Saturday, March 3, 2012

2012 Oscar Barrage

Dear Jamie,

I squealed when I saw this. Jackson laughed because, really, it's just a girl in a dress. But it was a colorful dress. Red, orange, coral, everywhere in-between. The exact color hardly matters. It was playful and girlish without being too girly or saccharine. Michelle Williams, my constant sartorial disappointment, was a vision:

Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton.  She should smile with her teeth more, yes?

And then there's the besties thing:


Which gets me every time:


Yes, the night was dull.  Yes, it was a letdown.  But it always is.  What I mean is, my hopes are always so high, it's bound to be a letdown of sorts.  Oscars, as I said to Jackson the other night, is the best night of the year.  I actually said that.  It's an exaggeration in a lot of ways, not least of all because, as he pointed out, all of December is essentially my best night of the year.  I really do miss the holidays all year.  But I miss the Oscars all year, too--partially because of the expectations and the impossibly high hopes.  Of what could be.  No, my jaw never fell open at the sight of the perfect girl in the perfect dress.  But it did smile (can jaws smile?) at seeing a few girls do something they wouldn't normally do.  Like wearing a polkadotted vintage Dior gown, for instance:

A siren.  This would be my favorite even, were it not for the fact that in about 50% of the photos it looks slightly creased and ill-fitting in the waist and bust.  In this 50%, her hair also looks unwashed.  In the other 50%, though, it's fine and pretty.  (Vanity Fair Italia.)

Cannot date this photo.  Classic.
This isn't even their best shot.

And smiling with their teeth.  Next up, Rose Byrne's back and blunt bob:

In Vivienne Westwood.  Gorgeous, interesting, but maybe not enough sparkle for all the sparkle.  Not enough umph.

No smile.  Really ever.  (Though she obviously has a sense of humor about her.)

Another gal who refuses Oscar happiness:

Rooney Mara in Givenchy Couture. This is as close as she came to a facial reflection of inner happiness.  The verdict is still out on her sense of humor.

Who also has a serious face.  Heck of a serious face.  Serious in that it's amazing and serious in that it does not feel joy.  I am in love with this face.  It's made for silent films and black and white photography--the kind that required you to sit still for minutes--older then old Hollywood.  With all the potential of Tilda Swinton's.  There's so much to work with.  But, sadly, I can't get over her self-proclaimed aloofness.  Tilda does not have this problem:

Clooney speaks until 0:55. Things pick up with Christopher Plummer and Fassbender AND THEN TILDA.  On commodification and thingness.  Yup. (Love how Charlize closes it, too.  AND ALL THE FASSBENDER TOUCHING.)

I'd happily be stuck next to Tilda on a transatlantic flight.  Rooney and I, on the other hand, we would not speak.  Though I would absolutely spy on her reading habits.

Speaking of new girls with wondrous, fine faces, I have my preference:

Jessica Chastain wore Alexander McQueen and couldn't have been more thrilled.

And that preference is Jessica Chastain and how tickled pink she is to be there, to be invited, and how she doesn't care who knows it.  JESSICA FOR THE (LIFE) WIN! 

So, redheads did a good job last weekend:

Emma Stone in Giambattista Valli.

When asked why she picked the dress, she said, "it's fushia and there's a bow" and then proceeded to poof said bow.  I like that her reasons were so simple and obvious.  You didn't even need to ask.  We would be friends with her.

I like the dress a good deal.  Its fushianess was somewhat lost depending on the angle and photo flash and, sure, it's very similar to Nicole Kidman's Balenciaga from 2007, but Emma carries it.  Really well, in fact.  Furthermore, I appreciate that she enjoyed it enough to wear it despite Nicole's already having done a redish dress with a face bow.  There's no way that wasn't brought up by her stylist/people as a consideration.  And she said to heck with it.  Still, I preferred her second look of the night.  It's black, but it's Chanel Couture, meaning it is not boring.  Not in the least:

Emma Stone in Chanel Couture. 
Could command a room.
 I want to describe it for you, but you can see it for yourself, and I'm not sure what I would say anyway.  An almost column dress with organza strips, see-through panels, faux-peplum and brooched shoulders?  Oh, it's sleeveless?  This is the night's only dress that looked like art to me. My second favorite.

There were other afterparty looks I loved, that I might have flipped and screamed and made a scene over had they made a televised appearance.  And so begins my barrage of post-Oscar favorites:

Diane Kruger in slightly transparent Calvin Klein. 

Kate Bosworth in a Prabal Gurung covered in the most luxurious, liquid tar.  Spider-web delicate.

Teeth!  Pink lips!  Romance! 

A lot of bosom.  Amy Adams in Vivienne Westwood.  Superhero sexy.

Goodness she looks fun.  In all the party photos I clicked through--hundreds and hundreds, sadly--she was the only one who made me stop and wonder about the conversation, the joke, the secrets that were being shared.  If pictures are any indication, she was the life of the party (with but one exception--more on that later).

Elizabeth Banks, though, was the most triumphantly daring (meaning her dare payed off) in her choice of dress:

Elizabeth Banks in Chadwick Bell

Oscar night needs all the dare it can get.  It's very elegant lady-creature of the sea, no?  But she looks beautiful in blue and green and spots, it fits her perfectly, and is conservative in all the ways it must be with that kind of pattern and punch.  The dress was loud, everything else was simple.

And, finally, my girl of the evening, Gwyneth.  I know you hate her, but no one was more fully on last Sunday than Gwyneth.  Both on the red carpet:

Real women wear capes.  Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford.

Where she seemed to be having a lovely time among friends and godfathers:

Almost related.  Steven Spielberg and Gwyneth Paltrow.

And at the Vanity Fair shindig:

A Gwyneth grin.

Where she looked as if she couldn't be happier or more at home:

Marching on in.  Gold Jimmy Choos.
Laughing with/at Steve Martin and Martin Short.

This party was her party and she didn't even star in a movie this year*, let alone earn a nomination.

*Though she did have a glorified/gruesome cameo in Contagion

J. Benny

P.S.  The afterparties really did look boozy and fun:
Zoe and Cisely Saldana.  (Photo from Vanity Fair.)

All photos from unless noted otherwise.

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