number. I expected Michelle to take Best Supporting Actress for her knock out appearance in The Fighter. And she’s following that up with a killer, one – two Mildred Pierce punch. But her “f word” faux pas dragged an already struggling show into the gutter. Next time – and yes, I predict a future best actress win – Michelle should think gorgeous, Grace Kelly style thoughts and say gracious, Kate Winslet words.
Because, for better or worse, the AA’s are as much about feminine form and fashion as they are about film. For better or worse, the lasting impressions are red carpet ones, referenced more by who wore what when, then who won what then. To whit, these memorable images:
2001 Julia Roberts made her single, most glamorous appearance in a flawless, vintage Valentino. This year, Reese Witherspoon copycatted that look to, arguably, less successful effect.
2002 Halle Berry stole men’s hearts and Adrian Brody’s mind with her transparent, Elie Saab tissue wrapped torso.
2005 Cate Blanchett, the “I never wear yellow” uber actress looked entirely edible with buttery tresses in custom, custard colour couture. Ever elegant, Blanchett accented her silk Valentino with an aubergine sash and a dazzling, diamond corsage.
2007 Penelope Cruz traded her sizzling, Spanish siren look for a pretty in pink, princess persona with a many tiered, melt-in-your-mouth, Atelier Versace confection.
2009 All eyes were on Angelina Jolie who was all about emeralds. Her dress played only a supporting role to the 65 carat ring and staggeringly beautiful, unembellished, 115 carat emerald drop earrings by Lorraine Schwartz. Jolie didn’t take a second little gold man home – she already has one and a big, gold Brad – but she scored a remarkable, red carpet coup. In dreams such jems may come.
2011 This year’s singular style moment was owned by the suddenly svelte, still shrinking, Jennifer Hudson. Taking the stage in a tangerine dream dress, Hudson’s award presentation got lost in her startling transition from the big girl with a big voice to this stunning, style contender. In 2007 the first time actor won a Best Supporting Oscar for best film theft; she managed to steal every scene and song from industry favourite, Beyonce. Later, as Louise from St. Louis – Carrie Bradshaw’s Louis renting assistant – she stole the SATC carpet out from under Sarah Jessica Parker. But Hudson couldn’t compete with her co-stars on the red carpet. While performance critics sang her praises, red carpet style critics condemned her fashion sense. Her first Oscar appearance, in a brown jersey gown and stiff, Star Wars style shrug, drew scathing critcism from the press. One critic cruelly compared the actress to a baked potato. But that was then. What a difference hundreds of days make.Today, JH can give SJP a run for her vintage Halston money.
The Dreamgirls star – who didn’t get marquee billing on the film – looked every inch the dream girl this year, Regrettably, she didn’t contribute to the evening’s musical program. We got mediocre Mandy, sentimental Celine and guitar strumming, Gwyneth. Paltrow may be Country Strong but that ain’t strong enough to share a stage with Dion.Wondering if Hudson lose her voice when she lost half her body weight? Don’t bet on it. With a new album about to be released, the triple threat – singer, actress, spokesperson – is sure to have more surprises up her nouveau chic sleeve.
Its a new dawn, its a new day ,its a new life for Jennifer and she’s feelin’ goood! So, I suspect, is Weight Watchers; they never had it so good. With thirty six weeks before Christmas – and more until the Oscars – it can be a new dawn and a new day and a new waist for you, too. So don’t just dream, girl. Its time to start feelin’ good!