Our Hollywood, Ourselves

The Oscars are nothing if not contentious. In the information age, one hears everything from ‘outdated, boring, long, elitist, contrived, and total BS’ to ‘glamorous, classic, timeless, exciting, engaging, and it’s-an-honor-just-to-be-nominated.’

I definitely fall into the latter category. While I can’t say I’ve watched the Oscars every year since birth, I can say that I’ve watched them every year since I can remember, except for one year that I (amazingly) forgot, and I (unsurprisingly) cried a little when I realized. Basically the Oscars are my Super Bowl.

This post won’t be about how host Seth McFarlane lived up to my expectations (mediocre and frequently offensive), or how the broadcast was less satisfying than other years, mostly due a severe lack of cutaways to audience reactions (Stop showing me Seth! Show me more Meryl, Bradley, George, Naomi, anybody!), or about what in the hell Anne Hathaway was wearing.

This post will be about women in Hollywood and how delightful it is to slowly, steadily, witness the subtle diversification of Women on the Red Carpet.

In case slowly, steadily, etc., didn’t drive it home, allow me to further temper this observation. What we are witnessing is not a magical utopia of women of All Shapes and Sizes strutting their stuff toward the Dolby Theater. The prevailing silhouettes are still slim, young, and white. However, in 2013, it felt like there were more alternatives to slim, young, and white than there have been in years past. Here are a few of my favorites:


Before you get all uppity about how Jessica Chastain is slim, young, and white, allow me to counter you with a few key points. Yes, she is young, but she isn’t Super Young. According to IMDB, she is about to turn 36, which is an unusual time for a woman to develop her fame. To wit: 36 is not someone you would refer to as a starlet. She is simply, and more accurately, a star.

She is also slim, yes, but she is healthy slim and not crazy slim, and I love the realness of her – the softness of her arms, the subtle wrinkles by her eyes – and how she is not fighting it tooth and nail until she looks like starved, wet fowl injected with food coloring.

As for white, I have no counter. Girl is white as all get out. Some of the people I mention will be white.

85th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

…Such as Hugh Jackman’s wife. Yes, she is not Hollywood herself, but she is married to Hollywood, and often times that is enough to make women feel they need to meet certain physical requirements.

Sure, she’s getting some flak for the ponytail, but oh how I love her pants suit and how I love Hugh Jackman for loving her and probably loving her pants suit as well, and every time I see them together it helps me un-see just a little bit more LA phony madness.

85th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Okay, so this in’t the bombshell Salma that we’re used to, but nothing can truly contain those curves. Maybe it’s curmudgeonly of me, but I wanted to punch Seth McF in the face after his asinine ‘accents are hard to understand but who cares when she’s hot’ “joke” as a method of introducing her. In a battle of the wits between those two, my money is on Salma every time.


I really want this picture to speak for itself, but I do have to say this: Tiny meets Statuesque and it was black sparkly midnight magic.


Kerry Washington in motion…. The more I see this dress, the more I like it. I especially like it here, in its candid fluidity that showcases the wee lass’ athleticism and grace.


Ugh, just look at her. Pure class. Every time. There is a reason we call her Queen. Also I have never been a hater of white dresses on the red carpet. It’s antiquated and reductive to claim that white gown = wedding dress. This is not a wedding dress. This is a gorgeous woman in a gorgeous gown.


Thank you, Sally Field, for not relegating the drama of the evening to a younger woman’s wardrobe. You are slightly batty, even by actress standards, but this dress was a brave, savvy choice. Your saccharine-saturated apprentice should stop studying your oh-so-sweet speeches and take some cues from your fashion sense instead.

85th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsI know, I know. Shirley Bassey was only there for the Bond tribute, to blow us all over with her performance of Goldfinger. She’s more Motown than Hollywood. Still. Can we make this a thing? Can we arrange for phenomenal, seasoned vocalists to be at the Oscars every year? So they can show up looking amazing and add some pizzazz to the broadcast while they’re at it?


kelly-rowland-oscars-2013-red-carpetThis dress is not my style. I would never choose this dress for me. But for Kelly Rowland, this dress is perfect. She is strong, and lovely, and was a consummate interviewer on the red carpet. Her enthusiasm was genuine and friendly, and her bangs make me want to abandon the side-sweep I have going in exchange for this bold, blunt perfection.
While she is slim, young, and white, I do have to take a moment for Jennifer Lawrence. What she brought to the Oscars last night (and keeps bringing to all that she does), is authenticity. The girl is talented, as humble as an actress can be, and unguarded in a way that Hollywood does not typically support. It helps that she keeps making buckets of money for everyone, but I’m confident that we never, ever have to worry about her turning into this.


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