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OSCARS 2012: The
A Review of the 84th Annual Academy
It was the Oscars, the AARP edition.
This years awards celebrated the magic of the movies and to do so, host
Billy Crystal attempted a little sleight of hand of his own by putting the
audience in a time machine and taking them back to the nineties when he most
successfully hosted the Oscars. He was eager to recapture that goodwill of the
good old days and in the beginning, with the return of his much loved
Zelig-meets-the best picture nominees clip montage, it looked like he had a
pretty good chance of succeeding. (Although I question the wisdom of trotting
out his old Sammy Davis Jr impression. Doing blackface these days aint
what it used to be). But the audience proved less than enthusiastic about going
back in time and Crystal seemed surprised that some of his jokes fell a bit
flat. While its understandable that producer Brian Grazer wanted to bring
in the big guns as presenters (Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas ) to wipe
away the memory of the horrible misfire of last years cohosts Anne
Hathaway and James Franco, the show leaned too heavily on nostalgia with too
many montages which served to remind us of what we used to love about the
Hosting and producing the Oscars is
pretty much a thankless gig and Crystal and Grazer put together a show that was
good, but should have been better. Most of the presenters were all so game
(like Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez, whose wardrobe malfunction probably woke
up plenty of males forced to watch at home) but it seemed as if everyone was
trying just a bit too hard (Emma Stone for one and Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert
Downey Jr). As a result the audience was deprived of those few and far between
unscripted moments that become Oscar lore. The irony is I loved the film
package that ran through the telecast filled with stars revelations about
their love of movies (Reese Witherspoon, who I would have loved to have seen on
the red carpet, revealed her favorite pick-me-up film is Overboard
with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn) but it distracted from the less than magical
roster of films that we were watching be acknowledged during the
Besides some very odd directorial
choices (James Earl Jones and Oprah get acknowledged from the bleachers while
Kermit and Miss Piggy get to be on stage?), some presenters managed to inject
life into the sodden broadcast. The best was Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis
playing the cymbals as they presented Best Original Song.
The funniest unintentional moment came
when ice queen Angelina Jolie vamped it up on stage putting her hands on her
hip and jutting out her leg from an up-to-there slit in her Atelier Versace
dress to present two awards. When the winners for Best Adapted Screenplay took
to the stage to collect their Oscar, they mocked her with their own version of
the stance. Hollywoods version of Tebowing? At least for the next few
weeks, Im guessing.
Speaking of Jolie, she did take home
top honors for being one of the few women who got it right on the red carpet.
She looked stunning in her Atelier Versace (Come to think of it she did the
thing with her leg on the red carpet, too. How odd). She tied for best dressed
with Gwyneth Paltrow, who dazzled in a white Tom Ford cape and dress which was
When it came to the red carpet fashion
show, the highlights were few and far between. There was no wow
moment. Okay, maybe from Gwyneth but the bar was set pretty low. In any other
year Paltrows dress would have been deemed chic but there were so many
mediocre dresses that she looked like a fashion goddess by comparison. When it
came to the new crop of actresses were supposed to get excited about, I
found them incredibly dull and their fashion choices wanting. I cant even
come up with a top ten best dressed list because there werent ten dressed
I loved. Penelope Cruz (in Armani) looked beautiful as usual, Rose Byrne (in
Vivienne Westwood) and Milla Jovovich (in Elie Saab) both looked chic. In
emerald Vera Wang and foregoing her usual wig, Viola Davis radiated happiness.
Former wrestler and George Clooneys current girlfriend Stacy Keibler
glided around in a golden Marchesa having won the fight over the dress that was
said to have been sought after by several attendees. Jennifer Lopez (in a sheer
white Zuhair Murad) did an updated version of her infamous Versace from all
those years ago and could have benefited from a bit more double sided tape. But
this is not the stuff for a best dressed list. For the most part, the young
actresses whose stars are on the rise could have benefited from studying the
fashion playbooks of Halle Berry and Reese Witherspoon (who were sorely
missed). Both Rooney Mara and Jessica Chastain could have and should have had
big fashion moments last night and didnt. Instead, Mara looked skeletal
in a white Givenchy and Chastain, while looking better than she has at other
events, didnt bring any life to her black and gold Alexander McQueen.
For the big winners of the night,
Meryl Streep and Octavia Spencer, fashion was clearly not upper most in their
minds, but they both managed to score personal bests. Spencer stayed loyal to
Tadashi Shoji and Streep, in a bit of foreshadowing, chose a gold goddess gown
from Lanvin. They looked comfortable in their dresses and in their own skin
proving that when it comes to Oscar fashion, confidence is the best accessory
Heres a rundown on the
red carpet and the ceremony in eastern standard time since I did all my
reporting from my living room in Greenwich:
5:30 Ryan Secrest kicks off E!s
coverage welcoming viewers to the worlds biggest stage.
Little does he know hell become one of the most Googled moments of this
5:32 Giuliana Ranic interviews the 11 year old
actress from The Descendants in E!s studio who tells her that
shes wearing Valentino couture. My wonderful stylist Jessica
(Paster) pulled this for me. Were not in Kansas anymore, Toto.
5:42 Besides Kermit (who is wearing a Brooks Brothers custom tux) and
Miss Piggy, The Artists Penelope Ann Miller is the first
actor to appear on the red carpet. Shes wearing Badgley Mischka (but
cant pronounce it why does this always happen every year?). She
looks old, tired and a little fleshy. Time has not been kind.
Presenter Milla Jovovich is in Elie Saab. Its gorgeous silvery white
sequined dress and red lips (She is a LOreal spokesperson after all) This
is how youre supposed to look at the Oscars. Extra points since this is
her first time. Gives a plug to Jacob & Co. jewelry because I did a
campaign for them.
6:06 Wolfgang Puck shows Ryan Secrest the
food on the grazing menu at this years Oscar party. Filet
mignon, mini chicken pot pies, chocolate Oscars. Too bad no one in Hollywood
6:08 Bridesmaids Rose Byrne in black sequined Vivienne
Westwood with Chanel jewelry. Love the bob. Very Anna. Rumor has it there will
be lots of black on the red carpet. So far, Byrne has scored the biggest
fashion bulls eye.
6:12 Berenice Bejo, Best Actress nominee for
The Artist, for some reason, looks a lot like Emma Stone tonight. I
cant get past the really bad hair. Helga goes to the Oscars wearing a
beaded mint Elie Saab. A missed opportunity to be sure.
Clooney is spotted in the crowd. Several people have mistaken his statuesque
girlfriend Stacey Kiebler, wearing a glistening gold Marchesa, for one of the
giant Oscars on the red carpet. An interesting bit of subliminal messaging.
6:20 Best supporting actress nominee Melissa McCarthy in custom Marina
Rinaldi tells Ryan Secrest that designer Brian Atwood is her best friend since
high school. Who knew?
6:21 20 year-old Shailene Woodley is much too
covered-up white Valentino Couture. It ages her. Why do so many of the youngest
actresses in Hollywood look so old tonight? Her dress would be better suited to
Dyan Cannon in Bob Carol Ted and Alice. Seriously.
George ditches the reporters on the carpet to sign autographs for the fans in
the bleachers. Love him.
6:24 Best Supporting Acress nominee Jessica
Chastain arrives in a strapless Alexander McQueen with her grandmother. The
Elizabethan style is much better than the dull, ill-fitting pastels shes
been wearing. I should love it, but I dont.
6:32 George Clooney
in his favorite Armani tux with golden girl Stacey Keibler stops to talk to
Ryan Secrest. As always, George is the most relaxed man on the red carpet.
6:43 Viola Davis looks very glam in emerald Vera Wang. I was
surprised by the short auburn hair until I found out this is one of the first
times shes gone without the usual wigs. Good for her.
Fashion It girl Rooney Mara spotted in the crowd wearing a very unspectacular
ivory dress. Yawn.
6:45 Michelle Williams, I love you, but this is the
Oscars not the prom. Her Louis Vuitton dress just isnt special enough.
This actress needs a new stylist.
6:46 P.Diddy, who produced the Best
Documentary nominated film Undefeated, gets out of the limo and some guy is all
over him with a lint roller. Hilarious.
6:47 Yet another shot of
George and Stacey. This woman is Georges first girlfriend who seems to
have figured out how to get the maximum PR value out of being on his arm since
she knows theres no engagement ring at the end of the party. Impressive.
6:49 We learned that Rooney Mara has ditched her usual black for a
lackluster white Givenchy dress she picked this morning. Have a cookie.
6:51 All I have to say is Angelina, Penelope and Sandra better be
wearing something fabulous. Wake me when they get here.
Best Supporting Actress nominee Octavia Spencer looking good in a silver beaded
Tadashi Shoji. Who is that handsome guy with her? A little birdie told me
hes her boyfriend of four years. With so much industry good will behind
her, her win is sure to be a highlight. Heres hoping.
Guilana Ranic says Rooney made an interesting choice with her
Givenchy dress. Just noticed Rooney is wearing absolutely no jewelry. Too cool
for school. I do like the severe black hair and bangs with the red lips, but
this was a chance to step out and doing something a little different. Crowned
the biggest fashion get of the night by The New York Post this morning, she
turns out to be the biggest missed opportunity for an actress to really shine
on the red carpet. Its clear from listening to her interviews she either
doesnt care or is too young to figure out how to leverage her stardom by
becoming a fashion star. Too bad.
7:06 Jean Dujardin , Best Actor
nominee from The Artist arrives with an entourage including his
translator Tanya. Very sexy. Could give George a run for his money.
7:08 Even the usual infallible Glenn Close couldnt get it right.
Emerald suit by Zac Posen looks like she pulled it out of the archives of Linda
Evans Dynasty wardrobe.
7:11 The stars entrance into the
Kodak Theatre looks like a car wash.
Stacy Keibler (with
7:12 God, these clothes are soooooooo
7:15 The red carpet is almost two hours old and I dont
have one big star for my ten best dressed list.
7:18 Sasha Cohen as
The Dictator dumps the ashes of Kim Jong Il (It was
Bisquick) all over a clearly annoyed Ryan Secrest and gets booted from the red
carpet. (This is not surprising since the Academy took back the actors
tickets to the event when they learned he was planning to walk the carpet in
costume. After Cohen went on the Today show, in character, promising
severe consequences producer Brian Grazer caved) Look on the bright
side, Ryan, youve just secured your place in Oscar infamy.
Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith arrive. Shes in Yves Saint Laurent.
She looks good, better than usual and he is always so great. Great to see a
longtime married couple seemingly so happy. Is there an award for that? If not,
there should be.
7:25 An unusually glam Tina Fey in custom black
Carolina Herrera. The designer wanted to dress one star and this
arrangement worked well for both of them. Are we to assume her
arrangement with Renee Zellweger whose star has dimmed is finito?
7:26 Jennifer Lopez in Zuhair Murad doing her J.Lo thing. Good hair, gorgeous
skin and a very J.Lo choice. Being in lust obviously agrees with her.
7:29 Emma Stone all tied up in red Giambattista Valli. Too much dress. And an
odd choice since its so evocative of the Balenciaga dress worn by Nicole
Kidman several years ago. Another missed opportunity.
7:46 Sorry, but
I cant take any fashion criticism from Kelly Osbourne seriously.
7:49 Ryan Secrest says they are trying to get people inside because its
almost showtime. No sign of one really great Oscar dress and the red carpet is
almost over. Yikes!
7:57 Natalie Portman in a red Dior ballgown.
Pretty. Finally something that looks like an Oscar dress.
8:00 I am
not the biggest Gwyneth Paltrow fan, but her white cape and dress by Tom Ford
is amazing. The perfect choice. Stands out in a sea of fashion misfires. The
nights best dressed so far.
8:10 Sandra Bullock in Marchesa.
Love the skirt but the top doesnt fit.
8:10 Penelope Cruz in a
completely appropriate Oscar-worthy azure ball gown by Armani. She never
8:18 Angelina Jolie looking gorgeous in black Atelier
Versace. Great hair and makeup, too. Extra points for accessorizing with some
good looking arm candy.
8:30 Morgan Freeman introduces the show.
All of us is mesmerized by the magic of the movies
this is the
84th Annual Academy Awards. Where is Billy Crystal?
here he is. The movie montage is brilliant. He brings back the familiar
Zelig-in-the-movies parody which includes getting a kiss from Clooney, riffing
with Justin Bieber, Bridesmaids eating Minnys pie and an unexpected
encounter with Tom Cruise. Hilarious. Welcome back Billy. We missed you.
8:36 Billy breaks into song: Its a wonderful night for
This is not your mothers Oscar. Well, it kind of is,
but it just might work.
8:42 Tom Hanks presents the first Oscar.
Theyre bringing out the big guns tonight.
8:45 Second Oscar for
Hugo, a film no one I know saw.
8:50 First clip package of
the night. They are really going for nostalgia tonight. I guess Brian Grazer
has given up on getting the youth demo. Every movie I loved from the sixties,
seventies and eighties is included in this first package. You can hear anyone
under 30 turning on HBO.
8:54 Cameron Diaz and J.Lo, who is barely
dressed in Zuhair Murad, present the Oscar for Best Costume Design. Mark
Bridges wins for The Artist. Was that a nipple we just saw, JLo? Remember when
she had to be shot from the neck up the year she wore the see-thru Chanel? JLo
just loves to take the girls out to play. Not sure, but I think that dumb bit
about giving the crowd a butt shot was so JLo could correct her wardrobe
9:09 A shot of Best Supporting Actor Nick Nolte. He
is a brilliant actor who Ive loved since Rich Man Poor Man. I hate seeing
the idols of my childhood getting old, dont you?
Bale, who, Im happy to report seems to have taken his meds this year,
announces the winner for Best Supporting Actress. Sure-thing Octavia Spencer
gets escorted to the stage by her boyfriend and gets standing ovation. Clearly
overwhelmed, she stumbles through her heartfelt acceptance speech and gets
shooed off before she can really collect herself.
wrong with the sound? An annoying echoing ping begins and sticks around for
much of the broadcast. They wont be winning an Emmy Award in September
thats for sure.
9:20 Let me get this straight: theyre
rushing Oscar winners off stage but running a three minute short starring
Christopher Guest and crew lampooning The Wizard of Oz. It was
funny, but the broadcast isnt even an hour old and theres already
been too many clips packages to count.
9:34 Oh great, Kermit and Miss
Piggy introducing Cirque de Soleil. Surprisingly, the big production number
works and the crowd loves it.
9:39 Were a pony away from
being a bar mitzvah. Yup.
9:40 Gwyneth and Robert Downey Jr.
present Best Documentary while doing a bit that goes on a bit too long. More
time wasting. Come on already. Undefeated wins and one of the
films directors gives us the only bleep-able moment of the night. An
aside: I sat next to him at a lunch at Michaels recently. It was Harvey
Weinsteins pep rally for the Giants. He was unbelievably low key and
didnt bother mentioning he was nominated for an Oscar until midway
through lunch so I find his swearing a bit surprising. I gave him all my
recommendations for what to do during Oscar weekend as well as the number of a
few stylists to hook them up with tuxes for the big night. I guess he and his
co-director ran out of time to give me the shout out I was hoping for. Oh well
9:50 At this point I like the commercials better than the
awards especially Ellen DeGeneres for JCP. Well done.
9:52 Emma Stone
doing the happiest actress in the room bit against a grumpy Ben Stiller should
work, but doesnt. (Perky gets old fast with this crowd) I
cant quite figure out why this show feels so ponderous, but it does.
9:58 Melissa Leo presents the award for Best Supporting Actor to
Christopher Plummer, the oldest actor to win an Oscar which seems fitting this
year. Thankfully, she doesnt use the f word. He gives a
charming and gracious acceptance speech. That, folks, is how its done.
10:14 We have a Sally Field moment: Someone from The
Artist wins for Best Score asking the audience to accept him because
hes got so much love to give. Almighty, moving on
10:16 Will Farrell and Zach Galifianakis come crashing into the
audience with cymbals with a funny bit introducing Best Original Song. I just
realized they were not performed tonight. Could it be because there were only
two? Remember all those great theme songs you loved as a kid and still
remember? So sad thats a dying art.
10:20 Cigarette girls
suddenly appear giving out popcorn to the audience. Shouldve been pillows
10: 25 Head scratching moment of the night: Angelina
Jolie vamps it up announcing Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original
Screenplay. Who thought that bit with the leg would work? Id love to know the
pitch: So, youre gonna go out there, put your hand on your hip and
then show some leg with some attitude. Thatll get em going.
And she thought this was a good idea! She drops it for the second winners when
the Adapted Screenplay winners mock her. Awkward.
10:30 I do like the
recurring film with everyone from Barbra Streisand to Adam Sandler talking
about their love of movies but Don Rickles? Really?
Bridesmaids cast presents three awards which seems to take a half hour. I
love these ladies but enough already.
10:46 Who the hell is that guy
in the hat?
10:47 The cigarette girls return. 10:54 Michael Douglas
presents Best Director to The Artists Michel Hazanavicius. He forgets to
thank Harvey Weinstein. Uh oh.
10:55 Meryl Streep presents a tape of
The Governors Award ceremony which were presented to James Earl Jones and
Oprah Winfrey at a lunch that was not broadcast! In the tape, Oprah cries
during her speech. They are acknowledged from their seats. Are you kidding me?
11:02 There have been some seriously bad calls made directing this
broadcast. Winners get the short shrift while clips filled with stars (okay,
plenty of big stars, but still) dominate the broadcast.
Memoriam tribute fittingly ends with Liz Taylor.
11:12 Judging by his
incredibly youth-full appearance, Im pretty sure Tom Cruise has
discovered the restorative properties of restylane.
Portman, looking lovely, presents the Best Actor Oscar.
Dujardin beats George! He doesnt thank Harvey either. His speech is
mercifully short and exuberance is utterly charming. Just asking -- but why was
he given all the time he needed and Octavia Spencer got the bums rush?
And who the hell is that guy singing him off stage?
11:25 Dreamy Colin
Firth presents Best Actress to Meryl Streep.
11:30 The evenings
true golden girl wearing Lanvin takes the stage to chants of Meryl,
Meryl, Meryl. She epitomizes all that is right in Hollywood and for a
minute this warm recognition of her extraordinary talent and her acknowledgment
of 29 year wait between Oscars makes the evening seems perfect. She gives a
wonderfully heartfelt speech thanking her husband first noting that spouses
always get mentioned when the winners are being played off with music. She
brings many in the audience to tears by telling the crowd she wants to thank
all her friends those here and those who have departed. Streep
seems to sum up the mood of the night perfectly nostalgic but hopeful.
11:35 Dorian Gray, I mean Tom Cruise, presents the Best Picture Award
to The Artist. Its a wrap.