Tina Rowley

writer + (performer) + [space left open for surprises]

expired oscar fashion commentary

The Oscars were a week ago. The deadline to react to everyone's outfits was last Monday. So this is six days past everyone already not caring very much. And yet here I go, because this is a thing I used to do, and I enjoyed those carefree days spent blowing dandelion seeds into the breeze and critiquing passing eveningwear.

La la la.

Okay, Caesar, let's praise and bury and just wonder about you.

Helen Mirren! Oh, my heart. She's the most racktacular being ever. I'm a heterosexual woman and I just want to run up and shove my hands down the front of her dress. I could do some supreme quibbling and say that I like it when her hair is a teeny touch longer, but that'd be like sitting in a cafe in heaven and sending your milkshake back because you'd ordered Eternal Bliss flavor and were delivered Ceaseless Ecstasy by mistake.

Until last Sunday, I'd never really quite grasped the hype around Halle Berry's beauty. I never thought she was, you know, a mousy spinster, but I didn't think she was Woman Incarnate either. But then I saw her interviewed before the show in that cloud of fucking Ooh La La, and I got it. If there's ever an actual Miss Universe pageant, with "ladies" from other planets/solar systems/galaxies, we'd have to send Halle Berry. Freaky sexy elfin majesty.

Perfect slippery drizzle of silver. Gwyneth Paltrow, you know what? I even kind of like your newsletter. I said it. I like Goop. And I love that brooch on your hip. That's the kind of original, interesting Oscar jewelry I can get behind. Also, my friend Hilary met you at a play one night at the Flea Theater, and she said you were a real peach. And while I was laid up after my surgery, I watched you and Joaquin Phoenix in the film "Two Lovers", and holy cow, you were so good. Stand still while I stick a bunch of gold stars on your forehead.

Cate Blanchett. Lifetime Achievement award. Yes, those things look like warts, and yes, your torso looks like a puppet stage where a fancy little Punch and Judy show could begin at any moment, but you still look ridiculously cool. I love dresses that highlight an elegant back, too. A favorite phenomenon. And that's one of the best combinations of hairstyle and dress I've ever seen. It's kind of startling in its simplicity. Oh, whoops. Cliche. But sometimes simplicity is startling, damn it.

Speaking of startling simplicity, Mandy Moore! Normally, this is the kind of hairstyle I can't stand at the Oscars. So severe. And this dress trumpets out in a sort of stark angle. But she looks like this retro-futuristic, porcelain thing, and it is MAGIC.

Hey, Tina. Why did you include a picture of Julianne Moore at the Oscars that's from several years ago? Well, listen. I know. But this is one of my favorite looks of all time. And it's a segueway. Moore to Moore. And I bring it up because the effect Julianne Moore makes here is the kind I always hope to make when I get dressed up. Effortless, feminine, quietly original. I bring that up because....

...this, conversely, is how I fear I'll look. Oh, man. This look says to me, "It's what time?! We have to leave when?!?! No, no - no, I need another half an hour. This isn't - let me just do something with my hair, I'm....FUCK. Where are my other shoes? All I can find are...all I see are my orange shoes! What? Fuck you, Keith! Yes, this is the dress I'm wearing! Because...because I spilled Pinot Noir on the one I was gonna wear! Just shut up and help me find my silver shoes!"

Let's try this exercise again:

How one hopes to look. Oh, Michelle Williams, in your brilliant marigold Brokeback Oscar dress with that soft, dreamy hairdo. You should have just said, "World, forgive me. I know this is stone cold Grey Gardens crazy, but I'm not changing this outfit or hairstyle EVER. I'm going to walk around like this until I'm dead. Truly, get used to me. This is how I look forever and ever, amen."

But you did this instead. I don't even want to talk about it. And so many people loved this business. Death...well, not even warmed over. To do list: warm over death outfit before leaving house. Shit! And I even wrote it down! Hideous Valley of the Dead Dolls.

Hi, Sandra Bullock. I don't have a lot to say. I don't know why I included you. This is the picture of inoffensiveness. Tips to the pleasant. Thank you for not wearing an old-school, diamondy necklace. Hair's a little severe. But everything else checks out. Yes, this is me padding my Oscar paper for length.

Scarlett. Scarlett. Let me tell you what I like about your dress. I like the oval of lace around your back. I like the deep red color of that one designated bit of lace. 

Yes. I like that...let's call it a 10" x 22" region.

Otherwise, what the hell?! What is going on? Has the shock of fucking Sean Penn addled your brain? Can you just simply not think straight? "Oh, kids, it's true. Grandma nearly went bankrupt operating a bordello. And when she went to the Oscars that year, why, she just ripped down the drapes and made her own damn dress. Grandma's always been resourceful. You do what you have to do to get by. Watch your nickels, though, kids. They slip through your fingers faster than you think. Let's see, what else? Sean Penn always liked it best when I didn't wash my hair. Did I tell you kids about Sean Penn n' me?"

When I saw Mila Kunis in this dress, this is what I thought, in order:

1. Who the hell is that?

2. Oh, Mila Kunis. Whatever.

3. .........did Mila Kunis tattoo her areolas lavender for the Oscars??

Finn loved her dress, by the way. However, he loved everybody's dresses. Seriously. Everybody's. Zero discrimination. "BEAUTIFUL!" "I ADORE IT!" "I LOVE IT!" So, factor that in, Mila Kunis.

Amy Adams, it pains me to say what I'm going to say. So let me preface this by saying I thought you were ultra-brilliant in The Fighter. You and Mark Wahlberg were one of my favorite screen couples ever. This would have pained me less to say the year that Julie & Julia came out.


No. I'm not going to say it. But I will say this: walk your makeup over to natural light before you leave the house. DO your makeup in natural light if you can.

You were so good in The Fighter.

Anne Hathaway, you wore a thousand gowns this year, but I think this one sums you up the best. Dork. Bubble.

Hilary Swank, goddamn it. Every year I beg you not to dress like you're going on a Golden Anniversary cruise with your fourth husband. (I realize that math is sketchy.) And the thing is, it's not the dress. It's that bun. It's that godforsaken bun that reappears year after year. So keep scooting over to the left because I'm tired of you, Hilary Swank. My left. Your right. About four more feet.

Hello, Melissa Leo. Everybody hated this dress, but I liked it. Okay, I didn't like the golden tin foil peeking out. And the shoulders were awfully blocky. But the concept of a plunging mandarin collar openwork lace dress like this, I like it. But maybe knee-length, for brunch. I don't know. When you began talking up there on the podium, for the first couple of minutes I was like, "Aw, that's so great. Sure, it must be overwhelming. Sure." And then after a bit I was like, "Welp. It's about time for the music." And then you yelled "FUCK". Lot going on, Melissa Leo.

zzzzzzzzzzwhat? Oh, it's just Natalie Portman, no need for me tozzzzzzzzzzzz

Doesn't Reese Witherspoon look like she could organize the shit out of your silverware drawer?

I generally have no reaction to the men at awards shows. Nobody goes to a wedding and freaks out about how nice the groom looks. So I only have things to say when things go wrong. I know. Did I expect everything to go right for Russell Brand? I know. But Russell Brand must grow back his beard. Some people are meant to have facial hair, and Russell Brand is one of them. Although I will say that his casting in "Arthur" is spot-on, because without the beard he looks just like Dudley Moore, only more debauched and stretched out on Silly Putty. However....

....yes. That's right. That's how you're supposed to look. Like the devil's big sexy poodle.

So, Oscars. James Franco and Anne Hathaway, huh? Well. Let's look to 2012, think about some fresh hosts. I submit for your consideration: