The Oscars 2023: The Last Word

Photo by Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times

I’m sorry but the Oscars just aren’t the Oscars without the red carpet. The “champagne” carpet (actually beige or off-white) ruined my online troll for “red carpet Oscars.” I seriously had to search “Oscars 2023 arrivals.” Whats up next? A remaking of the iconic gold statuette into a travertine blob so as not to offend any particular gender.

On Sunday night Hollyweird congratulated itself for the 95th time via that coveted little gold man and all the hoopla that goes along with him. (Update: I just read that Jamie Lee Curtis is referring to her Oscar as “they/them” in deference to her transgender daughter). In full disclosure I have not watched any award shows this year and would not have watched this one other than for review purposes. I have seen exactly one of the films nominated and that was when my husband streamed “Top Gun: Maverick” which I endured out of inertia – I was comfy on the couch. (I’ll admit to somewhat enjoying it despite the sappy cringe factor).

Shall we begin with the fashion high points? Fan Bingbing arrives (apparently she shook off her 2018 disappearance over tax troubles) and as far as I’m concerned everyone else can go home. Her Tony Ward gown is giving me Scarlett O’Hara vibes – I guess it’s the green and the cape-like drama which turns out to be big this year.

Since I’m a big fan of vivid color I did appreciate Angela Bassett’s royal purple and Cara Delevingne’s rehabilitation as a “woman in red” each with stunning diamond necklaces, even if they were perhaps not the most innovative interpretations of award dressing.

Florence Pugh did a punk Valentino version of pouf but between the dingy grey (unwashed sheets) and the bike shorts, chunky black platform heels and “micro” bangs (are those different than “trauma bangs”?) I’m not loving it.

Pumped-up volume is definitely a thing this year but so are columnar silhouettes such as Emily Blunt’s very simple Valentino and Nicole Kidman’s stunning black sequin Armani Prive with strategic paillette flowers replacing the runway bows and a slit with legs for days. The ubiquitous high slit is seen on Halle Berry as well although I don’t know how she can see out of her strange “hair-don’t.”

It’s a no for Ana de Armas in washed out seafoam-y Louis Vuitton with pressed embellished petal hem which supposedly took 1,000 hours to make. Yes, I get that she’s channeling modern day Marilyn Monroe as per her movie role but choose a more attractive color please. Worst of the worst is Allison Williams in a pale pink Giambattista Valli disaster – it looks like Valli just threw everything at the wall (or at the gown) and it stuck there. Ugh!!

Not sure how I feel about Janelle Monae’s custom Vera Wang. I love the skirt but it goes a little Halloween for me with the black bustier.

Let’s talk about Gaga who walked the carpet in fresh off last week’s runway Versace (perfectly demure in the front yet sheer rump exposed) and heavy makeup. Ever the chameleon she looked almost unrecognizable but acted quickly to lend a hand to a fallen photographer – where was the “crisis management team” or were they only employed to handle “slap shots?” Even more remarkable – Gaga performing “Hold My Hand,” her Top Gun: Maverick tribute in ripped jeans and black t-shirt sans fards and in desperate need of lip balm.

I watched open-mouthed — no makeup on a world stage is the final frontier and the stuff that nightmares are made of. I salute her “bravery” but think there’s an endorsement there for Blistex before and after – I’d also love to know what makeup remover they used to strip her down so quickly without producing red raw skin.

Speaking of skincare – leave it to Hugh Grant who presented with former “Four Weddings and A Funeral” co-star Andie McDowell, to liken himself to a “scrotum” for not using moisturizer ever. After giving Ashley Graham a rough time in a pre-show interview perhaps he could have been featured in animated form for the nominated film “My Year of Dicks.”

Did anyone else think the ominous refrain (or “DUN DUN DUN” as The NY Times dubbed it) of “All Quiet on the Western Front” soundtrack (which won for Original Score) reminded them of “Jaws”? I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the shark to appear during the German WWI film trailer.

And yes, speaking of seats, I kept spying Tems in her netted bridal lewk in the audience — pity the poor guy stuck behind her trying to peek around at the stage. Bad form or black woman at church?(according to Twitter.) Someone actually suggested it was overlooked when Gaga did it awhile back since she’s white.

Other observations – Oscar winner Jamie Lee Curtis was barefoot possibly before and definitely after she jumps up and down for fellow “EEAAO” winner Michelle Yeoh. One of the winning directing Daniel’s (Kwan) “Punk” burgundy and gold jacket borrowed from the film’s wardrobe has a stain on the lapel.

Maybe he could have gotten it dry cleaned? It’s not like no one would notice as he appeared on that stage multiple times collecting statues. The eleven wins? Impressive or overkill for a “loopy, anarchic comedy” featuring an “evil bagel and talking rocks,” as per Sam Adams of Slate? Adams also predicts that due to more diverse voting membership “Oscar weirdness has been set much higher, and it’s not going to go back down.”

Mindy Kaling changed from the exact same boned peplum bustier outfit in white for the carpet to one in black for the show. I think she also let her hair down. Host Jimmy Kimmel did a reverse change from black to white dinner jacket and mostly behaved except for an egregious J6 editing joke. Enjoyed him flipping the “scorecard” backstage from 0 to 1 to record how many Academy Awards shows were without “incidence.”

Lastly, I missed the highlight of the entire show — when Kimmel brought the emotional support donkey (a stand-in for Jenny of “ The Banshees of Inisherin”) out on stage. He added that she’d be waiting patiently backstage in case anyone wanted to hug her. I think she would have been a perfect foil for anyone who made an “ass” of themselves. Hugh Grant could be first in line.

Red Carpet Notes by Marilyn Kirschner:

The dust has settled on the 95th Academy Awards, and I have a few thoughts about the evening’s fashion. I was disappointed. I kept waiting to be bowled over, I wanted to be bowled over, and I really wasn’t.

What I saw was a plethora of legs and boobs. Halle Berry is ravishing and has an amazing body, but that dress. Please!

By the way, I am also seriously ‘over’ dresses and gowns that are so enormous they take up two seats.

Jessica Chastain always looks like “Jessica Rabbit.” She almost always opts for that same shaped dress.

Nicole Kidman looked every inch the movie star: impossibly beautiful, tall, and thin in Armani. I loved that she wore her blond hair down, not up, and the dress suited her.

I loved Cate Blanchett because I always love Cate Blanchett. Her choice was unexpected and not the easiest for most to pull off, but it suited her. Cate always makes intelligent and informed fashion choices.
Bravo to Cate!

You will never see Blanchett in gowns slit up to her private parts or her boobs exposed. That is not her thing. Cate loves fashion, and fashion loves her back.

Speaking of intelligent fashion choices, Rihanna in black head-to-toe Alaia! Yay!

Black reigned last night. Danai Gurira accessorized her beautiful black Jason Wu gown with a towering black headpiece as an homage to her African roots.

Jennifer Connelly looked amazing in her simple yet dramatic black Louis Vuitton gown. You do not need 12,000 yards of fabric to make an entrance.

I did love Lady Gaga in Versace. It was perfection! Not too fashiony but not too classic. It was just right, and most importantly, it fit her perfectly. I also loved her hair, makeup, and choice of accessories.

The pink satin Prada dress with its shimmering black train worn by Vietnamese actress Hong Chau vas very Prada, subdued yet dramatic when seen from the side.

I adore Jamie Lee Curtis and was glad to see her win an Oscar. FYI, my mom lived in the same building as her dad in the Bronx back in the day when his name was Bernie Schwartz lol. I thought her dress washed her out thoroughly. And with its fitted shape and beads, it looked too “Mother–of–the-Bride” for my tastes.

I think Jamie would have looked better in strong color or black. A long black dress with a cape over it for drama to offset her silvery hair!

Zoe Saldaña? Sorry, I cannot warm up to lingerie dressing on an important red carpet like the Oscars, even if it is Fendi Couture.

Where were the real fashion renegades? Where were the great pants ensembles? Why does everything have to be a dress or a gown? I cannot believe someone didn’t wear Jean Paul Gaultier’s Haute Couture by Haider Ackermann! Well, there’s always next year.

Latest Comments:

  1. Your content, photos and presentation are a fashionista’s dream! So happy to have met you at Publicolor last night and…

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

  1. LOVED both Laurel’s and Marilyn’s commentaries. As usual, they’re both spot-on! Thanks to them both for having suffered through a pretty boring show for the sake of great reporting.

  2. I’m sorry, but the red carpet Oscars just don’t feel the same without the champagne carpet. I seriously had to search “Oscars 2023 arrivals.” What’s up next? A remaking of the iconic gold statuette into a travertine blob so as not to offend any particular gender.

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