Revisiting Oscars Fashion, Whether I Like It Or Not


Every March I threaten to have an Oscar party and then I don’t. I tell everyone I know to take out their old prom dresses for the party (I still have mine, a lime green mini-dress that was much more awesome than my actual prom, considering that I stayed at the prom for approximately five minutes, danced with no one while my date pretended that we had never met and drank out of an embossed flask. Also, all my friends cried.) Then I invite them to come to my room, where I promise to provide champagne and petite fours. Then I usually just decide not to call anyone, and drink the champagne by myself. This year was no exception: I ended up watching Oscars alone in my pajamas.

I was happy that I shirked my social obligations and watched the Oscars alone, however I was slightly disappointed by the dresses. Sure, there were no out-and-out disasters, but there were also very few truly original outfits. This is the Oscars, people! You should experiment with fashion. Thus, in my lists below, I tried to highlight people that really pushed the fashion envelope in the best and worst ways, both intellectually, and un-intellectually (coughBeyoncécough). Thus I give you:




Nicole Kidman may be anorexic. She also may have a drunk husband who cheats on her. It’s also weird that she hasn’t been photographed with her kids since 2004. However, her Oscar frock was brilliant. Kidman got a lot of criticism for her Balenciaga couture creation, but personally I thought it was exceptional. I loved the fit of the dress and I thought the bow was a perfect accoutrement to a rather severally geometric garment. Also it was really red.


Usually, I unequivocally hate what Maggie Gyllenhaal wears. She falls victim to things that I would never even be tempted to try, like Heidi braids or white t-shirts without a bra. Her Oscar dress, however—a dark blue Proenza Schouler with ostrich feather trim—was both dramatic and original: something quite hard to pull off. Pregnancy—and therefore, Peter Saarsgard—have inexplicably inspired this former granola hipster to hire a competent stylist.


Pretty much every time I’ve seen a Cate Blanchett movie, I’ve fallen asleep, so my opinion of her as an actress is rather uninformed. I do however, love everything she wears to awards shows, which is clearly the more important thing. Her gray Armani Prive gown was both figure-flattering and beautiful. It looked incredibly heavy because of its ornate beading, so she must also be very strong, which you have to give her credit for.



I truly believe that Beyoncé has lost her mind. Jay-Z bonking Rihanna pushed her in that direction, but Jennifer Hudson winning that Oscar made her insanity ascend to homicidal levels. You could see the madness in her eyes as she stormed the red carpet in an seafoam-green Armani Prive atrocity that looked like it had a vine growing on it. I still love her, though. It takes guts to pose with your armpits exposed like that.


There is something about Anne Hathaway’s dress—perhaps it’s the combination a large funereal bow and an elaborate white lace train—that makes her look like an overgrown Victorian valentine. I don’t know why she wants to destroy all of the fashion-addict good will she received after her spunky performance in “The Devil Wears Prada,” but apparently she does. I don’t really understand her, and I am afraid I never will.


I am on a crusade against seafoam-green. I hate it. It is for mothers of the bride. Kate Winslett’s Valentino dress was not horrible, but it was slightly unflattering, and that disgusting color just about put it over the edge. The fact that this monstrosity actually got accolades disgusts me. I’m sorry, but I can’t really talk about it.

There are many more dresses which I could have highlighted, but I just can’t really deal with them right now. Suffice it to say, those rejects needed a little more oomph or visual interest. The Oscars is one of the few occasions where it is appropriate to wear couture, and starlets should take advantage of it. I want someone to wear a dress with a glittery image of Michael Jackson embroidered on it. No, wait—I’m lying, because that already happened and I did not love it.

—Staff writer Rebecca M. Harrington can be reached at