When last heard from, Beverly in Movieland was sitting in a grandstand on Hollywood Boulevard, watching the rich and famous glide by. Of course I wondered just what it must feel like to be part of that glittering horde. When I mulled over my experience, three themes came to mind:
Security – We all know, alas, that the world’s not as safe as we used to imagine. Something as friendly and commonplace as an office Christmas party can turn into a death trap. And if we all need to think of ourselves as potential targets for the crazies of the earth, how much more precarious is the life of a star? Let’s not forget what happened to John Lennon: there are twisted people out there who seek notoriety (or the chance to link themselves forever with their idols) by way of cold-blooded murder. That’s why all of us nice folks in the bleacher seats had to go through background checks as well as a serious metal detector. I saw lots of security personnel around the red carpet too, and I know that many major L.A. traffic arteries were off-limits, except for the chosen few, to prevent the uninvited from creating a tragedy.
Scrutiny – Long gone are the days when Joanne Woodward could accept her statuette in an Oscar gown she’d made herself. (She won for 1957’s The Three Faces of Eve, and went up to the stage in a strapless green taffeta that she’d designed and sewn over a period of two weeks. Apparently Joan Crawford sniffed with disapproval that Woodward was “setting the cause of Hollywood glamour back 20 years by making her own clothes,” but almost everyone else admired her as a perfect Fifties housewife.) Today, looking glamorous is absolutely required—even for men—and there are scads of famous designers standing by to outfit the major nominees at no charge. One thing about global warming is that none of the women on the red carpet seemed to feel the need for a coat. Instead we saw lots and lots of skin, sometimes more than was aesthetically appealing. Cate Blanchett, fabulous in ruffled aqua with a plunging neckline, clearly knew how to strike the balance between high style and fun. (I suspect she was also trying to separate herself from her tailored Carol image.) The very petite Naomi Watt, on the arm of her spouse Liev Schreiber, shimmered in a strapless blue and purple sheath. Others, I’m afraid, were pooching out of their tight-fighting gowns, either fore or aft. That’s what made Brie Larson’s look so refreshing: she seemed to be happily sauntering to and fro in the meet-and-greet area, having a lovely time without trying overly hard to impress the fashion police.
Of course it was pleasant to see Leonardo, the crowd’s #1 idol, in tailored evening wear, instead of skins and furs. As well as surprise winner Mark Rylance in a jaunty fedora, and the cute-as-a button Jacob Tremblay of Room, everyone’s favorite Oscar mascot. They all had to look their best—even newscasters like Robin Roberts—because such snarky sites as gofugyourself were standing by waiting to kiss and diss.
Diversity – Then there was diversity, the hot topic of the moment. I absolutely agree that movie roles need to be more inclusive and that some people’s stories are not being told. But on the red carpet, VIPs came in all colors, shapes, and sizes. And (on the surface, at least) they all seemed to really like one another. I’m sure there are behind-the-scenes rivalries, but my view of the red carpet showed me a lovefest.
|Margaret Robbie, Louis Gossett|
|Matt Damon, back from Mars|
|Gentlemen Prefer Blondes? Naomi Watts, Reese Witherspoon|
|Leonardo, of course|
|Lady who's a bit too big for her dress|
Photos courtesy of Bernie Bienstock