Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Golden Globes 2012 Best Dressed

Dear Kristin,
Let's start with some pretty disappointments:

Pleasant enough.  Jessica Chastain in Givenchy; Emma Stone in Lanvin; Michelle Williams in Jason Wu
So-so.  Pretty but disappointing.  I have my reasons here.  My reason--high hopes.  I expected a lot from these three ladies.  And then they all looked nice, take it or leave it nice.  But perhaps Emma Stone knew better than to go bigger. I can't fault her for that.  She wasn't up for an award; she was an ensemble girl dressed for the occasion--to support her ensemble and the women in her ensemble (The Help) who were up for awards.  This dress isn't a show stopper, doesn't scream for the attention reserved for nominees, but it's not exactly boring either.  I get it.  I wanted more, but she knew better.  She wore something with an eagle on it and was happy to remain in the background.

Jessica Chastian, one of those aforementioned Help nominees, should have fought harder for the spotlight Emma gave up.  Sure, she probably knew she wouldn't win.  Probably actively wanted her Help costar Octavia Spencer to win, because Jessica is nice and Octavia is wonderful in the film (though Jessica was no slouch herself; she was nearly unrecognizable).  Still, this was Jessica's year (with something like 6 new films) and it could still have been her night, even without a statue.

Michelle Williams has absolutely no excuse.  She was expected to win, did win, and for playing Marilyn Monroe at that.  Marilyn Monroe.  There is no better opportunity to go big.

Natalie Portman in Lanvin; Reese Witherspoon in Zac Posen; Angelina Jolie in Atelier Versace
Boring But.  This bunch all looked lovely, did a nice job of showcasing their finest assets, of which they have many, but again, the gowns themselves are lukewarm.  I was able to stream the red carpet in the UK by essentially camping out with the paparazzi.  There was a lot of shouting.  A lot of "CLEAR THE BACKGROUND!"  Natalie Portman radiated personality, despite the screaming, begging photographers.  "PLEASE!  Si'l vous plat! To your right! Over your shoulder! One more! Fix the train!  One more!  CLEAR THE DAMN BACKGROUND."  She was thrilled to be there, laughed and waved and silently squealed when Meryl Streep wanted to take a couple's picture with her.  So what if she might have been headed to the prom.

Angelina Jolie, too, was shockingly poised and casual, even to the tune of the photog's screams of bloody murder.  She has an active face that, although it doesn't show in the above photo, reflects something of a personality.  Also, my goodness, that gown flatters.  Perhaps I'm just used to seeing her in caftans, so anything that hugs the body delights me, but I couldn't believe that waist.

Same, too, of Reese Witherspoon.  The curves.  The accentuated, accented hips and bust.  She looked hot, if not especially original.  And that, actually, was a trend of the evening: holy smokes bodies.  There was a lot of body conscious dressing going on, a lot of hotness on display.

Tilda in Haider Ackermann; Andrea Riseborough (with Madonna) in Vivienne Westwood (stylebistro photo).
Originals.  At least they're going for it, making it new, interesting.  Tilda's hair is a masterpiece.  I saw her and thought immediately of sculpture, of actual art.  And that, I suspect, is what she's always going for.  Fashion as art.  And then there was Andrea Riseborough--from Madonna's film WE, hence the Madonna clutching--who probably looks amazing.  Who's dress and general styling is both gorgeous and interesting.  Probably.  There isn't one picture of her without Madonna at her side, obscuring the dress in all its possibilities--maybe she's a princess Alice in Wonderland or maybe she's a doily.  We'll never know.  UPDATE:  Or will we?  (Why on earth didn't this get her more attention, good or bad?)

Julianna Marguiles in Naeem Khan; Nicole Richie in Julien Macdonald; Julie Bowen in Reem Acra
Good Girls.  I just thought they looked shimmery and sweet, without being over-the-top about it.  No tooth ache, nothing saccharine.  Julianna's dress is one I'd borrow and wear, Nicole's dress I'd borrow and want to wear, but wouldn't (due the thin material's hugging at the hips), and Julie's dress I couldn't pull off.  Or take myself seriously in.  I'm not Mandy Moore and neither is Julie; still, she manages to make it work with help from her styling.  It might have been a bit too young for her on the hanger, but the retro curls and classic, fresh face helped mature the look.

Viola Davis in Pucci; Laura Dern Andrew GN; Bérénice Bejo in Gucci
 Almost Perfect.  These colors are perfection.  The fit is right.  And they all seemed genuinely delighted to be there.  Viola Davis has really been knocking me out lately.  She's never looked better or happier.  And yet...the high hopes.  I wanted more POW.  I wanted something memorable.  I was saying to my mom last night that, with just one exception, I probably won't remember any of these dresses a year from now.  Granted, that's a high bar.  My memory isn't great and it's just The Golden Globes.  But I remember Anne Hathaway's copper-plated gown from last year, as well as Angelina's old-fashioned, poofy-shouldered, sparkly number of the same vein.  I wanted that from Viola and all she gave me was sexy.

Laura Dern's dress perhaps suffered from being another green sparkly dress against Angelina's previous one.  It is the dress from last Sunday that I'd borrow before all others.  But if I had to choose between her green and Angelina's green, I'd choose Angelina's.  I also wonder, too, if perhaps this dress was too young for her.  Like, if Jessica Chastain had worn this instead, would it have been my number favorite?  Maybe.  Laura looks fantastic, her body is the tops, but she hasn't totally sold me on it.  Finally, quickly, Berenice Bejo.

For comparison's sake.  Berenice Bejo in The Artist.
The color, again, cannot be beat.  But the skirt reminds me of layered silk curtains and something from the sea.  She looks great, but there's nothing of her personality in the dress and her makeup is kinda lackluster.  She is so alive in The Artist.  So full of luster!  No, this isn't her coming out dress--we'll just have to hope she takes full advantage of The Oscars.

Top 3:

Charlize Theron in Dior.  Close ups and different angles.
And yet, I would never borrow Charlize's dress.  It's a major dress.  That's why I like it. But I could never carry it.  She can carry it--but should she?  Yes, it's pink with a train and she's wearing a headband.  On me, too adorable.  On Charlize, with a face like that--a perfect, icy face --it strikes a nice balance.  This is an awards dress. 

Shailene Woodley in Marchesa.  Close ups.  Sadly, there is a whiff of bathing-suit-tan-line. 
I really wish newcomer Shailene Woodley had gotten a bit more attention for this lavender gown.  It's divine and to watch it move on TV--really the best and most effortless any Marchesa gown has looked in a long while.  The pictures do not do it justice.

And, finally:

A little sass on the side. Nicole Kidman in Versace.  Various angles well worth your time.  And a large close up.
(Photo from stylebistro.)
The Best.  Nicole Kidman in something spectacular.  It's interesting without being only interesting or only art, without it, as the fashion folk say, wearing her.  The details are incredible.  Her body is, suddenly, incredible.  The color against her hair and skin, incredible.  Even the back, although there are no great pictures of it, is incredible.  All the stops.  She pulled out every stop and could not have looked better.  This is the only Golden Globes dress I'll remember a year from now.
Group hug.  Charlize, Nicole, and Shailene.  All Golden Globe photos, unless noted otherwise, from and

J. Benny

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