2016 Oscars Red Carpet

At the 88th Academy Awards, Chris Rock diffused the diversity controversy that hung over the Dolby Theater with his raw yet dexterous brand of comedy, acknowledging a need for change within Hollywood while keeping the show on track. It’s been so long since an Oscar host was actually entertaining, I had forgotten these things used to sometimes  be funny.  Not everything was comedic gold, I still can’t figure out the point of the Girl Scout bit.  Girl Scout cookies sell themselves because they are delicious and somewhat deceptively named.  Thin Mints for example give you the false impression you can swallow sleeves of cookies whole like a boa constrictor without worrying about your waistline while Tagalongs and Do-si-dos practically sound like you’re getting some kind of calorie-cancelling exercise simply by eating them.

Amusingly, the plan to omit thank yous from the acceptance speeches and scroll pre-prepared lists of names instead didn’t pan out amongst those who take direction for a living.  Not exactly a shocker.  If I ever won an Academy Award, guidelines and music wouldn’t get me off the stage, it would probably take some kind of zoo-tranquilizer dart and even then, I wouldn’t go without a fight.

But the Oscars are so much more than a platform for social change or awarding  the best in film, they’re about attractive people wearing fabulous designer clothing.  Watching the Oscars is all about focusing on the most superficial aspects of people who are part of the most shallow industry on Earth.  It’s all about the fashion.

This year was a little more interesting than the past few years.  The best and worst weren’t quite so cut and dry with many  critics divided over who led  the pack and whose fashion failed.

These are my picks:

The Best

Cate Blanchett was ethereal perfection in seafoam Armani Prive.  In the wrong hands, this  dress could look like a glue gun disaster, but with Tiffany & Co. cascading diamond earrings, sea creature bracelet and beachy bob, Cate had that just-stepped-out-of-the-waves-like-this goddess quality.  This dress made both best and worst dressed lists.  On anyone but Cate Blanchett, I would have categorized it as the latter.  On her, it was both regal and whimsical.

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Another red carpet masterpiece in motion was Saoirse Ronan in Calvin Klein.  The actress chose emerald to honor her Irish heritage, however the swirling sequins of the skirt were evocative of the sky’s nocturnal undulations in Dutch post-Impressionist painter, Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night.  While the brightest “star” in van Gogh’s painting is actually Venus, Saoirse Ronan’s luminous beauty made her one of the brightest stars on the Oscar red carpet.
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The black Chanel dress Julianne Moore wore was a departure from the jewel tones she normally gravitates towards, making it a noteworthy selection.  Recently, a similar version made its way down the Chanel runway on Kendall Jenner.  Julianne opted for meticulously crafted effortless glamour, wearing her hair down instead of in angry Princess Leia buns with Black Swan eye makeup shown at the Chanel Haute Couture show.

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Once again Charlize Theron’s red carpet appearance reminded us that no matter how hard we try, we’ll never be Charlize Theron.  Charlize may have terrible taste in men, but her fashion sense is impeccable.  Draped in Christian Dior Couture and Harry Winston diamonds, Charlize continued her reign as the Red Carpet’s best dressed.

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Honorable Mention

Mindy Kaling’s Elizabeth Kennedy dress was a little too tight, causing it to pucker, but between its black and royal blue color scheme and cape-like tie in the  back, it reminded me of the superhero costume worn by Batman’s former sidekick, Nightwing, thus making the dress subjectively awesome.

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Leather and Lace

Two of the trends on the red carpet were the sartorial version of the Stevie Nicks/Don Henley duet, Leather and Lace.

Jennifer Lawrence’s black tiered Dior gown was one of the lace trend’s best examples,  a modern take on the black lace and ruffles favored by Stevie Nicks who paved the way for goth girls who want to keep their hair blonde.

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Rooney Mara also wore lace.  The cut-out sheer dress  by Givenchy Haute Couture was a cometh hither combination of demure and provocative, however the sci-fi hair and white platform sandals detracted from the dress.

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Versace-clad Kerry Washington looked like she was wearing Xena’s prom dress: ass-kicking leather on top, glamorous femininity on the bottom.

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Margot Robbie glittered like a gold dust woman in a long-sleeve gold leather embellished Tom Ford gown.  In 85 degree heat.  I’m really not sure how she wasn’t glistening buckets.

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The Worst

This year’s Oscars refuted my long-held belief that Kate Winslet would look gorgeous even in a garbage bag.  Making a rare sartorial misstep, Kate’s Ralph Lauren gown was evocative of a Hefty Cinch Sak.  Draw me like one of your tall kitchen bags.

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Another fashion disappointment was Olivia Wilde who, like Kate Winslet, usually nails the red carpet.  I wanted to like Olivia Wilde’s Valentino dress, but ultimately I couldn’t shake the fact that it looked like Mature Bride’s take on Leeloo’s bandage outfit.

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I can’t even take Amy Poehler’s Andrew Gn dress seriously, she looks like she’s being eaten alive by Audrey Jr. flesh-eating embroidery.  A stylist supposedly did this to her on purpose, why I do not know, but humanity may need to call on Lucy Liu’s badassery.

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This year Marchesa happened to Heidi Klum.  The dress looked like a failed practice assignment using canopy curtains and shoddy magic at Fairy Godmother Conjuring School.  The dress Cinderella’s rodent friends made her looked better than this Marchesa dress even after it was destroyed.  Not only is this a lock for this year’s Worst Dressed award, it’s epically hideous, likely to show up on Most Tragic Oscar Fashion lists for years to come.

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25 thoughts on “2016 Oscars Red Carpet”

  1. From this point forward I will only ready your write ups for the Oscar fashion choices. They were spot on and hysterical to boot.

    Thank you!

    P.S. Love the guest appearance of Nightwing. I think he’d look amazing in that color blue cape.

    1. Thanks, Lisa! For Halloween this year, I’m going to make Nightwing a cape. I’ve been thinking of possibly making him a mask, too, if I can figure out a way to engineer one that will be comfortable for him to wear.

      1. Well, black goes with everything, which come to think of it could be a slogan for diversity in films and awards.
        I couldn’t help notice the reaction of people in the theatre (actually, several men on aisle seats) when Jenny Beavan won for Best Costume Design. They looked repulsed and refused to clap when Beavan walked down to collect her award – especially Inaarritu. Beavan is a woman who clearly does not play the game by making herself uncomfortable in a ballgown (as Whoopi Goldberg did, imo). Though given her talent, Beavan could have whipped up one for herself had she given a flying f••k. Her treatment summed up Hollwood et al: either you are compliant, thin, young and bangable or you are an object of revulsion. This was the message from the 88th awards rather than the – at times – heavy hand of Chris Rock.
        http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/oscars/oscars-2016-max-max-fury-roads-jenny-beavan-snubbed-in-viral-video-20160301-gn6zbz.html
        The Girl Scouts thing fell flat; it seemed like this year’s version of Ellen’s selfie/sending out for pizza moment. The Stacy Dash thing fizzed big time and was irrelevant to an international audience. The segment where Rock interviewed black people outside a Compton theatre could be viewed as funny as these folk had not heard of the movies in Oscar contention, oblivious to the big money spent on buying awards but on another level, it mocked them for not being privileges, educated and white.

  2. Jennifer Lawrence’s dress looked to me like a cheap knock off of GOOP’s McQueen from 2001.

    Jennifer styled it better and has better posture than GOOP, so she made a horrid dress marginally better. Plus she’s wearing undergarments, always an improvement in dressing UP.

    I think Heidi is trolling the red carpet these days. I can’t think why a supermodel or at the very least someone with supposedly decent proximity to, and more fashion/style knowledge than a regular person consistently picks these tacky hideous dresses. She never dressed this badly before. What gives?

    I really enjoyed the Oscar show. The only moment I still don’t understand, and it fell completely flat, was the Stacy Dash moment. I know she was on Fox News saying BET channel, NAACP, and Black History month are unnecessary, so i’ve been thinking that there was some sort of ironic point being made, but I can’t think what it could be.

    Oh, i’m also sulking that Stallone didn’t get his Oscar. Mark Rylance is the most respected Theatre actor in UK and I suspect Broadway. He is constantly receiving awards if he so much as sneezes.

    Stallone was such a revelation in this film. Who knew he could act? This was his one and only chance at an Oscar. Considering what a popularity contest the whole thing is, he should have won on sentimentality alone.

    Finally, Charlize. A goddess. What else is there to say?!

    1. I heard that Heidi knew the dress was hideous but felt she had to wear it because of her relationship with Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman who has been a guest judge on “Project Runway”. Heidi sucked it up and did her best to look like someone who chose that dress on purpose. I also heard that people on the red carpet were being extra-nice to Heidi because of that dress, sympathetic to her plight of being stuck in Marchesa which some actresses have gone to great lengths to avoid. Btw, Heidi didn’t attend the Oscars, she just walked the red carpet and watched the show at Elton John’s. Once her dress obligations were fulfilled, Heidi changed into Atelier Versace for the Vanity Fair party and was reportedly back to her normal self once freed from the Marchesa nightmare.

      As for Stallone, the whole voting process is so ridiculous. Merit infrequently has anything to do with who wins the Oscar. A lot of cloak-and-daggery stuff happens in Hollywood… people who should have won Oscars have been snubbed because at one point in their careers, they wouldn’t compromise their integrity to play the game. Even though it’s not supposed to happen, Academy members often cast votes without having bothered to watch the films (btw, they actually send Academy members the films for their voting consideration, making it all the more ridiculous)… it’s all about popularity and whose campaign had the most money behind it. But the Academy has a way of righting wrongs. Sometimes it can take over a decade but for those who were deserving, it eventually happens. The proposed diversification measures are long overdue and will benefit the film industry overall. Hollywood -isms (racism, sexism, ageism, etc.) are deeply rooted and it’s going to take a while but at least it’s a start.

  3. Hera zeus, The academy will find another excuse to give him an Oscar, it will be all around recognition or something, but he won’t croak before they will give him one, I would wager, they love him in tinseltown!! I thought most of the gowns were meh though, I missed most of it though, I was watching Downton, I just had to watch Edith call Mary a BE OTCH, one more time, it was classic!!

  4. Night wing wins on every front, basically so adorable and goes with everything to boot! Well done Lola, I love and always read your blog. Gerry

  5. Poor Mindy Kaling. It must be extremely difficult for her to find clothes that fit well. Great post as usual Lola!

    1. Mindy Kaling is 5’2″ and wears a size 10 which tends to be viewed as a physical deformity in Hollywood. Here’s a massive bummer of a story if you want a glimpse into how horrible Hollywood can be. I know someone (friend/former long-distance romance) who worked for an actress who went from a size 2 to a size 10 in a relatively short amount of time. The actress was coming off of a major box office success and wouldn’t leave her house, she spent her days on her couch binging on junk food, ducking calls and people. This actress was considered THE actress to dress for the Oscars that year, all of the designers were desperate to have her in one of their gowns. Designers would send her dresses in a 2 (designers don’t lend out dresses in sizes above a 2) and my friend had to call them up and explain that she had gained weight. After the designers found out about the actress’ weight gain (she wouldn’t physically leave her home so there were no paparazzi pics), they wouldn’t even return my friend’s calls. I’m pretty sure the dress she wore to the Oscars was one purchased from a mall. It’s possible a designer did wind up working with her last minute and I just missed that part (he liked to talk about his feelings a lot, once I fell asleep while he was venting about his day), but I’m almost certain it was off-the-rack. The actress managed to lose a few pounds before the Oscars but still there was a lot of vicious criticism about her weight which dominated Oscar talk as the designers had anticipated. The word “fat” attached to her in various forms was a major part of the Oscar/Post-Oscar buzz and was why they didn’t want to dress her, they didn’t want their brands to to be associated with “fat”.

      Remember all of the controversy that emerged after Chris Jeffries, now former-CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, admitted that sex appeal was very important and, “That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”? His statements reflect how designers view their gowns on actresses, Jeffries was just arrogant enough to publicly admit it. Actresses who are above a size 2 and have their choice of a few different designers are a very rare exception, those who aren’t a 2 usually have to explore other avenues. Granted, actresses make enough money, but it’s pretty frustrating that unless you are a 0 or 2, the designer isn’t interested in you. There are different rules for different sizes in Hollywood.

      A couple of years ago, Melissa McCarthy talked to the press about approaching several design houses, none of which would create an Oscar dress for her. Christina Hendricks, who is 5’8″ and a size 14, after being voted Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive, voiced her frustrations to the media in 2010 that not a single designer was willing to loan her a gown (Zac Posen wound up stepping up after a slew of media outlets ran stories saying who in their right minds wouldn’t want to work with someone as sexy as Hendricks).

      The issue isn’t that the designers can’t make the dresses, they just don’t want to. I’m not sure what Mindy Kaling does, but she may have to purchase designer dresses and have them tailored. Maybe she’s one of the few above a size 2 designers are willing to bend the size rule for. It’s so disheartening, though, that in Hollywood anyone above a size 2 is perceived to be potentially detrimental to a design house’s image.

      1. I think the problem started with Hollywood actresses wanting to be models which them became an industry.

        LONG POST ALERT!!!!

        Before Uma Thurman wore that fabulous lavender Prada in 1995, actresses wore whatever the hell they liked, even with Armani’s best efforts to convince them otherwise or even studio/academy dictats.

        The following year saw Courtney Love’s make over from Grunge princess to Hollywood princess as dressed by Versace, together with Nicole Kidman in another lavender prada that was reminiscent of Uma’s dress the previous year.

        Hollywood took notice of the news coverage of these two fashion moments and every starlet promptly hired a stylist and started working with fashion houses.

        Can you imagine how aghast everyone would be if the actresses styled themselves like Sharon stone by simply pairing a gap tshirt with a long skirt and frock coat for 1996 or her hubby’s shirt with a Valentino skirt 1998?

        The skinny actress trend coincided with this moment and heroin chic moment in fashion where the amazonian supermodels were chucked in favour of ultra skinny models.

        The other consideration is that when actresses turned to fashion, they went straight to the runway rather than editorial. They wanted to wear clothing straight off it.

        Editorial models are given some leeway in size because everything can be edited, positioned to fit the model.

        Runway models a selected to be taller, thinner, with no bulges. The very definition of a human clothes hanger. Runway sizing is and has always been smaller than the norm, even for models. And these actresses are aspiring to that model of scale. So to fit into runway samples, they have to be smaller because they want to wear dresses straight off the runway rather than wait or even editorialise the clothing o what is in their wardrobes.

        People get pissed because designers can’t lend out more dresses to bigger girls, but the clothes on the runway are expensive to produce. Often only one, if not just a few, samples are made. And really they are made to suit skinny giraffes than short, women with curves.

        That’s not to say that shorter, curvier women shouldn’t aspire to these clothes. Everyone should step away from the runway samples. It perpetuates , unhealthy message to all concerned, whether they can fit into the clothing or not.

        And it leads to meangirling all the actresses, especially the bigger girls, in such a way as to make them feel inadequate because a designer won’t lend them clothes.

        The stylists are tied to the design houses, so they will never truly source the best look for a client outside of those parameters. In some cases – see Rachel Zoe – all the clients start to dress the same because they are all being dressed the same whatever their body type and from a narrow pool of designers.

        The RC industry has become so lucrative for all involved that no matter the complaints, no one is looking to simply pull some fabulous piece of clothing from their closet, new or vintage, or even to shop around outside the designated parameters.

        As an example, look how fabulous Demi Moore looked at the Globes in a dress from early 00s that she pulled from her wardrobe.

        Ditto Liberty Ross who attended the Vanity Fair party in a dress she wore to her wedding, but which she’d apparently purchased more than 5yrs ago – sidenote, Galliano is a genius.

        And this goes to the bigger girls too, when Melissa McCarthy took charge of her own RC looks, she’s never looked better.

        When Christina Hendricks first became famous, I really hoped she would wear Vivienne Westwood. A designer generally good for curvy women. Eventually they found each other, but the entire look isn’t pulled together because Christina doesn’t seem to understand how to dress her body. If I were her, i’d hire the costume designer on ‘Mad Men’ as a stylist/personal shopper because that lady truly understood Christina’s curves.

        Ditto Mindy.

        Actually, with Mindy, I find myself always restyling everything she wears. Whether day time look or Night time. Even her make up bugs me. I feel that at this point she works against herself. I don’t want either of these ladies to be thinner or taller. They are perfect as they are. They just need help pulling it together. And I wish they would find a stylist who wasn’t beholden to the design houses, who understood their bodies and sod it if they aren’t prancing around in Valentino.

        1. ETA: Galliano is a genius in terms of bias cut dresses.

          All else in his life is a mess and he has a lot to atone for.

  6. I haven’t watched the Oscars in ages. It just got impossible to endure and seemed more enjoyable the next day when all the buzz happens.

    It looks like our Lola’s nailed the art of the hilarious post Oscar review.

  7. LOLA, According to news sources, Willy and Waity are going to do an engagement on March 11, 2016, and the nine days in between, she’ll need a blowout!!!

  8. I watched the entire thing. The entire, endless parade of gowns and the show that made me fall asleep and lasted about four hours. The only thing keeping me from having a full night’s sleep was my list of possible winners and Twitter.

    My favourites in no particular order were Cate Blanchett, Naomi Watts, Tina Fey, Matt Damon’s wife Luciana Barroso, Jennifer Garner and Chloe Pirrie (Don’t know who she is but liked the dress). And the colour of Brie Larson’s dress… I love electric blue!

    Most adorable man of the evening was definitely Jason Tremblay and I would like to give the “Why On Earth Couldn’t You Wear That Last Year” Award to Patricia Arquette who for some inexplicable reason decided to comb her hair and wear a pretty dress the year she wasn’t actually winning an Oscar but presenting one. Not a huge fan of Charlize’s flappy dress (I don’t in general like the dresses with flaps and strings on the upper part and on very, very skinny ladies) or Olivia Wilde’s “curtains” dress. Saoirse Ronan’s dress was also a bit unflattering but the colour and sequins looked lovely.

    As for the films? A bit of a boring year with mostly just Mad Max (someone tell me a reason to see it) and The Revenant with a couple of other movies sprinkled in so it wouldn’t be only about those three movies.

    P.S. Could Billy Crystal please return…? Or someone… funny.

    1. I miss Billy Crystal.

      I feel very old when I keep telling everyone about the good old days of Billy Crystal hosting the Oscars.

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