Oscars Open Thread

So the Oscars were last night, and a woman won Best Director for the first time ever! And that same woman’s movie won Best Picture! Which is exciting, especially since the next big contender was Avatar, which I have not seen mostly because I hate James Cameron and I really hate colonialist masturbatory pet-projects. Lauren wrote about The Hurt Locker here, and Sady covered Avatar pretty well over at her regular pad. Yay Kathryn Bigelow, boo James Cameron.

The big Oscar disappointment for me was Sandra Bullock winning Best Actress. Even though I love Sandra Bullock — she seems very sweet and smart and funny and like she’d be really fun to have a few beers with, because she would definitely be the person encouraging you to eat barbeque at 3 in the morning, and who doesn’t love that person? And her dress was one of my favorites last night, and whoever styled her did a fantastic job. But the movie she won for? And the character she played? It’s White Lady Saves The Day to the max, and I’m just awfully tired of movies about how tough white women come in and save children of color. Or, as David Edelstein put it, “[Bullock won] because her role in The Blind Side spoke to two semi-contradictory impulses in Academy voters: a) guilt over being filthy rich and white; and b) a hunger to channel your altruism in ways that enable you to crush other people on the playing field.”

But really, the Oscars were full of un-surprises, so onto the important things: What everyone was wearing. My absolute favorite was Sandy Powell, the woman who won the Oscar for Best Costume Design. But I can’t find a picture of her, so my #2 was Cameron Diaz (pictured above; Maggie Gyllenhaal was a close second). She was my surprise favorite of the night, especially because she often shows up to awards shows looking… troubling. And she generally just doesn’t do it for me. But she rocked the gold dress and I loved it.

On the dude side, of course Tom Ford was the best dressed:

But I also loved:

What did you all think (of the show or of the clothes)?


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43 comments for “Oscars Open Thread

  1. March 8, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I don’t like awards shows all that much, but I am going to congratulate Ms. Bigelow for winning the Biggest Prize of the night. Well done, Ms. Bigelow!

  2. Sid
    March 8, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    I think Gaby Sidibe deserves some recognition for that sumptuous shade of blue she had on, I love how Jeff Bridges channelled his inner Lebowski, Geoffrey Fletcher’s acceptance speech was ridiculously beautiful, the 5 person intro/lovefests for actor/actresses was just a teeny bit over the top, and hot damn, Kathryn Bigelow and Anna Kendrick are stunning.

  3. March 8, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    I didn’t watch it, but as you mentioned earlier, there’s so much emphasis upon the rich white liberal guilt complex™ that the decisions made are not genuine as much as they are concessions to standard-order tokenism. I’m glad a woman won Best Picture, but if it’s ten to fifteen years before another woman wins, then true equality has not exactly been accomplished.

  4. FashionablyEvil
    March 8, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I loved Barbra Streisand’s, “Well, the time has come,” comment. Goosebumps.

    But more importantly, SJP’s dress? Really? Not only is it shapeless, but she kept tugging at the neckline when she and Tom Ford were presenting making it look even more ill-fitting.

    And I want to be Maggie Gyllenhaal. I think that about covers it.

    • March 8, 2010 at 3:41 pm

      But more importantly, SJP’s dress? Really? Not only is it shapeless, but she kept tugging at the neckline when she and Tom Ford were presenting making it look even more ill-fitting.

      I know, everyone HATED it except for me. But I loved the color, and I loved her intense giant hair.

  5. Michelle Smith
    March 8, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    I was kind of distracted by the fact that every time the film Precious was mentioned, the camera panned to… Morgan Freeman! Was he even in the film? NOPE. He’s just black.

    Also the narrators saying things like “Will the big winner be a woman, an African American, or one of the other three talented and well-celebrated directors?!” (The Woman and The African American are talented too… no??)

    I mean, I did like the show. It was entertaining. The dancers during the best-original-score presentation were pretty sweet. I just couldn’t not-focus on the frequent off-color comments.

  6. March 8, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    We gave up the song performances for interpretative dance, Booo!

    BTW what’s the deal with including Michael Jackson in the “memorial” reel but leaving out Bea Arthur and Farrah Fawcett? Double Boooo!

  7. norbizness
    March 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I have to admit, it did take me a while to remember what movies Farrah Fawcett and Bea Arthur had been in (Logan’s Run and Mame (1974), respectively).

  8. sylvie
    March 8, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    I’m really disappointed with all of the pitting Kathryn Bigelow and her ex-husband James Cameron against each other crap. It’s petty and silly, and it seems like the feminist bloggers are doing it just as much as the mainstream press. I don’t often hear the same banter from Ryan Seacrest as Feministe, but today I have.

    They were married for two years and divorced TWENTY YEARS AGO for goodness sake. They are friendly and continued to work on projects together years after the divorce.

    As for Avatar, it was a fun movie with a semi-moving story, and certainly a technological feat. But what Tiger Beatdown fails to grasp is that–despite its cliche’s– Avatar is a woman-positive movie. Zoe Salanda’s character is an incredibly strong woman, gifted hunter, and all-around badass who saves the day. Yes, she saves the man’s ass–not the other way around. The only time she stops to cry in that movie is when her father is murdered. Moreover, ALL of the female characters in Avatar are strong women–there’s not a shrinking violet among them. No, I don’t think it deserved best picture (Precious had my vote), but can we please stop with all the James Cameron vs. Kathryn Bigelow nonsense? You are better than Star Magazine. I know you are.

    • March 8, 2010 at 4:16 pm

      @sylvie — Huh? I wasn’t pitting James Cameron against Kathryn Bigelow because they were married, but because they were the two Best Picture and Best Director front-runners. Everyone seemed pretty confident that it was going to be one of the two of them. Plus I hate James Cameron, so that too.

  9. March 8, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I confess, while I did not want Avatar and Cameron to win… the intense animosity (the large number of “suck it James Camerons” for example) I saw online last night mystify me. I could see if he had been smug and condescending about Bigelow in all of this… but instead, he was polite and gracious about the competing nominations (as was Bigelow-for all the BIGELOW vs CAMERON-they added nothing to that fire). He, in fact, stated outright that she and the Hurt Locker should win Director and film. It’s not like he was counting on the Oscar win for anything. He’s openly said he has no need for it…didn’t worry himself about winning or losing… so it seems rather silly that people think it means anything to “in your face” Cameron about the loss. The real story is Bigelow’s win, and it detracts from her story to make it about some petty rivalry that only existed between the people who loved Avatar and the people who loathed it.

  10. March 8, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    @Michelle Smith

    I agree with the “WTF” about the white show often panning over to any African American in the industry if ANY Black person wins an award. Hmmm. Racist much?

    And, re:
    Also the narrators saying things like “Will the big winner be a woman, an African American, or one of the other three talented and well-celebrated directors?!” (The Woman and The African American are talented too… no??)

    That title comes to mind: All the AFRICAN AMERICA WOMAN? Which is she? Why do they invisibilise the race of Kathryn Bigalow? Does she not have a race? Yes. Is her race irrelevant to her being able to make her film? No.

    The only reason the Academy would let a white woman win is because her film is so damned pro-U.S. militarism, which is, as we know, deeply racist and pro-rape. If the first African American man, Lee Daniels, had won, at least his film was pro-woman!

    And can we have a CONGRATULATIONS for Mo’Nique? You know, the woman who is an African American?

  11. March 8, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    @Comrade Kevin,

    Comrade Kevin 3.8.2010 at 3:02 pm

    I didn’t watch it, but as you mentioned earlier, there’s so much emphasis upon the rich white liberal guilt complex™ that the decisions made are not genuine as much as they are concessions to standard-order tokenism.

    I won’t even credit them with white liberal guilt. Such “guilt” hasn’t manifested in anything meaningful happening over the years, except, as you note, tokenistically. That’s not enough white liberal guilt!

    I’m glad a woman won Best Picture, but if it’s ten to fifteen years before another woman wins, then true equality has not exactly been accomplished.

    A white woman won. Not just “a woman”. She is raced in a way that affords her all manner of privileges which allowed her to make the film she wanted to make, a pro-U.S. one. Could she have gone on and on any more about OUR troops, and neglected to pray for those OUR troops bomb the shit out of?

    Until the Academy is comprised in a representative way of the people who are the U.S.: Brown and Black women, Indigenous women and Latinas, and until most films are not white- and anglo-centric, we will know there’s no equality.

    Equality, even in the most liberal sense, has never been a goal in the U.S. Speaking about it disingenuously is a goal that has been accomplished in the U.S.

  12. March 8, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    @Jill

    “plus I hate James Cameron” LMWMAO!! Awesome.

  13. FashionablyEvil
    March 8, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    But I loved the color, and I loved her intense giant hair.

    Did you like the back, too? Where it looks like, um, how to put this, she’s excreting diamonds?

    • March 8, 2010 at 5:05 pm

      LOVED the back :-)

  14. orlando
    March 8, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I haven’t seen the film yet, but I’m so glad a woman got the award!

    I think Kathryn Bigelow, Hellen Mirren and Kate Winslet looked amazing.

    Some of the ladies were way to thin :(

  15. ks
    March 8, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    I have to say, I was happy that Avatar didn’t win Best Picture. I think it should have been District 9 (of the ones I’ve seen, anyway), but I was pleased they went with something other than Avatar.

    I was pretty annoyed, but not really surprised, that Sandra Bullock (who I usually love) won. I haven’t even seen the movie, because all that deliberately sentimental, “feel good movie of the year” bullshit really gets on my nerves. But also, in what world does Meryl Streep not always deserve whatever award for which she is nominated, especially when she’s completely brilliant playing Julia Child (who I also love). And if someone in the academy thinks that, since she already has more than one and let someone else win, then Gabourey Sidibe was awesome too (plus, the color of her dress was great–loved that blue).

    And, for my money, Queen Latifah looked absolutely gorgeous. Loved that dress and the color was great on her.

  16. Samantha b.
    March 8, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Norbizness, you are committing a sin of the highest order, which is failing to acknowledge bea Arthur’s role in “History of the World, Part I. I will forgive you, but only because you are fabulous.

  17. Sara
    March 8, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Rachel McAdams also looked stunning.

    I let out a sign of glee when Bigalow won. I hated Avatar (it was utterly painful to watch) so I like that Avatar didn’t win awards.

    I haven’t seen The Blind Side because I saw the trailer at the cinemas and my partner and I started laughing. Another Remember the Titans? Another “the wonderful white woman” is saving a black kid. Gag me with a spoon. No thank you. However, I will have to see it as I have seen some of the other nominated performances and thought they were better.

    However, I loved Sandra Bullock’s speech. Hilarious and moving all at the same time.

    I loved seeing the director of Up wearing an Ellie badge (you will only understand this if you’ve seen the movie).

    As a Linguistics student, I *loved* the winner of the Foreign Language film who thanked the Academy for not judging Nav’i as foreign language.

  18. Bitter Scribe
    March 8, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    “The Blind Side” did kind of suck, but Sandra Bullock’s performance was very good. I’m glad she won.

    I especially admire her because she took time off during Oscar weekend to actually show up and accept her Razzie for worst performance. I can’t remember the name of the movie she “won” for, but she reportedly showed up towing a wagon with several hundred DVDs of it, which she proceeded to distribute to the crowd. The lady has a sense of humor about herself.

    I like how Maggie Gyllenhaal had the nerve to wear a print dress–can’t remember a nominee doing that before. I also loved her performance in “Crazy Heart,” although I couldn’t help thinking that in real life, she would have taken one look at Jeff Bridges and run the other way.

    (Not to take anything away from Mo’Nique–she was terrific too, and deserved her Oscar all the way.)

  19. Bitter Scribe
    March 8, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Oh, and another thing…I’d never seen Kathryn Bigelow before and had no idea she was such a stone fox!

  20. Zes
    March 8, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Julian – in fairness most Americans are white at present, so to say that the majority of films should be about those who are black, brown etc is a bit odd. I’m not saying ALL films should be white-centric but clearly it’s OK if some are. This stat will be true for about another 20 years when white will become an overall minority but the single biggest group. It’s Latinos who are really being shafted in film, as they are and will remain for some time the second biggest group in America, but are grossly under-represented in Hollywood, particularly among directors, executives etc. Blacks are currently about 12.5% of the US population. But they are not 12.% of directors and big stars and that, of course, represents a glaring and wrongful inequality of opportunity.

    For a woman to win director is very significant. Women are 52% of the population and would need to win 82 of these in a row for equality or a fair representation to be reached, against 11 for blacks (that being 12.5% of the then total of 93). It’d be nice to see a woman of color win of course. If you believe it is easier for a woman director than a black one to get a movie greenlit you are having a laugh. I’ve worked there and know a lot of people in the industry, and it simply isn’t – women’s careers get very screwed right when they should be taking off, because of time and influence lost to childbearing/raising, which is a disadvantage that no man of any race faces.

    What actually makes a woman or black man have an easier time of it is actually social class (which alleviates a lot of the problems of damage to your career due to childrearing as higher class women can afford more help and are more likely to have a partner and supportive family). A working class white woman or black man will have a far harder time than, say, Sasha Obama (a black woman) would, were she inclined to work in Hollywood. Class is not spoken of nearly often enough in these discussions, even though it is pretty much the only factor that can transcend race, gender, orientiation etc.

    The most over-represented group in Hollywood movies is black men (albeit in shitty roles like gangster/prisoner/mugger). The most under-represented on screen is women of all races, aged 40-60 (when women do get roles they are also shitty – women get only 30% of speaking roles, 25% of leads, and only 50% of movies pass the Bechdel test). By that count Sandra Bullock, aged 45, was actually representing the most numerically marginalized group in the Best Actress category.

  21. Karen
    March 8, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    I didn’t watch the show, mainly because the only Best Picture candidates I’d seen were “Avatar” and “Up.” I did, however, check out all the clothes today. Thanks for allowing us to discuss dresses!

    I loved Gabby Sibidhe and Mo’Nique’s dresses, and the fact that everyone in “Precious” wore sapphire blue in honor of the woman who wrote the novel on which the movie was based. Also, Ms. Sibidhe’s dress was GORGEOUS. WANT.

    I loved Sandra Bullock’s and Cameron Diaz’s gold dresses too. Very old Hollywood glamour without being stodgy.

    I did not love Sara Jessica Parker’s bedazzled gift bag, however. The thing doesn’t look like it fit her, that round thing on the back looks like it would would hurt to sit on. I mean, if she’s going to wear an ugly dress, it should be comfortable.

  22. Zes
    March 8, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Karen – also Monique wore a gardenia in her hair in honor of Hattie McDaniels who wore one when she became the first black woman to win and Oscar. I thought that was awesome.

  23. March 8, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    orlando, can we not do the body policing thing?

    Zes, I don’t think it’s purely a matter of representing people proportionately, although moving towards that is a big part of it. It’s a matter of how people are represented. Even in films with lots of characters of colour, or with main characters of colour, whiteness is still often centred, as we can see with The Blind Side, for instance. That is, not only the white characters are centred but white experience, white viewpoints, etc.

    ‘If you believe it is easier for a woman director than a black one to get a movie greenlit you are having a laugh.’ ‘Class is not spoken of nearly often enough in these discussions, even though it is pretty much the only factor that can transcend race, gender, orientiation etc.’

    Let’s not play Oppression Olympics here.

  24. PrettyAmiable
    March 8, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    On an entirely superficial note, I think Queen Latifah ALWAYS hits it. I honestly can’t think of an award show where she didn’t look absolutely gorgeous.

    I also think whoever that person is wearing the blue dress that turns white at the bottom? I love the dress – on someone else. I think it’s an interesting piece that I would never have the guts to wear.

    And I think all suits and tuxes look the same. Shrug.

  25. PrettyAmiable
    March 8, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Bitter Scribe – the Razzie was for a role where she played the “Crazy Female Stalking a Guy Who Isn’t Interested.” I forget the name too and I haven’t seen it (mostly because of the premise – but bear in mind that I could be oversimplifying the character and the plot). It’s All About Steve or Something About Stan or something to that end.

    Anyway, the Razzie was for worst couple. The whole movie strikes me as kind of icky though.

  26. timothynakayama
    March 9, 2010 at 12:14 am

    I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen anyone even deigning to mention what men wore at the Oscars.

    Actually, I’m pretty sure no one would notice if all the men just upped and left or never showed up. To many of the folks I know, it still IS mainly about the dresses.

  27. Bagelsan
    March 9, 2010 at 2:47 am

    To many of the folks I know, it still IS mainly about the dresses.

    I couldn’t tell those tuxes apart to save my life — at least with a dress I can vaguely distinguish them based on color and overall foofyness. :p But that makes me think how fun an all-women Oscars (Oscarina?) would be; dresses everywhere (and a few tuxes!) and Best Director on down is all women. ^^ Of course, I’d expect that women would still be represented just as little much at the coed Oscars as they are now…

  28. March 9, 2010 at 3:25 am

    It’s interesting that this year’s Best Picture nominees were nearly all overtly political–even if the political execution of most ended up being enormously racist in their respective white savior complexes (The Blind Side, District 9, and Avatar)–and military-themed, because I think it shows where we are as a country. And the fact that The Hurt Locker, which I view as deeply feminist and anti-war in its depiction of the dangers of unchecked masculinity, won is something I think we should be proud of.

  29. prefer not to say
    March 9, 2010 at 8:41 am

    I realize I’m way late to this thread, but can someone please give some love to Vera Farmiga’s dress?

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/hottopics/archives/196974.asp?source=mypi

    Kay, thanks.

  30. debbie
    March 9, 2010 at 9:01 am

    I agree with Feminist Review. I thought The Hurt Locker was profoundly anti-war, and had some very interesting critiques of miltiarism and militarized masculinity. I guess it’s not super explicitly anti-war (although the quote at the beginning is a big clue), and it is focused on American soldiers as opposed to Iraqis. However, I firmly believe that we need to be having conversations about the long term effects of war on soldiers beyond the very superficial and often deeply ableist discussions of soldiers who are injured, soldiers with PTSD, etc.

    I thought Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were TERRIBLE. Especially that part at the beginning where they were all “I see so-and-so….” Also, I loved how everytime I saw George Clooney, he looked really bored and irritated to be there. He also made that very clear on the red carpet during the Canadian network’s pre-show.

  31. ks
    March 9, 2010 at 9:03 am

    I especially admire her because she took time off during Oscar weekend to actually show up and accept her Razzie for worst performance. I can’t remember the name of the movie she “won” for, but she reportedly showed up towing a wagon with several hundred DVDs of it, which she proceeded to distribute to the crowd. The lady has a sense of humor about herself.

    And this is why I love her. But (not having seen the movie, because, blech) I still think one of the others should have won. Her speech was great, though.

  32. March 9, 2010 at 9:17 am

    But what Tiger Beatdown fails to grasp is that–despite its cliche’s– Avatar is a woman-positive movie.

    By comparison with District 9 or Star Trek ReStart, yes, it is. But that’s a hell of a low bar to cross.

    By comparison with – oh, say Alien – no, it isn’t.

    It did occur to me, though, that if Cameron had had the same courage to make a revolutionary casting decision in Avatar as he did thirty years ago in Alien, and had Jake Sully played by Vivica Fox or Gabrielle Union instead of a straight-out-of-the-box white guy, though nothing else in plot or script changed, he would have made a movie that would have been worth talking about. Shame he got more cowardly about casting in his old age…

  33. March 9, 2010 at 10:14 am

    @sylvie,

    It can be woman-positive all the way, but it’s still fundamentally a white savior movie. Technically, The Blind Side is also woman-positive from a certain perspective- but it’s still a white savior movie.

    (Avatar was also intensely stupid. Arrows that penetrate bullet-resistant glass? Why jump up and down on the slow-moving aircraft when you can just drop large rocks through the rotors? There were a gazillion stupid things like this.)

  34. norbizness
    March 9, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Jesur: Ridley Scott made that casting decision; Cameron directed the first sequel (Aliens).

    P.S. Not being interested in The Blind Side, was there some departure in the screenplay from the real-life events that made it especially insidious or grating?

  35. March 9, 2010 at 11:07 am

    James Cameron stan for life right here – but I am really glad that Kathryn Bigelow won. And that “Avatar” didn’t get Best Picture. Because no. Just no.

    My absolute best-dressed of the night is probably Cameron Diaz. Stunning. Flawless.

    I appreciated Diane Kruger’s dress; I thought it was really inventive, and a big risk, and I guess some might say she didn’t pull it off, but I am squarely in the opposite camp. The dress is frothy and flowery – a perfect dress for spring.

    Also, love to Elizabeth Banks. I love that colour – it flattered her perfectly – and the train.

    Jeremy Renner was bangin’ – nice silver tie – though I’d probably still say “bangin'” if he showed up wearing a trucker hat and garbage bag.

    Also, I thought Kristin Stewart looked terrific. Love the black dress and the make-up and hair.

    Also, if you click through this collection of photographs, there is definitely one of Sandy Powell. You’re right, she looked amazing.

  36. Zes
    March 9, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Chally – yes you are right. This is why I talk about how eg black men are represented, as muggers and things – villains, and usually incompetent. Indeed competent villains are usually white (eg Russian spies), or at least Italian (eg mafiosis). Or you can consider that even when there is a female lead she will usually be the only 3D woman.

    But as far as class, America, in my experience, is in denial about the appalling rigidity of its class system – which I have found to be worse than that in the UK – and that’s a problem. It is hard to fix a problem nobody talks about.

  37. Bitter Scribe
    March 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Not being interested in The Blind Side, was there some departure in the screenplay from the real-life events that made it especially insidious or grating?

    Well, I don’t know how “insidious or grating” this is, but the real-life Michael Oher has refused to see the film because of its inaccuracy. Specifically, he objected to the implication that he hadn’t played football before entering the Christian rich kid academy, whereas in fact, he’d played in Pee Wee leagues and junior high.

  38. Another Sara
    March 9, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Can we give some love to JLo? It was my second favorite dress of the night, after Sandra Bullock’s Marchesa gown. She was just perfect. I’m mixed on Sarah Jessica Parker. I usually like Chanel, but I would have liked something more architectural.

    For the men, I thought Tom Ford also won, but when it’s your business to dress men, you should be winning. I want to give some attention to Zac Efron, who switched it up with a skinny tie, and looked so very pretty.

    I was happy Kathryn Bigelow won Best Director, but really wanted Precious to win for Best Picture. But, I think they did really well, anyway.

  39. orlando
    March 9, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    I didn’t mean it as a body policing thing, rather as an image policing thing. Celebrities are always very proud about how they are role models for their fans. I think they should also recognise that their image can ruin their fans’ lives.

    I’ve been very sensitive about it ever since my friend in high school starved herself almost to death because she wanted to look like some actress.

  40. Hannah
    March 9, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    you know, i sat class at school today and listened to all these horribly pretentious, art-school boys bitch about how Kathryn Bigelow shouldn’t have won, as they referred to Hurt Locker as “a peice of shit”, and then defended Avatar. AVATAR! it’s just a pretty picture, esp compared to Hurt Locker! I just sat quietly at my computer and fumed, because sometimes, it’s not worth arguing with the dickheads.

    And a lot of people at my high school were saying Inglorious Basterds should have won this or that, which really made me mad. I thought it was funny at the show, though; every time they panned over to Tarantino he had this giant smirk on his face. I guess that’s how he always looks…sad…

    geez, what else…I was definitely disappointed that Sandra Bullock won, not only bc of the role but because she’s simply not a high-caliber actor, unlike the women she was up against! i would have gone for Gabourey Sidibe or Carey Mulligan over Sandra, though I was really rooting for Meryl Streep….those three are just much more talented actors. It seems Sandra Bullock got recognised just for doing better than her usual.

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