City of Os-cars, Are You Dressing Just for Me?

Written by Lindsay Scouras

Well people, here we are – the end of award show season. AKA, when I sink fully into my seasonal depression (I’m kidding… sort of). Award shows are pretty much the only good thing about the winter in these parts, and now it’s over 😭 What will I do with all my free time?!

This one was tough for me because more than ever, I really have hardly seen any of the movies. As I’ve mentioned, life on an island is tricky for many reasons, and for a pop culture addict like myself, it’s hard to take in all of the year’s cinematic masterpieces when you have two theaters with one screen each, and film like Moonlight plays exactly TWO times, one of those being at 4 P.M. on a Thursday.

So as usual, I was relying on the fashions to get me through. And unfortunately, I was a little disappointed with last night’s turnout. A lot of safe looks, neutral colors, and… velvet? (My fifth-grade self is overjoyed at this turn of events.)

Someone else who is feeling a little down today? I’m guessing the entire cast of La La Land (one of the films I was actually able to see!). And also Moonlight, for missing out on their moment a bit. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, well, I’m kind of not sure how you got to the blog, but welcome! And if you do know what I’m talking about and want to hear more, you can listen to the podcast that Bowen and I recorded this morning breaking down all the events of last night’s telecast. But ’round these parts we focus on fashion, so here we go!

Like I said, I was a little bummed out by the lack of risks/innovation/color last night, but these ladies stood out as my best of the best. You might not know who Auli’i Cravalho is yet (I certainly didn’t when she arrived on the red carpet early in the evening) but you probably know her voice from Moana. And of of last night, you know her as the sixteen year-old performer who got hit in the face with a flag during her performance in front of like a billion people and totally kept her cool. I will now know her as the girl that could save Hollywood. I mean she is talented and gorgeous and full of class. Help us, Auli’i, you’re our only hope (until Bey and Amal’s twins grow up, of course). I think she looks so beautiful in this white gown. The metallic accents and uneven layers keep it from going “bridal” and girl already has a killer posing arm going on. Live long and prosper. A big winner of the night (finally!) was Viola Davis, who was the only person to sport a color that I really loved. Seriously, I have never see anyone who can dress like a primary crayon and look so damn good. It’s a classic shape, but the halter and sleeves keep it a fresh and different. The Queen of the red carpet for me was most definitely Taraji P. Henson. Cookie slayed from the second she left the limo – between the hair, the slit, the cleavage – and everything just worked for her. Taraji knows exactly how to walk that fine line of sexy vs. skanky, and I was so happy to see that she left her juvenile Grammy look behind for Hollywood’s biggest night. Finally, one of the big winners of the evening was Emma Stone, in more ways than one. If you ask me, she either knew she was going to win or believes in fashion osmosis, and that by dressing the part of a lady Oscar statue, she in turn took home the gold. Just one of my many conspiracy theories for the evening, but you can’t deny that girl looks good. If I had to change one thing (and it’s just a very small one thing), I would say that I wish this gown was a slightly different tone, because I think this color is a little too close to her skin and washes her out a bit. Maybe a more yellow-y gold (I mean, she wore head-to-toe chartreuse last year) or if this had been done in like, a pewter color – that would have been amazing. But her hair and makeup has never looked better.

These ladies are my second in line for being the belles of the ball. I don’t know why Karlie Kloss is there (requisite millennial to show how young/hip the Academy thinks they are?) but she is essentially the only person that can get away with this style of dress. You have to have like one percent body fat and no boobs to even look at this on the hanger. I would like to give her the award for best use of an ACLU ribbon – the blue really pops against the white, as does having it displayed on her protruding hipbone. Ava Duvernay should get some sort of award for looking this amazing less than 48 hours after returning from New Zealand (where my girl Reese was as well). This dress is not only beautifully-crafted, but was created by a Muslim designer in Lebanon. Activism looks darn good on her. I can’t believe that on Saturday I was watching a tween Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit on AMC and on Sunday I was literally bowing down in front of my television for her. This dress is just perfect for her – it’s age appropriate without being immature, and the oh-so dramatic makeup and hair keeps it from going too foo-foo. And Octavia Spencer… I feel like you kind of have to dress like a queen with the name Octavia. I don’t know what to call this color, but it’s just the right shade that keeps it from resembling dirty bath water. Feathers were forecasted to be a big trend for the evening, and Octavia delivered with this fluttery number. I’m not the biggest fan of the top, it’s a little mother-of-the-bride for me, but I think it balanced out the skirt just fine.

Overall, I like the ensembles in the category but… well, let’s start with Teresa Palmer. First of all, who is she and why did someone let her ruin a perfectly good metallic dress with an ugly belt? (Apparently, belts are in too, FYI.) And I don’t know exactly what it is, but I don’t think there is a good boob situation going on here. Like I think the top of this dress is ill-designed (despite the fact that it’s Prada). I did look her up on Instagram and she had a baby like ten weeks ago so you can’t really fault her for anything, can you? Another hot mom in the mix is the always beautiful Halle Berry, who broke records winning her own Oscar in 2002 so you know that she just didn’t give an EFF and will show up however she damn well pleases. I am all for big hair, but this is like, really big. Like Sideshow Bob big. It’s totally distracting and frankly hides a lot of her beautiful face/skin/eternal youth. I like this gown, sorta. I think it’s very flattering, and I wish that I could have seen this top and this bottom as their own dresses because these two were not made for each other. And the bottom part of the black tulle that just is left there, limp and lifeless… no. Just no. Olivia Culpo was one of the quasi-celebrities that E! managed to convince to appear on one of their many several hours of pre-show programming, and they went into this whole story with a video montage of how this dress was made and even though it’s Marchesa it’s somehow also made by Stella Artois, and I don’t know how but they give people clean drinking water when they make beer, so props. I think this dress is gorgeous; it is an engineering masterpiece. So why, WHY would you ruin it with those slicked-to-your-forehead side bangs?! During the pre-show I swear there was one baby bang that was trying to jump ship to the side it rightfully belonged to. It was so distracting, I kept smudging my screen as if I could push it out of the way myself. BTW, the black ribbon was an add-on, and I’m not sure if it’s a necessary one at that. In a world full of beige (I’m coming for you, Kidman), I love that we have a Janelle Monae. She is so kooky and weird but gorgeous and I kind of love her (but could not tell you one song she sings). Yes, this look is crazy, and no, I would never wear it. It’s got everything – a belt, tulle side panels, a Grecian-style headband, strategically-placed appliques. Girl just kept piling it on. But seriously, I found the majority of the red carpet to be so boring, this was almost like a breath of fresh air, and I don’t think anyone else there could wear anything like this other than her.

Okay, here’s where we make a pit-stop in Dulls-ville. I’m not complaining, everyone looks pretty but… there’s just something missing with all of these. When I saw Felicity Jones take to the carpet, I could only see her head, which I swear was just floating around as if detached from her body. Turns out it was just another flesh-toned dress, yawn. I also felt that this was very ill-fitting. Felicity is a tiny British nymph, and something about the cut of this dress made her look much wider than she actually is. Isabelle Huppert looked beautiful (and also mad, but also French), but I felt like she thought all of this was beneath her the whole night. I never saw her smile once… granted, she didn’t win, but still. I don’t mind this dress, and I think it looks great on her… but man, these hanging belts are really killing me. Nicole Kidman has made vast improvements from her other appearances on the red carpet this year (like hey what’s up hello) so I guess it’s okay that this one is kind of boring. But like, could this have been any other color than Nicole Kidman-pinky beige? Also those circular designs are a little hypnotize-y. Whatever, it’s fine, I’ll take it. I am pretty bummed about this Chrissy Teigen look. I kind of don’t get it. The top part was almost like a different color square panel in the middle with tiny bedazzled fireworks on it. There was a cape, there was a front arm sash (just one though), there was (shocker!) a belt, a very high slit, more firework jewels… and the most boring hair to boot. It just wasn’t one of my favorites on her.

I mean, if you wear an all-black dress on the red carpet are you even really trying? Kate McKinnon seems to be suffering from what I call Kristen Wiig Syndrome – a really fun person who wears really boring gowns at award shows. Do you think it’s because so much of their personalities are brought out by wigs and prosthetic noses? Like this is fine, but nothing to write home about. I know that Michelle Williams is a Louis V darling, but I find her to be very hit-or-miss with fashion (she’s a pretty reliable one good year, one bad year type of gal). This dress is literally nothing special – I repeat, nothing. In fact, Emma Roberts showed up in virtually the same thing but didn’t look like a grandmother. And I really miss Michelle’s longer pixie. Again, the hair, the skin, the skirt – everything is the same color and all of it is blah. Salma Hayek is another one I just don’t understand. Did you know that her husband is the CEO of a company that owns Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Gucci, and Saint Laurent Paris? So why on earth doesn’t she dress better? This is literally a really long negligee over the highest of high-waisted briefs. And the jeweled headbands – I can’t. As discussed, Emma Roberts was basically twinning it with Michelle Williams (hopefully unintentionally, but hey, one never knows). I think I like this version better because it’s not so old looking, despite being vintage. The boob area is very small so I was a little nervous about that, but overall I think this is a much better-executed look than the previous. But the Jessica Rabbit hair? Eesh. If we could just go back to this, that would be great. Finally, Alicia Vikander, who is one of those award show darlings that I just do not understand. She has the body of a Chinese gymnast, and yet she always somehow ends up in very heavy looks that totally overwhelm her small frame (I will never forget that freakin’ daffodil bubble hem from last year). She looks like a really boring version of the flamenco dancer Emoji with hair that she just like, what – tied up after leaving the gym? But don’t worry guys, she managed to throw on probably a million dollars worth of diamonds to really tie the whole look together.

When weird dresses attack! Seriously, I don’t know what to say here. Again, prefacing this with the fact that all these women are gorgeous and sometimes there is a just something that doesn’t work. But you can see the vision and get that it was going somewhere, and then you just feel bad that the people that tell them how good they look are being paid handsomely to do so. Leslie Mann could not be missed in this highlighter yellow number, complete with bunches and ties and well… that’s pretty much it. But it’s a lot. It kinda reminds me of a homemade costume for a community theater production of Beauty and the Beast. If she’s gunning for a role in the remake, someone may want to let her know that ship has sailed. It’s strange though – there’s something about this that I actually like and I want it to succeed. I want this dress to be one of those Project Runway challenges where they have to make a bad dress into a good one. Also it’s a bit much for presenter, no? Jessica Biel has never been at the top of any of my lists (yes I know it’s not ethical but I just can’t explain why I don’t like her and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). Gold sequins and red carpets go together like Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling… so why doesn’t this work? Well, let’s start with the fact that she looks like she came straight from a drag production of The Lion King, where she may have been actually mauled by someone named Tigress. If you take off the necklace and leave the sequins in tact, this has some semblance of a beautiful dress. Unfortunately, it’s been destroyed. I want to like Kirsten Dunst’s look, after all, she’s kind of been out of the spotlight for a while. This dress is fine (albeit kind of boring and old for her) and the choker is to die for, but the hair is so messy and disheveled, it totally throws off the kind of old-Hollywood class that I assume she was going for (I mean, she is wearing a close-toed shoe). The proportions are very odd here, with the waist so small and all the extra fabric at the skirt… and are we done with this high-low hem thing yet? Speaking of high-low – how is one supposed to understand their feelings about Naomi Harris’ look? So beautiful from the top up, the dress fits like a dream, it has just enough trendy items (a cape! underboob cutout!), and then… a pencil skirt? Like, what am I looking at here? And I’m sorry, I know it’s intentional but the mismatched jewels on the shoes are really throwing me for a loop (but I appreciate the pop of color). STOP TOYING WITH MY EMOTIONS, NAOMI. Don’t we get enough of that with Moonlight?!

I’m running out of steam to describe how celebrities almost nail it and then something goes wrong. Charlize Theron has always been a picture of cool style, and this dress could be great, but I wish the metallic skewed more gold instead of green. Also, you can’t tell in this photo, but her hair is very well-styled in the front and then it’s a ponytail in the back. They didn’t even wrap the hair tie! AAAARRGGGH. It’s literally infuriating. Also hi, sorry – the top on this doesn’t fit. Ginnifer Go0dwin was having a tough time with the very recent passing of her Big Love co-star Bill Paxton… so I think I’m going to leave this one alone for now. It’s a great color. That is all. Brie Larson really confused me here. She was so bright and vibrant and fresh last year, and now she’s like, a blondie zombie version of Angelina Jolie. This dress is nice (I think?) but it’s very dark (black velvet will do that to ya) and quite Elvira-esque. The blank stare doesn’t help. And Giuliana Rancic… there’s a lot of folds here, huh? (That’s literally all I have.) Also I hate dresses that need choreography in order to show how they’re “supposed” to look on the red carpet. If you can’t sit, stand, walk up the stairs, walk down a carpet, or dine at In N Out Burger with it… pick something else.

And finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for – the worst dressed of the evening (yes, we’re horrible people – please stay as long as you like, you are among friends). Ruth Negga was the first person I saw on the red carpet and I was afraid that the whole evening was shot. She is so beautiful, why, oh why, did she choose to dress like a harlequin from a Civil War movie? I know I said I love red at award shows… well maybe i should have been more specific. She literally looks like she’s on fire, and not in a good way. And I hate that her earrings, headband (again, ick), and lipstick are all in competing shades of crimson. Nothing goes and I’m dying. There goes Priyanka Chopra again, showing up at things. Bowen and I have this theory that she should only do hair commercials, as we feel her acting is subpar and I don’t know a single person that watches Quantico (but who knows, maybe our minds and hearts will be swayed by her upcoming role in… the Baywatch reboot?). Again, a beautiful girl who didn’t do herself any favors by wearing what is basically the underside of your Nana’s quilt to the Oscars. This pattern hurts me in more ways than one. Another pattern-offender is Scarlett Johansson. I don’t even know how to describe what is happening on this dress, I just know all of it’s bad and a studded biker belt doesn’t help. And like Charlize’s dress, the top does not fit. Is there like, some kind of tailoring shortage in Hollywood right now?! Finally, my worst of the worst, so bad your grandma doesn’t even want it: Dakota Johnson. The sheen of this hurts my eyes, and the crotch bow is abhorrently dreadful. I feel like I have to use words like that because I believe she stole this straight from Maggie Smith’s bedroom in Downtown Abbey. In what stratosphere is this a good color on anyone? Don’t worry guys – she accessorized with a big fat chintzy necklace over the neck ruffle. Now it’s all okay. EXCEPT NONE OF THIS WAS EVER OKAY. I can’t.

And there you have it! Thank you so much to everyone who followed along with me this award show season. I know there’s a lot happening out there right now, and in no way am I saying that any of this is more important than what’s going on in our country and the fight that is being fought every single day. But if I can provide even a little bit of a temporary distraction from all the crazy, well then… that’s what it’s all for. And also because I like it and it’s fun and if I hold the snark in I may just poison myself from the inside, ‘kay?

Until next time,

L

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