Point/Counterpoint Oscar Fashion

Welcome to the library’s annual tradition featuring reference librarians, Marialice Wade and Laura Bernheim, giving their brutally honest opinions about the fashions at this year’s Academy Awards. Click on the links to get a birds eye view of the fashion, request a related book, read a related article, or request the film.
Agree with us? Want to tell us we’re crazy? Sound off in the comments section.
Read about Oscar coverage as far back as 1929 by exploring our database featuring historic Boston Globe and New York Times articles.

Marialice’s Turn
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly—again

Once again, I find myself watching the Academy Awards just to make snarky remarks about the fashion or lack thereof.
This year the hair was better but I really miss necklaces on those bony sternums, especially the diamond variety. Charlize Theron had a gorgeous necklace, but a dress with weird nude colored straps.
Sometimes, I just don’t understand how an actress can sort through the many dresses thrown at her by all the great designers, pull one on, gaze into the mirror and say “yes” to the dress.

  • Like Julia Roberts. She is not known for her fashion sense, but who steered her to this peplum look? Oh yes.
  • And Anna Kendrick. Even her shoes were bad.
  • You would think after all those nominations, Meryl Streep would make better choices.
  • Who would ever think, even with the best arm candy around, that Angelina Jolie could go wrong. I did not like the placement of those sparkles.
  • Amy Adams had bad hair and an uninspired navy dress.
  • Poor Kerry Washington looked like she wrapped a sheet around her baby bump and it didn’t quite reach around. The only pregnant woman I thought who looked good was Olivia Wilde.
  • And why was the beautiful Portia De Rossi wearing a tablecloth. She must have known her wife was ordering take out.
  • Dishonorable mention also goes to Whoopi Goldberg, Liza Minnelli, and Kristin Chenoweth.
  • I know everyone loved Lupita Nyong’o and her blue dress and headband, but I would have preferred this dress on a fuller figure.
  • Naomi Watts had a great simple look without that plunging neckline so many of the dresses had.
  • Even though Jennifer Lawrence may not have the best balance, she had a great scarlet dress and another backwards necklace!
  • This Year I think I will award the first best and worst for men:

Laura’s Turn
Aw, I thought Kerry Washington looked great in her dress. I think she handled the baby bump well, and I admire any Hollywood woman who enthusiastically asks for a piece of pizza. (And did she ever get her pizza? My fellow Oscar watchers and I were yelling at the television, “Give the pregnant lady her pizza!” Never fear, she got some gluten free pizza in the green room.). Elsa Pataky’s dress, on the other hand, was not my cup of tea. (Her accessory on her arm, however — aka husband Chris Hemsworth was not too shabby) As for the rest, here are my picks for best and worst dressed:

Best Dressed

  • I thought Lupita Nyong’o looked stunning. Not everyone can wear a headband to an awards show and pull it off, but she does. And I thought the dress was flattering to her figure. I also appreciated her lovely speech in which she mentioned that “so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s.” Much more sincere than the sentiments expressed by James Cameron 16 years ago during his acceptance speech for best director? (Remember when he asked everyone to take a moment of silence for the victims of the Titanic sinking and then seconds later screamed, “I’m King of the World?” Stay classy, James!) Nyong’o’s best accessory was her date, her brother, Peter, who looked very handsome and also wins a lot of points for getting in on the Ellen Degeneres self portrait. Heck, he got a better spot in the picture than his sister!
  • Sandra Bullock looked great. Her figure handles the strapless dress well, and she gets away with wearing her hair down. The color of the dress and her hair color complement each other perfectly.
  • Jada Pinkett Smith is a knockout. Surprisingly, though I was a bit disappointed with her husband, Will Smith. Normally, he’s one of the few men to make my best dressed list, but I’m not keen on his look, this year. He doesn’t actually look bad and is far from being one of the worst dressed, just that because he normally is one of the male standouts (in a good way), I have higher expectations for him.
  • Meryl Streep looks great and always manages to look classy. I like the bracelets though I’m not sure what I think of the belt. She also gets bonus points for taking two pieces of pizza! (I think one may have been for her husband, but still…)
  • June Squibb’s outfit was very flattering on her. It’s maybe a half inch too long, but otherwise it looks great. Her hair and makeup is also perfect. And kudos to her for graciously laughing at Ellen’s old age joke.
  • Channing Tatum may be my new Will Smith in terms of best dressed male. The tuxedo is a perfect fit. I’m not sure how I feel about the hair, however. Leonardo DiCaprio looked smashing, but he loses points for perpetuating the stereotype that Hollywood stars don’t eat and refusing a piece of pizza. Bradley Cooper also looked nice for the men. Jamie Foxx was handsome, as always, and his daughter, Corinne, also gorgeous, was not afraid to admit she eats by devouring her pizza. (So there, Leo!)
  • Ellen Degeneres gets honorable mention for the Glinda outfit. Judy Garland’s children seemed to enjoy it as well.

Worst Dressed

  • Agh!!! Anne Hathaway tried to blind me. Seriously, I needed sunglasses when she presented.
  • One of my fellow Oscar watchers mentioned that it looked as if Whoopi Goldberg suddenly decided that she didn’t want to wear a strapless gown and hurriedly threw on a blouse underneath it. I had missed the Golden Globes so I didn’t even realize that Julia Roberts apparently also had buyer’s remorse there about wearing a strapless gown, until Marialice pointed out to me. To debate on who wore it better would be the same as saying someone actually wore it well, which they didn’t.
  • And speaking of Julia Roberts, I kept hoping that someone would hand her a pair of scissors to cut off the piece of fabric peeking behind her right sleeve. (Though that was the least of her fashion problems)
  • Marialice may not have been happy with Liza Minnelli’s outfit, but I was less happy with Liza’s sister, Lorna Luft. Liza’s outfit actually could have been quite pretty if the blue wasn’t super duper shiny. I don’t know what would have happened to my retinas if she and Anne Hathaway were in the same shot. But, back to Lorna Luft. What on earth was going on with that red lacy stuff on top? Was she wearing red because she wanted to wear the same color as the famed ruby slippers? The elusive Joey Luft definitely wins the best dressed award among Judy Garland’s children. I noticed though that he was wearing red, as well. So did he and Lorna wear red for the ruby slippers, and Liza wore blue in honor of Dorothy’s blue and white checked gingham dress? Have I just seen The Wizard of Oz too many times?
  • I can’t believe how many people put Charlize Theron and Kate Hudson on their best dressed lists. I just kept hoping that Kate Hudson had invested in a lot of double stick tape, and I felt that Charlize Theron’s top looked too much like an unfinished bra. I agree with Marialice that the necklace looked nice, though.
  • I really want to like Chrissy Teigen’s dress, but it just doesn’t work. If I saw that on the rack somewhere, I would think it was really cute, but would realize it was not meant to be once I wore it. Truthfully, she pulls this off better than I would, but it’s just too long. If it was a cocktail dress, it would be adorable (though not really Oscar worthy, I suppose)
  • I was not a fan of Jared Leto’s look (especially the bow tie). However, unlike Leonardo DiCaprio who lost points, Leto gains points for his beautiful tribute to his mother and brother (who were also his dates), plus passing around the Oscar to all of the journalists during his press conference. You’ve come a long way, Jordan Catalano!

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