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OSCARS 2009: The Last Word
A Review of the 81st Annual Academy
Lets get this out of the way right
now: it was an awful night for fashion. When A-listers like Penelope Cruz and
Reese Witherspoon miss by a mile and Sarah Jessica Parker decides to do her own
homage to The Wizard of Oz by dressing like Glinda the Good Witch, its a
bad night indeed. Heres
a rundown of the evenings highs and lows:
Ladies, fire your stylist. Overall, the looks were
completely uninspired. Red dresses for the red carpet. We get it. Now, unless
youre Heidi Klum shilling for Diet Coke, hang it up. Ditto the Michelle
Obama wannabes. Youre movie stars, for goodness sakes.
there were a few good dresses: Marissa Tomei (in Versace) looked good; Taraji
P. Henson (in Cavalli) looked pretty. But there was no wow moment. None.
Believe me, I looked. In case youre wondering, Im giving the
evenings Best Dressed Award to Angelina Jolie who, in her black Elie Saab
and gorgeous emerald earrings looked the best she has in ages.
other reason it was a dismal night for fashion was because so many A-listers
took producers up on their offer and eschewed the red carpet ducking in the
back entrance and therefore depriving designers the moment they wait for all
year having their name uttered on television in front of a billion
people when a star is asked What are you wearing? Sure, it goosed
ratings (Up considerably from last year) but it was a wash out for the fashion
Not that this matters one bit to first time producer
Laurence Mark and executive producer Bill Condon. These guys pulled off the
most entertaining Oscar broadcast in over a decade. Most of the credit belongs
to the incredibly likeable and gorgeous!! -- Hugh Jackman who should do
this gig for the foreseeable future. He pulled off the impossible
looking every inch the movie star and the consummate showman he was completely
at ease in front of this toughest of all tough crowds. Everyone loved him. His
musical numbers brought the house down. The guy killed.
6:05PM E! kicks off their preshow with
the breathless announcement that big celebrity Nicole Ritchie is
6:08PM Superstar Miley Cyrus is the
first to arrive on the red carpet and announces to all who would talk to her
that she is just going to hang out and do some star
stalking. She tells Ryan Secrest that Angelina Jolie can adopt me
if she wants to. Nice news, Im sure, to her stunned mother who is
her date for the evening standing next to her.
6:21PM Still no
sign of any celebrity besides Virginia Madsen who is sporting the first of too
many boring red dresses of the evening.
6:28PM Aha! A real
movie star. Sir Anthony Hopkins with a very young looking date. He walks
tentatively past the hedge where reporters are trying their best to not look
like theyre ignoring him because, inexplicably, theyre still
talking to Miley.
6:30PM Best actress nominee Taraji P. Henson,
one of the evenings better dressed actresses, in Cavalli and Fred
Leighton (The jeweler was the only fashion winner of the night of you add up
mentions they received on television and the number of necks that were sporting
some serious gems). If only she hadnt accidentally shown us her Spanx
when she hiked up her dress for Ryan Secrest. Fun fact: Halle Berry gave her a
diamond bracelet to congratulate her on her Oscar nod. It sure beats a fruit
6:32PM Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron from High School
Musical hold court four feet apart and pretend not to be a couple. Why are
these people here?
6:35PM Best Supporting Actor nominee Michael
Shannon arrives. No one knows who he is.
6:36PM Kevin Kline and
Phoebe Cates discuss American Idol with Ryan Secret. Oh, how the mighty have
6:37PM Word spreads among the reporters on the red
carpet that the Academy has asked past winners to be on stages with this
years acting category winners. Now theres a novel idea. The bad
news: what weve been hearing is true -- Most of them will not walk the
red carpet. Good news for Miley, Im guessing.
Slumdog Millionaires Freida Pinto arrives in royal blue John Galliano. I
dont love it, but she is lovely.
6:48PM Randolph Duke,
working for ABC, makes a good point: Women are posing and not looking
relaxed. Over posing is killing the dresses. Duly noted.
6:49PM There are one thousand people blocking my view of the red carpet
and all of them are in Slumdog Millionaire.
Angelina Jolie in Elie
7:06PM Brangelina where are you?
7:10PM Best actor nominee Richard Jenkins, best known as the
father from Six Feet Under arrives. No one really knows what to say to him
because only about 11 people (including me) saw The Visitor. Its on Pay
Per View this month and well worth your time.
Bradshaw, how could you? Sarah Jessica Parker arrives looking like the
worlds oldest prom queen. Dior Haute Couture looks like its from
the Hollywood House of Wax. Yikes!!
7:13PM The world has
officially stopped spinning on its axis. Robert Downey, Jr. is, so far, one of
the evenings best dressed.
7:14PM Amy Adams wearing a
1950s colored gemstone and diamond Fred Leighton necklace which I loved
and a Carolina Herrera gown I didnt.
Twlights Robert Pattinson marvels over the insanity of his presence on
the red carpet. Im more taken by the fact that he really does look like a
vampire. Cute, though.
7:20PM An hour and half in and no sign
of an A-list movie star. This is worrisome.
7:21PM In the
distance Anne Hathaway grips her fathers hand as she prepares to run the
gauntlet of press hungry for someone anyone! to talk to. Upon
close inspection, her shimmering Armani Prive gown is a winner.
7:27PM Beyonce saunters by in the ugliest dress shes ever worn on
the red carpet.
7:28PM Mickey Rourke tells everyone that Jean
Paul Gaultier did him solid by making his white suit for the night.
The Best Actor favorite (at least on the red carpet) accessorizes the look with
a locket with a picture of his dearly departed dog, Loki. The love of my
life, he says.
7:29PM Queen Latifah says shes
singing during the usually silent In Memoriam portion of the
evening. Uh oh.
7:38PM The Wrestlers Evan Rachel Wood
arrives sporting one of the evenings big trend a nearly nude, off white
colored gown. She is the palest human being Ive ever seen. Id like
to have the business that removes all these ill-conceived tattoos when these
gals start to age.
7:39PM Paydirt! Brangelina emerge from their
limo. Angelina looks gorgeous is her black Elie Saab and to die for emerald
earrings. The entire red carpet goes on high alert.
actress favorite Kate Winslet is wearing another Yves Saint Laurent gown.
Strangely, she looks as if shes aged five years since the Globes. Very
7:58PM Ryan Secrest does his best to bag Brangelina
after getting dissed at the Globes. He manages to get a few words and smile out
of Brad. Angie isnt interested in talking.
Taraji P. Henson in Roberto
Cavalli and Fred Leighton
8:06PM Tim Gunn -- of all people --
has to physically detain Angelina by grabbing her arm to tell her and Brad in
no uncertain terms that they have saved the red carpet! Angie smiles
8:09PM Tim chats with Valentino who is quick to
point out hes here as a spectator no doubt in an effort to
distance himself from the abundant fashion disasters that abound.
8:18PM Miley Cyrus is still lurking about. She needs to take that
exploding oyster platter of a dress and go away.
Streep and her daughter Louisa (My baby) look like they had the
same stylist pick their earth toned dresses. Pretty but nothing special.
8:30PM Showtime! Hugh Jackman pulls off an incredible opening
number that gets him a standing ovation from the crowd. Impressive.
8:40PM Hugh works the crowd -- and even ventures over to Brangelina. They
smile. He says hes contractually obligated to mention the
super couple throughout the broadcast. Im guessing hes only half
8:42PM In the most inspired bit of staging I can ever
remember since covering the Oscars, the Best Supporting Actress award is
preceded by the introduction of past category winners who are revealed to be
standing behind oversized panels sporting their images. The always otherworldly
Tilda Swinton says theyre here to welcome a new member to the
group. Very cool.
8:46PM Winner Penelope Cruz joins them
on stage. While she charms with her speech, she disappoints by sporting a
bridal looking vintage Pierre Balmain. Shes been my best dressed pick for
two years running but this year she looks like she stepped off the top of a
1950s wedding cake. Too bad.
8:54PM Okay, I get Tina Fey
is a star but she is now officially obnoxiously over exposed. But kudos for a
good dress and an even better body.
Sarah Jessica Parker in Dior Haute
9:03PM Jennifer Aniston takes the
stage with Jack Black. Will they pan down to Angelina? Yes, and shes
laughing. Im thinking its not at the lame banter the two
uncomfortable looking actors are spouting. Jennifers milk maid beach hair
and Vegas showgirl dress looks even worse in direct comparisons to
Angies movie star cool. Why is it that women who look fabulous every
other night of the year are getting it wrong for the Fashion Olympics tonight?
9:16PM I still hate Sarah Jessica Parkers dress. And I
dont get the belt.
9:22PM Rumbles through the press room
will this clock in at five hours?
9:31PM Natalie Portman
looks lovely in lavender and plays the perfect straight woman to Ben
Stillers parody of Joaquin Phoenixs still talked about appearance
on David Letterman. Lets hope the two dont meet up at Vanity Fair
9:44PM Who is Seth Rogen sleeping with to get so much
air time on this broadcast??
9:53PM Hugh Jackman is back. The
whole place sits up a little straighter. He launches into the second musical
number with Beyonce, who thank God, has ditched her bull fighter dress and
looks killer in a red bodysuit. You heard it here first: those two should do a
Broadway musical together with Baz Luhrmann directing. (He staged this
9:55PM Who would have thought the musical numbers
would be the best part of the Oscars? Shocking, but true.
Marisa Tomei in Versace
10:04PM Past Best Supporting Actor
winners gather on stage. For some reason, theres a bit of a Star Trek
Beam Me Up,Scotty vibe to the whole thing but on balance, I like
seeing the old guard mix with the winners. A really inspired idea. This
broadcast is the best its been in years.
Ledgers family comes to the stage and accepts his award for his role in
Dark Knight. All the other nominees look as if they knew this was coming. Close
ups of the audience reveal that Adrien Brody, Kate Winslet, Brad Pitt and yes,
Angelina are tearing up.
10:33PM A shot of John Mayer with girl
friend Jennifer Aniston makes him look bored enough to want to sneak outside
and dish about his date with the guys from TMZ. Still cant get over how
disheveled she looks.
10:46PM Jerry Lewis wins the Jean
Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Mercifully, he gives a short, sweet speech.
10:53PM Zac Efron and Alicia Keyes (another pretty lavender
dress) who looks like J.Lo circa 2005 present Best Original Song.
Miley Cyrus in Zuhair
11:00PM Why dont they just give
the rest of the envelopes to the guys from Slumdog Millionaire so everyone can
go to Vanity Fair already?
11:10PM Queen Latifah has changed
into another hideous dress and is singing Ill be Seeing You
while images of those who died flash around her. A bit too sentimental, but
Ill give them an A for effort.
Witherspoon looking dismal. What happened to all those fabulous Nina Ricci
dresses? I guess her contract was up. Theres some whispers asking could
Reese be trying to hide a bump courtesy of beau Jake Gyllenhaal? I think
its just a bad dress. Remember that hideous prom queen look she sported
when she won? Now that shes given up revenge dressing, her inner frump
11:27PM Finally, some real glamour. The past best
actress winners including the beautiful Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman and
Halle Berry all but suck the air out of the room standing together. A great
11:33PM Kate Winslet gives charming and only
slightly tearful (Shed been dissed in the British papers for being too
weepy at other award shows!!) acceptance speech. I keep thinking she should
have switched dresses and worn what she did for the Globes tonight.
11:36PM By the way, wheres George Clooney tonight?
11:37PM Fingers crossed Mickey Rourke wins Best Actor just to hear his
11:42PM Nope. Its Sean Penn who
doesnt thank his wife Robin Wright.
11:54PM Slumdog takes
best picture. And miraculously, the whole shebang is over by midnight.
12:13PM Backstage, Kate Winslet graciously endures stupid questions from
the press room. The foreign press is the worst. Then, Ted Casablanca from E!
(where else?) asks her who shed like to see naked on screen since
shes just announced shed no longer be taking off her clothes. She
tries to be game, but cant think of anyone. Do I have to answer
this one? she pleads. The press room rep says Would you like to
come back to this one? Ted cries, No! so Kate soldiers on
before finally saying, Susan Sarandon. She suffers a few more
inanities. Then, Oscar aloft she departs for the night taking her rightful
place in Oscar history.
- Diane Clehane is
Lookonlines Entertainment Editor. She is the author of several New York
Times best sellers and is currently at work on a novel. She writes the popular
Lunch column for mediabistro.com . Email her at DClehane@aol.com
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