Saturday, 25 February 2012

The comic value of the Oscars

The Academy Awards have annually been a laugh a minute for me. I can only think of the Ms Universe pageant as a close rival in the comedy stakes. The Oscars this year was by no means an exception, with predictability painted all over, akin to Joel's silica gel collection. There was of course, the usual pre-event speculation in the entertainment columns of most newspapers suggesting who might be a winner for the best actor and actress awards. I questioned the rationale for that. It was obvious that the cardinal rules that guaranteed a sure-win would be to portray a dead or dying dignitary ( think Helen Mirren in The Queen and Colin Firth in The King's Speech) or to portray a person with a disability ( think Dustin Hoffman in RainMan and Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot). And actresses have the additional route of opting to portray someone strong and feisty to effect the same outcome ( think Sandra Bullock in the Blind Side and Julia Roberts in Erin Brokovich).

As I write this blog entry, the best actor and actress awards have yet to be announced. My vote goes to the dashing Jean Dujardin for his role in The Artist ( just because he is so handsome) and Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady because it's Meryl, whom I have always admired for her acting skills.

Over the weekend, there were the pre-event tips across social media that spun wisdom on everything from food to fashion. An example was "how to have a great Oscars home party - the best recipes to tantalize your Oscars night". People actually themed a home party around the Oscars and pretended that they were having canapés and champagne with the stars? It made my Tarts and Tartan-themed party during Hogmanay last year look like a kindergarten tea party.

Another expounded the "do's and don'ts" when walking the red carpet. I found it difficult to fathom how complicated it would be for one walking the red carpet to grin and wave daintily while stopping in front of the cameras to pose by arching the back, lifting that chin, putting one leg forward and placing a hand on the hip. I do that quite frequently at the Marble Slab ice cream parlor near my office, in the hope that the lady behind the counter gives me a larger portion of violet crumble, my favorite ice cream topping. Then, it also helped that I learnt the art of an oscar-worthy performance of welling my eyes in self-pity from Shrek's Puss in Boots. It came in handy from time to time when I was requested to submit my budgets at the office.

I watched the awards for the clothes. All that red carpet finery, most of which did not belong to the actresses, was what most people tuned in to the Oscars for. I enjoyed the Oscars fashion parade best. It possibly generated more buzz than the Oscars itself. This morning, I enjoyed watching the stars sashay, gush, and giggle for 2 hours as they strolled down the red carpet, some with gowns so massive they required their own red carpets. When the actresses showed off their frocks, they provided me with a strange sense of comfort to know that fashion stylists and designers, like some of my advertising agency art and creative directors, don't always get it right in spite of their claim to creative perfection.

This year, black and white colors ruled with a few hits and misses. There were two actresses who looked like they were going to fly off to the Tron Legacy 2 auditions. They were Judy Greer in a sequined black and gold number and Shailene Woodley with her Valentino couture skin-tight white gown. And Rose Byrne in her shiny black toga-styled Vivienne Westwood seemed to have just come from the auditions for The Sludge. George Clooney looked predictably gorgeous in his Armani suit and was so clever to accessorize with a gold-clad Stacy Kiebler who looked like a walking Oscar statuette beside him. That's telling the Academy like it is, George, " The Academy and it's cheap gold trinket can go stuff itself. I've got myself a life size walking and talking one."

Some actresses who chose to go with colors did it with style like Michelle Williams' classic Louis Vuitton Ferrari-red gown. It was expected of size 2 figures like hers to look flawless. And I always believed that if one do not have a size 2 figure, then one should carry a well-cut dress which shows off one's best assets. And example is Viola Davis' green Vera Wang bustier dress. I reckoned she needed a chisel and hammer to remove the sticky tape from her breasts later. And if one is size 22, like Melissa McCarthy, chiffon is best avoided. Her Marina Rinaldi number accentuated her massive frame and that sequined cinched waist just hollered, "Look! No waist!" it didn't help that her shoes were made by Atwood, " my best friend," she gushed. She claimed the shoes came inscribed with a note that said " to my best friend Melissa", I hoped it also said " Maximum load weight: 5 tonnes."

In fact, the event fashion critiques were not any better. Honestly, can someone explain how Kelly Osbourne with her copper colored hair and raccoon eyes could get on the panel of Fashion Police? She made her equally raccoon-eyed, straggly-haired dad look like Brad Pitt after co-hosting the kids' sleep-in with Kate Gosling.

So you see? What a laugh. The live telecast of the 84th Academy Awards was a great way to start my otherwise boring Monday morning.

Postscript: As expected, Jean Dujardin and Meryl Streep did win the best actor and actress awards respectively.

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