The 85th Oscar Academy Awards might be over on ABC TV channel, but it is far from over on the Internet and TV channels dedicated to the entertainment and fashion. E! Entertainment TV channel, for example, has been running the reviews of the red carpet fashion and ceremony for the second day already, offering such shows as the Fashion Police, where the ‘judges’ dissect the best and the worst of the red carpet, as well as the shows featuring exclusive interviews with the celebrities after the Oscar’s and at the post-Oscar’s celebrity parties.
A few more days, and the US Weekly, Life & Style, People, In Touch and many other celebrity gossip magazines will be hitting the stands offering their juicy details of the Oscar’s, just as I did the next morning, when I picked up the NY Post and Daily News New York just to see what they’d put on the cover and say about the event. It came to no surprise for me that the NY Post had a falling Jennifer Lawrence on the cover, while the Daily News featured the faces of the winners. Let’s just say the word “red carpet”, “Oscar’s”, “Jennifer Lawrence’s fall” and Ben Affleck’s passionate acceptance speech – and the fact that The First Lady Michelle Obama herself announced the winner – will be on the mouths of many movie fans and movie critics in the next few weeks.
Hence, it’s just appropriate to ask the following question: Who doesn’t really know what the Oscar’s is? There might be just as little number of people in the world, who do not know what the Oscar’s is as there might be number of people, who believe in UFO.
Showed in more than 200 countries, more than 40.3 million people watched it last Sunday, up to about 3 percent from 39.3 million viewers last year, according to the Nielsen ratings service. And it might have even had more viewers if the Oscar’s ceremony was hosted by the Hollywood veterans of comedy – Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Whoppi Goldberg, Steve Martin and/or Eddie Murphy, but, unfortunately, those days might be over and the new audience wouldn’t get to experience the Oscar’s the way my generation did.
Sometimes my friends ask me why I care about the Oscar’s so much to the point that I haven’t had missed one ceremony since the early 90’s, when I was old enough to watch it. Only my early Oscar’s experience came in Russian, then – German, and only after we’ve moved to USA in 1994 I started watching it in the original – English – and in real-time. Thus, I could easily say that I grew up with the Oscar’s thanks to my mother, who has always been a film fanatic and showed me the best of the best when I was growing up.
My mother was THE ONE, who exposed me to the first Soviet films – from Sergey Eisenstein’s classic “Battleship Potemkin”, the famous Odessa Steps scene from which has been used later by the greatest in the film industry, like Francis Ford Coppola in the Godfather, and “Alexander Nevsky” to the world classics like “Gone with the Wind”, “Funny Face”, “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” and “Enter the Dragon”. You name it, most likely I’ve seen it all and more.
I even remember my mother’s study/work desk covered with a glass, under which she would place the photos of her favorite actors and musicians, like Joe Dassin, Omar Sharif and Julie Christie. I’ll be always thankful to my mother for introducing me to the great cinema, the interest in which led me later to study the art of film at the university as a minor – it also helped to be more passionate about it thanks to my professor, who was a student of Francis Ford Coppola – and later – to working in the film industry in Los Angeles, first in film advertising for a company S. Callan Advertising and then – for a film producer. And this is how I’ve been becoming a faithful fan of the Oscar’s. By the way, believe it or not, but my mother has audited the film classes at the university with me – she just wanted to come to the lectures and see the classics with me! This is the kind of a strong bond and common interest in films I have with my mother. Not only we’ve watched the greatest works from the filmmakers from around the world – like The Cabinent of Dr. Caligari and Citizen Kane, but we would analyze, what made them to be the examples of the greatest cinematography forever. That is why I might be the only ‘dinosaur’, who still collects the actual DVDs, which is now about two hundred and still growing. (I’ve recently bought the films Bill Cunningham, Love Story, 2 Days in Paris (and waiting for the third installment of her Before Sunrise sequence – Before Midnight, which was just featured at the Sundance Film Festival last January) and The Lives of Others.
Every year before the Oscars in the period between March of ‘this year’ and February of the following year, not only I would try to watch both American and foreign films, after reviewing the critique, but once the Oscar’s nominees are announced, unless I’ve already seen it, I’d try to see as many as possible of the nominated films to be able to see, why certain works have been nominated and to be able also to cheer for my favorites during the viewing of the Oscar’s.
It also helps to be interested in fashion as well, as the Oscar’s might be the most important fashion event – if not THE most important – of the year, which gives fashion designers the greatest marketing opportunity in the form of gowns, tuxedos and accessories worn by the celebrities on the red carpet. The red carpet over the years has become an event of its own and each year it becomes longer and receives more coverage by the press, offering the close-ups of the celebrities and interviews from the red carpet as they are making their way to the auditorium. I usually compare the Oscar Academy Awards to the Super Bowl as both events are the most expensive and most important to the advertising industry as they offer the most global outreach of the brands to the millions of the potential customers.
Oscar’s is, by far, the most grand event in the life of not only Hollywood and American showbiz, but it’s one of the most important and biggest entertainment events in the world because, it’s the event that changes the lives of both the nominees and the winners of the award forever. How? This is how:
1. The nominees, even if they don’t win the award that night, secure the upper placement among the major players in the entertainment industry and the acknowledgment of their work alone earns them better film deals, better salaries, better fashion choices, better services and a worldwide name recognition and… more expectations from their agents. They now will never need to consider mediocre projects for a low pay and compete for a script with the actors of lesser talent.
2. The winners’ fates change the same way, only know they will be both glorified and scrutinized, because everyone in the industry, as well as their loyal fans, would expect them to only do great projects. God forbid, if they’d star in a film that fails at the box office – the film critics would be very hard on them from now on. They could only go up from here.
3. The foreign nominees and winners not only secure their golden path into the Hollywood – as it did for Keira Knightley and Russel Crow, but their lives in their native countries no longer be the same – the paparazzi will now watch every step they take, just as they now do with Adele and Britain’s Got Talent’s Susan Boyle.
To make a long story short. They are now taken seriously by the showbiz and their peers and they’ve finally gotten the respect they’ve deserved.
I don’t want to talk a lot about the Oscar’s, because I won’t be the only one who is doing it. I will not say anything more new than the other journalists already did. I only wanted to show you the ‘subculture’ and perception of the event from the perspective of one big fan of the Oscar’s and filmmaking – myself. Yes, I’m a big fan and it might sound silly to the people who have other interests, but so then we can call silly the people who religiously watch The World Cup, Olympics, Super Bowl and Grammy’s. Moreover, I’ve been fortunate enough to be a witness of the Los Angeles’ preparations for the Oscars in 2001 and 2007, which I could capture on camera forever thanks to the proximity of my home and work to the Hollywood Blvd., where I lived for two years. I would literally walk by the Kodak Theatre – where the Oscar’s used to be – every day one the way to my work and see the progression of the Oscar’s auditorium, statues, gates, drapes and such being built-up over the weeks leading up to the February’s ceremony.
Hence, let’s talk names, or, rather, the names of the fashion designers, who were able to secure the ‘placement’ on the red carpet and who held the majority of the ‘spots’.
Oscar’s is the event that features the best of the best and secures free coverage in many media formats during and long time after the event. Thus, the designers really push it hard for the celebrities to wear their gowns, tuxedos and accessories and not only – they require to say ‘who they wear’. This is when the designers’ PR teams need work extra hard months in advance to get the personal stylists to the celebrities consider their gown choices. And if a designer gets to dress two, three and more celebrities on the red carpet – they are golden! Just ask Aliza Licht, the very busy PR Director for Donna Karan.
This year the following fashion designers secured the presence on the red carpet:
- David Meister for Melissa McCarthy and Marcie Gay Harden
- Versace for Halle Berry and Jane Fonda. (Have I’ve mentioned that Jane Fonda looked fabulous and I’d like to look as good and healthy as she does at 75! The rumors say it’s because she practices yoga every day and eats very healthy and very little. Could I then have what she’s having, please?)
- Reem Acra: Kristen Stewart
- Rafael Cennamo: Giuliana Rancic
- Carolina Herrera: Renee Zellweger
- Marchesa: Olivia Munn
- Tony Ward Couture: Kelly Osbourne and Kristin Chenoweth. Who is Tony Ward?
- Donna Karan Atelier: Kelly Rowland
- Louis Vuitton: Reese Witherspoon
- Valentino for Sally Field and Jennifer Aniston
- Armani Prive for Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts
- Jenny Packham: Adele
- Alexander McQueen for Salma Hayek and Amanda Seyfried
- Oscar de la Renta: Amy Adams
- Naeem Khan: Stacy Keibler. I saw his show a couple of years ago.
- Alex Mabille Couture: Zoe Saldana
- L’Wren Scott: Nicole Kidman
- Badgley Mischka: Queen Latifah
- Vivienne Westwood for Naomie Harris and Helena Bonham Carter
- Zuhair Murad: Catherine Zeta-Jones
- Tadashi Shoji: Octavia Spencer and Norah Jones.
- H&M: Helen Hunt. Yes, really – The Best Supporting Actress nominee proudly stepped out in a navy gown from retail chain H&M. Who says you can’t wear a low-budget gown if it looks as good as some of the most expensive ones?
- Prada: Anne Hathaway
- Miu Miu: Kerry Washington
- Elie Saab: Sandra Bullock
- Gucci: Jennifer Garner
- Robert Cavalli: Jennifer Hudson
- Dior Haute Couture for Jennifer Lawrence and Charlize Theron
As you can see from the list, there were a few fashion designers, who got to dress a few celebrities for the Oscars. These will be: Dior Haute Couture, Vivienne Westwood, Armani Prive, Versace, David Meister, Tadashi Shoji and my personal favorite – Alexander McQueen.
A few more things to mention about the Oscar’s red carpet and ceremony.
Thanks to the likes of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kelly Osbourne, Melissa McCarthy, and Nicole Kidman and Zoe Saldana we get to learn about the less known fashion designers. For example, who might have heard of the fashion designers Tadashi Shoji, Alex Mabille Couture, David Meister and/or Reem Acra prior to this year’s Oscar’s? I haven’t.
Also thanks to the likes of Helen Hunt, we now know that a gown doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars to make a statement. H&M can do just fine.
The Oscar ceremony has also become more relaxed over the years, as some of the actors and their ‘dates’ wore sneakers to the last Sunday’s event. These will be Sally Field and Bradley Cooper’s mother, who joined her son for the night to celebrate his very first Oscar nomination for the film “Silver Book Linings.”
I was also surprised to see so little of Marchesa on the Oscar’s red carpet, taken that the designer of the Marchesa, Georgina Chapman, is the wife of one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood – and now a New York local – Harvey Weinstein. What’s not the best way to promote your designs than the Oscar’s!
And now, some of my favorite couples on the red carpet and the reason why I love and respect Hugh Jackman, Dustin Hoffman, Christoph Waltz, Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Rudd.
If you live in New York City, you’ve might already noticed how low-key is Hugh Jackman, who we often see doing outdoor activities with his two kids in and around Manhattan. But if not, you might have noticed that Jackman was the first one to jump out of his seat to help Jennifer Lawrence to get up when she’s got trapped in her gown and fell down the stairs on the way to accept her very first Oscar’s. Sadly, this moment will be set and stoned in the history of the Oscar’s forever now. These kind of things – falls, blurbs etc. – seem to be very entertaining to the Hollywood crowd.
The following couples have gotten the attention on the red carpet:
1. Quentin Tarantino and writer Lianne Spiderbaby. Congratulation to Tarantino! The guy can still make a film that is as funny and weird as it is very violent and visual about it and who can get an Oscar for it. It also helps to have Leonardo diCaprio and Christoph Waltz to star in your movies.
2. Daniel Day Lewis in Domenico Vacca and his wife Rebecca Miller. Lewis is one of my favorite actors. His acceptance speech for the Best Actor in the Leading Role was done in a very smart, British humor. He just proved me right when he said that his wife has been living all these years with a very strange man – or, in other words, with a man, who is known to stay in a character both on and off screen until the film is completed. Imagine going to bed with Lincoln every night? A strange man, indeed. Even Constantin Stanislavsky would have been surprised that some actors are taking his Method Acting so serious.
3. Jamie Foxx and Daughter Corinne Bishop. I don’t know about you, but I had no idea that Foxx has such a grown-up daughter.
4. Don Johnson and wife Kelley Phleger.
5. Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw
6. Bradley Cooper and his mom Gloria Cooper. I’m assuming Brad is taking the height after his farther.
7. Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan. Two words – very cute!
8. Mark Ruffalo and wife Sunrise Coigney
9. Hugh Jackman in Tom Ford with wife Deborra-Lee Furness. The fact that Jackman – a few more great men in Hollywood – has been married to the same woman all his life is almost an urban legend for the Hollywood, where the marriage unions don’t usually last that long. I adore Hugh Jackman as a great actor on stage and in film. Have you seen him on Broadway? Have you heard him sing in Les Miserables? Then you should.
10. Paul Rudd and wife Julie Yaeger. Another New York City local and is proud of it. Have you seen him in the Broadway play “Grace” last year? I did and I can attest that he’s as good on stage as in film, if not better.
11. Dustin Hoffman and wife Lisa. Hoffman and Meryl Streep are my most respected and beloved American actors of all time. There’s absolutely nothing they can’t play – from comedy to drama, from accents to impaired characters – nothing is off limit to them in the way they stretch their Method acting.
12. Christoph Waltz and wife Judith Holste. After making such a splash in Hollywood a few years ago, when Waltz won the Oscar’s for his absolutely brilliantly portrayed character in Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds”, I had a slight intuition that he’d win again, and he did – Christoph Waltz won the Best Actor in a Supporting Role for the Tarantino’s most recent film “Django Unchained”. And if you haven’t seen him in Carnage with Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet and John C. Reilly, please do. It’s one of the best indie films in the last few years, where Waltz is brilliant as well.
And let’s not forget about the little ones.
Quvenzhane Wallis, the adorable face behind one of the most provocative, emotional indie films “Beasts of the Southern Wild” walked the red carpet in Armani Junior. She’s been very favorite among the New Yorkers for a few months already.
Another child actor, Fatima Ptacek, walked the red carpet in Bonnie Young. She was one of those ones who I haven’t gotten to know until the Oscar’s. Have you? Get to know her here.
What were your favorite(s) moments and celebrities of the Oscar’s red carpet and ceremony? Let’s share and vote!
But in the meantime, I’m planning on seeing this week my Oscar misses: Amour – a nominee for the Best Picture, Argo – the winner of the Best Picture and Django Unchained – a nominee for the Best Picture – this is just my regular after-the-Oscar’s catch-up to do.