In Hollywood they often say that hosting the Academy Awards is the most thankless job. I think producing it has to be up there as well.
The producers are charged with giving us a show that entertains everyone in the world — every demographic, every age group. We want a glimpse into who these industry stars really are — but please: don’t take too long. Make it funny! But make it snappy. We want glamour, but no big production numbers, please. We can’t wait to hear what the winners have to say — as long as they agree with us and our political opinions. We really do want to know what it takes to be the best at the things we don’t understand; educate us, but don’t you dare school us. Cliff notes, please.
We want you to honor every single person who passed away last year, but again: we don’t have all night.
So, yeah: they failed.
They fail every year, because we all have a platform (so speaketh the person typing this for her own benefit), and we aren’t afraid to use it.
So I will be kind, because I know it is an impossible job.
The setting was stunning. Really: I want to have a party there. And Regina King’s walk into the show set us up for drama and glamour. Which we got — but not always how we’d liked to have had it.
I got a few texts during the show about how long it was taking. Keep in mind that they saved time in a ton of ways: having each presenter do two awards was smart. A more intimate venue meant walks were shorter (although I do miss the audience reaction shots). They didn’t show the songs or lots of movie clips or have any production numbers. Those last three things were negatives, IMO, even if they saved time.
The producers said they wanted to make the show more approachable to a younger generation. Ok. But if you want Gens Y and Z to pay attention, do it on the screen in their hands. Those cool personal tidbits about all the nominees, like about first jobs and favorite movies growing up? Release those as Insta stories or Tik Toks during the days leading up. Appeal to the college students studying to be cinematographers or actors or costume designers. And while I think it’s awesome to get the next generation involved, you can’t do it at the expense of the mainstays (like 50 something me).
A big complaint every year? The speeches. Every year I know my favorite speeches will not be form the big stars, but from the new people, who are so damn happy to be there. This year, two of the best speeches went to best supporting winners , Yuh-Jung Youn and Daniel Kaluuya. They were funny and sweet and gracious and grateful. Yuh-Jung Youn won hearts by both flirting with Brad Pitt and shaking her fingers at the many, many people who have butchered her name over the years. Kaluuya was joyful and his speech bounced around from exclamations of celebration to thankfulness for his parents for having sex. Watching his mom’s face when he said that? Priceless. That must’ve been a fun phone call later!
I wept when best international feature, Thomas Vinterberg, talked about Ida, his 19 year old daughter killed in a car accident days before shooting of the film began. It made me even more determined to see this movie, . Not seeing it was my one pre-Oscar regret I had.
Tyler Perry pulled no punches, saying what many have said, and what I firmly believe: “I refuse to hate someone because they’re Mexican or because they are black or white, or LGBTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they’re a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian. I would hope we would refuse hate.”
He dedicated the award “to anyone who wants to stand in the middle, no matter what’s around the walls. Stand in the middle, because that’s where healing happens. That’s where conversation happens. That’s where change happens.”
The “In Memoriam” part is always controversial, as someone is always left out (this year Naya Rivera and Jessica Walter were the big omissions to most people). They tried to do a lot of people — but sadly, they went so fast many people, including my husband, complained they couldn’t read the names fast enough. This portion should be stately, not speedy. And coming on the heels of a year steeped in loss around the world, it made me uncomfortable. Were we skimming through this moment to replicate the many missed memorials and funerals last year? Is that a feeling we really want to replicate?
Looking away from what was, and looking towards what can be, Frances McDormand made a lovely speech when accepting the Best Picture award as a producer of Nomadland: “Please, watch our movie on the largest screen possible,” she said. “And one day, very, very soon, take everyone you know into a theater, shoulder to shoulder, in that dark space, and watch every film that is represented here tonight.”
I, for one, am very much looking forward to watching a movie in the theater again — even if it means I have to put on a bra.
Ok: enough chit chat. Let’s look at some pictures!
We might as well start with the biggest controversy — Best Actor. If you recall, I, like the rest of the world, thought Chadwick Bozeman was a lock — but I said Anthony Hopkins was brilliant (he was — and The Father was better than Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, IMO). Oscar was so sure that they changed the lineup and put Best Actor last. I actually had to rewind the show, sure I had somehow missed something when they announced Best Picture (they won’t make that mistake again). Anyway. Hopkins won best actor, but he wasn’t there so pics of his outfit (but google his acceptance speech released the next morning. Class). Here are our Best Actors in their finery:
Gary Oldman had fun with his ruffled blue shirt, Steven Yeun looked dapper (as expected), and Riz Ahmed looks yummy. The black turtleneck with the navy suit is fantastic.
I picked Viola Davis to win this one, but she lost to Frances McDormand — but not in the fashion wars. Some of the best and worst looks of the night were in this category. Frances McDormand didn’t walk the red carpet, so there are no great pics of her — but that hair. For the love of God. That’s Pandemmy hair all right. Couldn’t someone hand her a comb? Viola Davis looks stunning, as always. But Id didn’t love the hair with it. Vanessa Kirby looks dreadful. The dress washes her out, and the goth makeup looks like something she might have worn to piss off her mom in high school. Andra Day was close to greatness (and not just with the nomination). The dress needed to be tailored. Wanna see how to glow in gold? Carey Mulligan was one of my favorites. Gorgeous.
Best Supporting Actor:
All originals here, and they all looked great in their own ways. I picked DanieI Kaluuya to win this category, and he did, but in this style context he was probably the most underwhelming, but he looks classy and his personality shines through. Lakeith Stanfield is just hot in a crazy 70s throwback kinda way. Leslie Odom Jr embraced the gold trend with aplomb. Impeccable. Honestly, I can’t pick a favorite. Paul Raci is exactly what I would want from a “seasoned” rocker. Sacha Baron Cohen looks amazing — so opposite of what his roles usually are!
Best Supporting Actress:
Many said Amanda Seyfried was on the best dressed list. I disagree. The dress is a wowser, and the styling works great, but I feel like the dress could’ve been tailored to be more flattering. Yes: I know she just had a baby, and she looks amazing. So play up the curves: bring that waist in one more inch if you can. If you can’t then structure the hips one inch wider and curvier to balance and accentuate her voluptuousness. Glenn Close: the color is great, but why the gloves? And either lose the pants and make it a dress, or shorten the “dress” hem. I was worried Maria Bakalova would be a mess, but I was wrong. She looks lovely — nothing to put her at the tip top of the list, but awfully close. Olivia Coleman’s amazeball shoes saved her — and the color of the ensemble sings as well. But there is just something off about the tailoring of the dress, and I’m not digging the hair. Winner Yuh-Jung Youn looks wonderful. Frances McDormand: this is how you embrace your grey, and wear a dark frock that doesn’t try too hard. This woman tried — and still looks comfortable. And: I picked her, and she won!
Red and white were big color themes this year!
And don’t forget all the other colors (because I never will)!
Halle Berry’s dress was bright and fun, but was overshadowed by too-short bangs and dark circles under her eyes. Is she ok?
Zendaya wowed and was at the top of many lists. Rightfully (and expectedly) so. I loved the dress, until I saw it from the front. Then the midriff opening looked way too big, like a yawning mouth. Bit in these shots she’s a stunner:
One of my absolute favorites of the night had to be H.E.R., who just may be a Prince reincarnation in more ways than one:
Other color moments:
I wanted to do a special shout out to Emerald Fennell. I was sure we’d see a lot of florals, and I was wrong. I also said I wanted her in green, and she delivered — with floral AND green. And being pregnant to boot (gotta love these pandemic babies that people get to hide in quarantine!). She was charming!
But let’s not overlook the neutrals, if we can call them that:
This group ran the gamut. Chloe Zhou…I mean, I get it. She’s not fussy. She wants to keep it simple. I’m not asking her to change who she is, but this dress in another color would have been better. Or a different dress with tennis shoes (if this dress had been white, and a different length, the shoes would’ve been great with it. No makeup? Fine, but know that you will be super washed out on TV. And her hair loose would have been better. Doesn’t have to be super styled: put those braids in the night before, and let ’em loose for the show. A whole different look. Wear the braids with a black jumpsuit and the tennis shoes. That would’ve been cute, comfy and easy.
Nicolette Robinson is the best of the bunch here. She, like Amanda Seyfried, recently had a baby. THIS is how you do it. The rest of the ladies like good. Not great, not awful, but good.
Speaking of Robinson, she is one half of a stunning couple. I love the trend of couples dressing together!
But the best dressed couple of the night? These guys, right here:
I’d never heard of Martin Desmond Roe and Travon Free before they won the Oscar for Best Live Action Short for Two Distant Strangers. But I really wanna know them — and I want them to win more!
I also want to point out to “A”s that scored points with me: accessories, and architectural accents (is that three As?) Details can make or break an outfit. These two ladies had super cool purses:
A heart? And popcorn? I love it!
The following ladies stood out for design reasons — the construction of their garments felt almost architectural to me.
I know people hated Laura Dern’s feathery dress, but I didn’t. It wasn’t perfect (the top too austere for the fluffy bottom), but it was fun and classy to me. My two faves in the above group had to be costume designer Mia Neal’s amazing blue gown, and, of course, MISS Regina King. Or should we say Queen? Because she wore the crown. Hands down the best look of the night!
The men have turned it up big time in the past few years, and I almost look forward to seeing them more than the women. It is amazing how they have decided that the girls don’t get to have all the fun!
I thought I’d throw in a fun section: how it looked on the runway, vs how the stars wore it. Which ones were better?
Last but not least: the after parties. There weren’t as many this year, but let me leave you with some of the most memorable looks I found from those events. I hope you enjoyed my round up — I probably won’t have much to talk about regarding fashion for awhile. Looks like it’s back to doggies and date nights, lol!