Oscars 2015 Recap: The Broadcast’s Most Emotional Moment

First of all, let’s get best dressed out of the way:

Emma Stone

Emma Stone blew everybody out of the water (and got covered in seaweed?) with this chartreuse Elie Saab number

My initial reaction: “What is that, seaweed?? WTF she looks like an alien!” Second reaction: “Ohmygosh it’s like. Seaweed. Like sexy glamorous seaweed. She’s a sexy glamorous bug-eyed alien.” By the end of the night: “Wait, everybody at this year’s Oscars is dressed so conservatively and here’s Emma Stone, national treasure, resident alien supermodel, dressed in a wildly unusual and eye-catching color. Not only does nobody else on this carpet stand out like she does, nobody in all of awards season dared to wear something as bizarre and striking as this! And look at that face!! She freaking KNOWS. All hail, bitches!!!”

Anyway. Patricia Arquette’s speech was great, and Meryl and JLo’s joint reaction was even better. I’m happy for Julianne, I don’t really have words for what happened with Menzel and Travolta, and seeing Julie Andrews did my heart good. The ceremony was full of some unexpectedly cathartic moments; in defiance of #OscarsSoWhite we were treated to a rousing performance of Selma‘s “Glory” followed by an unabashedly political speech from John Legend and Common. Here’s hoping the Academy can pull their head out of their asses a bit more and open their minds to films that aren’t only biopics centering on brilliant misunderstood white dudes.

But for me, I must admit, the most emotional part of the broadcast – tears spring to my eyes just thinking about it – came somewhere in the middle….

 

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Smart Mad Men Recap: S3E2, “A Day’s Work”

SPOILER ALERT: It’s Valentine’s Day on Mad Men.

Mad Men

Don (Jon Hamm) and Sally (Kiernan Shipka) discover their french fries are cold. So are their feelings.

“Just tell the truth,” Sally tells Don. And then, miraculously, he does.

A lot can happen in a day’s work, and a lot does in “A Day’s Work,” the second installment of the penultimate season of Mad Men. (I’m calling bullshit on AMC’s seven-episodes-this-year, seven-episodes-next-year crap. It’s seasons 7 and 8, smartass.) The show’s writing is in top form, and seems poised to show off each cast member’s unique talents. This week we were served high-stakes office politics, petty office politics, and a whole lot of kickass character development in one of Mad Men’s most fascinating and crucial relationships.

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Smart Mad Men Recap: S3E1, “Time Zones”

SPOILER ALERT: Mad Men is back.

Mad Men season 7 episode 1

Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) wears an adorable beanie-like beret in the Season 7 premiere of MAD MEN

Something about the way Peggy tilts her head, lifts her hand, and says through a slight squint, “That’s a home run,” is startlingly Draperesque. Mad Men has drawn parallels between Don and Peggy before (remember Peggy’s handjob in the movie theater?) and as we embark on its final chapter, it appears this show ultimately isn’t Don’s story, nor twisted to become Peggy’s. It’s about both of them, how an ad man and his secretary relate to each other, are related to each other, and relate to a time in history when all the rules were changing.

Matthew Weiner has dabbled in tongue-in-cheek self-awareness before, but I don’t know if we’ve ever gotten as blatant a meta moment as this season’s opener:

“Are you ready? Cuz I want you to pay attention. This is the beginning of something. Do you have time to improve your life?”

Everything before that last line feels intentionally direct, from Freddy addressing the camera to the tone of finality inherent in the assertion that this is a “beginning.” Self-improvement is Weiner’s season 7 thesis statement; he’s situating the time we have remaining with these characters as a period of possible redemption. Is there a difference between improving your life and reinventing it? How much of starting anew means saying goodbye? Continue reading

Oscars 2014 Recap: Death to Montages

2014 Oscar winners

Academy Award winners Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Lupita Nyong’o and Jared Leto

Look, I love Pink. And I love The Wizard of Oz. But I know I’m not alone in saying Pink singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at last night’s Oscar ceremony was a complete waste of my time. We were treated to not one, not two, but THREE generic montages, all of which were tied vaguely to the evening’s gag-worthy theme, “Heroes in Film,” and all of which featured mostly white male characters. John Travolta’s painful introduction of Idina Menzel as “Adele Dazeem” – while hilarious by internet standards – was one of many instances that made me wonder, hey, couldn’t these actors maybe memorize their teleprompter lines? And I adore Ellen DeGeneres, duh, but her milling around the audience the whole time, apparently endorsing Samsung Galaxy, didn’t work as material.

The Oscars are, and probably always will be, a magical night for me and all those who love movies, fashion, and mainstream pop culture in general. But how does the award ceremony featuring some of the world’s most entertaining and beautiful people end up being so tedious? Continue reading

Smart Reads: 2014 Oscar Edition

Happy Oscar Night, everyone! Some crucial, CRUCIAL thoughts going into tonight:
Tom & Lorenzo book

Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me

  • Tom and Lorenzo have posted an excerpt from their book, Everyone Wants To Be Me Or Do Me, in preparation for tonight’s “Gay Super Bowl pre-game show,” as they put it. It’s a hysterical and all-too-accurate breakdown of red carpet culture that simultaneously exalts and mocks Hollywood as only they can. Continue reading

The Top 15 Looks of the 2014 Awards Season So Far

This is not a fashion blog. Nor will it ever be. This is a come-for-the-fizzy-pop-culture-fun-stay-for-the-theater-criticism blog and don’t you forget it. And while I could never approach the level of sharp-eyed discernment of most fashion writers, I like looking at pictures of pretty celebrities in pretty clothes as much as the next gay. The red carpet is one of the many reasons awards season is better than Christmas. So in preparation for this year’s particularly spectacular Oscars, let’s open presents and ADMIRE THESE GENETICALLY GIFTED PEOPLE FOR NO REASON.

#1) Amy Adams in Antonio Berardi at the SAG Awards

Amy Adams

Amy Adams, diva

For a while I was worried Amy Adams would become this year’s Anne Hathaway – depicted as the overly serious, unhip antithesis to Jennifer Lawrence. I myself foolishly predicted she wouldn’t make the cut at the Oscars. Continue reading