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Red Carpet: "The Help", Teen Choice Awards

NATHANIEL: For this episode of Red Carpet Convos, I'm joined by our resident fashion-obsessive Jose and Kurt. We begin with ... oh help me. It's THE HELP. I feel like I have done nothing but talk about that movie this week.
KURT: 'The Help Experience'.
NATHANIEL: Which would work as that movie's title... were it not for that pesky Emma Stone ;). It's totally overthrown Rise of the Planet of the Apes already in conversation.‬

Aibilene, Celia, Skeeter, Minnie and Hilly

JOSE: ‬ Confused by Ron Howard's kid and Jessica Chastain again, which one's which?‬
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪The pregnant one is always Bryce Dallas Howard‬
KURT: ‬ ‪Is that to say she's perpetually pregnant?‬
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪I feel like she's had four children already. But i think this is just her second.‬
JOSE: ‬ ‪She's still pregnant? She and Natalie Portman gestated like elephants. I thought she was just wearing a bad empire cut‬

‬ ‪well since we seem to be working backwards, let's talk about Ms. Howard. Jose are you very familiar with her red carpet looks? cuz i'm not‬
JOSE: ‬ ‪actually no, though somehow I happen to be a big fan of her underrated-ness.
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪She went very patriotic for this red carpet.‬  Perhaps to counterbalance how dastardly Ugly American her character Hilly is?
KURT: ‬ ‪she should have worn a confederate flag‬
JOSE: ‬ see what I can gather from her look is that color blocking is already hard for the skinny starlets, so pregnant ladies should stay away from it, this reminds me of Uma's yodeling costume from the Oscars a few years ago‬
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪Ah, I think it's lovely or would be without the primary colors.‬
KURT: ‬ ‪agreed about the color blocking. reminds me someone a few seasons ago of Project Runway - can't remember her name.
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪reality show contestants fade in memory practically instantly -- celebrity meat grinder that. I love Project Runway and I can never remember people's names after the next cast has replaced them.‬
JOSE: ‬ ‪oooh nice connection Kurt, since freaking Heidi Klum is always pregnant as well‬
‪KURT: ‬ ‪word‬. Bryce should have worn a variation of that floral thing that makes it into all the promo stills. i kind of love that look.
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪Octavia Spencer. This is a lovely color I think but the clutch is cracking me up. It's so flat and shiny that what could you keep in there other than maybe all the movie contracts you're thinking of signing now that you've had your breakout role.‬
‪KURT: ‬ ‪yea its weird‬ like a trapper keeper
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪ ‬ ‪Omg. maybe she's got homework or a slambook inside?‬
JOSE: ‬ ‪Love the cut and the cleavage, since bigger ladies usually go for huge priest-robe like dresses, the mid-length cut is absolutely perfect‬
‪KURT: ‬ ‪yes the dress is pretty. is the wrap too much?‬
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪‬ ‪I like it. But then I like gossamer loveliness in general.‬
‪KURT:‬ ‪well at least it's not draped over her like a JLo doilie‬ and i wont say anything else about Jlo -- i promise!

NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪‬ ‪Good. cuz she's not even here this time. PRESENT TENSE people.‬ I don't really get this as a premiere look for Emma Stone. She looks like she might be whisked away at any moment should there be a strong gust of wind. Tiny tiny. Maybe she needs heavier colors as she's already lighter than air.
JOSE:‬ ‪is Emma auditioning for Boardwalk Empire?‬
‪KURT: ‬ ‪i don't know why it needed that shirt thing‬
JOSE: ‬ ‪she's been doing the 20's flapper look a LOT recently... like at the Teen Choice Awards
‪KURT: ‬ ‪there's a beautiful look under there somewhere‬
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪ ‬ ‪Flappers for the win. I'm always hoping the 20s come roaring back.‬
JOSE: ‬ ‪I actually think she looks breathtaking, you do not question Chanel Couture gentlemen‬. Love the color, the leg slit and the top is slightly revealing without being slutty. Also, her tiny bag looks like a cloud! All she's missing are tiny cherubs arranging her hair.
NATHANIEL: awww, cherubs. 
KURT: ‬ ‪well it certainly isn't slutty. i'll take it as a demure nod to the potato-sack-clad skeeter‬
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪Hee.‬ What do we think of Jessica Chastain? I'm sure this will change since she's "new" but every time I see her i think she's a different person. Either she's the new primo chameleon actor or i just am not familiar with her face yet. I mean from The Tree of Life to The Help? How is this the same person?
‪KURT: ‬ ‪i feel exactly the same way and i'm extrememly fascinated by it‬. ‪to the extent that the poster for The Debt -- another drastic departure -- gives me chills a little bit‬ like, 'ooh..what else can she do?'
JOSE: ‬ ‪‪play Bryce in a biopic!‬
NATHANIEL: ‬  ‪!!!!‬
‪KURT:‬ ‪hehe‬
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪ Whoever mimics Ron Howard wins Best Supporting Actor. Calling it now.‬
JOSE: ‬ ‪Easy. Rupert Grint‬
JOSE: ‬ ‪Benjamin Button-ized, Daniel Radcliffe will roll in his Tony-less grave‬
‪KURT:‬ ‪OMG, Nat.. we're getting back into that red-headed actor discussion‬ which, Jose, was a search for desirable male redheads in hollywood or in entertainment in general (getting off topic...sorry)
JOSE:‬ ‪well if either Rupert or Ron were in your lists I feel for you, boys‬.  ‪‪The redheaded women got the best in this contest‬
‪KURT: ‬ ‪Ha (Rupert was in mine!)
Tom Felton and Fan of Tom FeltonNATHANIEL: ‬ ‪ ‬ ‪If we had done this discussion last week i had a red carpet lineup from the Planet of the Apes premiere (too passe now) and Rupert was wearing a "I Heart Tom Felton" t-shirt which made me laugh. And then at his next event he wore "I ♥ NY" He has a lotta love to go round.‬
‪KURT: ‬ ‪interesting‬
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪‬ ‪But the I Heart Tom Felton thing was hilar' because a) somebody needs to and b) wouldn't it be hilarious if all actors showed up at premieres wearing their love for another actor? Imagine.‬
JOSE: ‬ ‪ah like when Madge did the Kylie and Britney tees for a while‬
‪KURT: ‬ ‪I would snatch Emma Stone's "I ♥ Allison Janney" tee in a second.‬ and wear it around town
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪ ‪and who would Viola Davis would wear!? Meryl Streep? Denzel?‬ or throw us for a loop and go with "I  ♥ Clooney in 'Solaris' "
JOSE:‬ ‪ ‬ The only thing to heart about Solaris are Clooney's moons‬
‪KURT: ‬ ‪how about, "I  ♥ Movie Stars Who Steal My Thunder?"‬
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪ ‪But that would be a DAMN DIRTY LIE since she always steals the movies from them!
JOSE: ‬ ‪she could go with an ironic "Amy Adams made me lose an Oscar" suit‬
‪KURT: ‬ ‪god do i wish she won the oscar that year‬
JOSE:‬ ‪ ‬ ‪and have Pe be Oscar-less? You break my heart Kurt‬ 
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪Can we all agree that she's best dressed? She always looks sensaysh at awards shows I think.‬
Which is why she should always be Oscar nominated.‬
‪KURT: ‬ ‪i agree with you Nat.‬ sorry, Jose.
JOSE:‬ ‪‬ ‪I have to go with Emma (as always), I think Viola looks stunning in Escada but she's so safe all the time‬
‪KURT:‬ ‪but Viola's figure looks killer in clothes.‬
JOSE: absolutely but if we didn't know her I'm sure we wouldn't pick her out from a red carpet, she's gorgeous but should be a little bit more out there, like Helen Mirren‬. Viola is in need of some Alexander McQueen in her life. 
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪‪Yes, on the bod. I think she secretly works out to Angela Bassett's workout tapes from What‬'s Love Got To Do With It.
JOSE:‬ ‪  ‪as long as she doesn't try the Tina hair I'm OK‬‪
‪KURT: ‬ ‪I'm more than a little obsessed with Viola. But for the record, since we seem to be moving on, i am so not on the Octavia Spencer train.

Viola Davis and Angela Bassett, Summer 2011 Looks


NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪ ‪Viola has Angela Bassett's old career now, right?, in terms of heat/acclaim. But without the romantic roles that Bassett briefly got. Discuss.‬

Or actually maybe we should let the readers take that one in the comments. 
JOSE:‬ ‪‬ ‪gentlemen I'm sorry to cut this short but I have a flight to catch...
‪KURT: ‬ ‪aww, ok! you will be missed.‬
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪ ‬ ‪sniffle.‬
JOSE:‬ ‪ ‬ ‪thanks for letting me talk Emma, enjoy the rest of the gals XOXO‬
KURT:‬ ‪and then there were two‬
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪ QUICK FIRE ROUND. Teen Choice Awards Old Ladies.
Zooey, Tyra, Elizabeth, Zoe, and AnnaSophia
‪KURT: ‬ ‪I can't say anything without addressing Tyra Banks first. This is totally out of hand‬:  ‪Julie Newmar Meets Trinity in Pittsburgh -- Black and Yellow Black and Yellow!‬ it's very innappropriate for the event i think
NATHANIEL: ‬ She's starring in Grease 3: The Return of Sandy.‬ My guess is the hit single will be "Hopelessly Devoted to Me!"‬
‪KURT: ‬ ‪seriously. "and MY own twisted universe"‬. I think Zooey Deschanel looks very cute and true to her whole image.
NATHANIEL: ‬ Yep. ‪She's going to burst out into one of her twee retro singsongs at any moment.‬
‪KURT: ‬ ‪i just saw an ad for her new sitcom not moments ago. first i'd heard of it‬. she so does not read sitcom to me.
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪ ‪Whenever people opt for the headliner route on TV I always wonder about what their management or the star in question decided about their career as is and its future prospects and if there was a lot of angst about the decision. Because it's always a major shift from then on. Sometimes it makes the person a ginormous celebrity (see Sarah Jessica Parker) other times it's the end or the first step on downward slope. Weird that she got none of the career oomph from (500) Days of Summer  that JGL got.‬ Despite the film virtually worshipping her blue eyed beauty.
‪KURT:‬ I know TV is in this whole renaissance state, but those things still scream red flag to me. like Maria Bello in Prime Suspect‬
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪ ‬ ‪There's another actress who didn't get the career boost she deserved. Like HOW does Hollywood watch Bello in A History of Violence and then shove her into lame "wife" roles thereafter. That was basically a "look how A list I am" performance. And then. [crickets]‬
‪KURT:‬ ‪yes, i don't know why she didn't drum up the respect she deserved. and i can't believe she's never been oscar nominated‬ i think she should have made it in for the cooler as well.
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪ ‬ Now i am sad which is not conducive to good red carpet conversations!
Three final thoughts: Elizabeth Banks screams confident. Zoe Saldana basically commissioned Peggy Sue Got Married's High School reunion dress only with a 'make it sexier, and modern' command.
KURT: I see that.
NATHANIEL: I included AnnaSophia Robb because she was one of the only actual teenagers i recognized from the teen choice red carpet photos -- there were a million fresh faces from new tv shows ¾ of which will be cancelled any second. I love that she looks like she was run over by a car. Tire-track-skidding-to-a-halt dress.
KURT:‬ ‪I find the one-arm strap amusing, seeing as she was in that movie about a girl who loses an arm to a shark attack‬.
NATHANIEL: ‬ ‪Synergy from screen to red carpet!

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Reader Comments (16)

When I saw that we were going to discuss the Teen Choice Awards, I was so hoping for a discussion of Darren Criss's continued bold choices on the red carpet.

But I have to say, while I'm more Team Viola in that lineup, for me, I kind of am in love with the dress that Chastain wore in the movie, even though it took me nearly the first hour to tell her and BDH apart.

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Look at Bryce Dallas Howard, thinkin' she cute 'cause Seth Gabel gave her more kids than he did me!

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary

I mistook Howard for Sissy Spacek! (I didn't notice the pregnancy or I would have been REALLY impressed :p)

Octavia looks like a classy pornstar. Which is either awesome or a failure.
I think she could lose the bag.

Viola FTW! Duh..

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

Viola Davis will have the career Alfre Woodard wasn't allowed to have in film. Woodard like Spacek and Wiest never lost her chops -- whether the material deserved it or not.

Bassett doesn't have the range of Davis, Woodard, Tyson, Carroll, Mekerson, Whitfield and Kimberly Elise, etc.

August 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtfu11

The Project Runway designer who loved color blocking you guys referenced was Mila Hermanovski from Season 7.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

I always enjoy Davis' red carpet outings. She knows exactly what colors work on her! Funny how simple that concept can be in looking memorable.

KURT: ‬ ‪i feel exactly the same way and i'm extrememly fascinated by it‬. ‪to the extent that the poster for The Debt -- another drastic departure -- gives me chills a little bit‬ like, 'ooh..what else can she do?'
JOSE: ‬ ‪‪play Bryce in a biopic!‬

I died.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark

When will you finish your Oscar predictions? I can't wait!

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVortep

I honestly don't get Kurt's love for Emma's look - maybe it looked better in person? It's a fancy, see-through t-shirt thrown over what might be a lovely dress (we'll never know, although the excess drapery seems a bit much for her figure. A woman with some real curves could probably have carried that dress off better.)

Viola gets my vote by a mile.

Zooey - does she not have any other looks? The whole twee thing is way past stale, which may explain the switch to TV, which thrives on sameness week after week (as opposed to versatility). It's starting to border on "mutton dressed as lamb"; she's not 12 anymore, after all.

Of course the other thing that explains that is the fact that Hollywood is not creating movie roles for women (as we well know and when will someone get ON that?) As to why 500 Days of Summer didn't lift her the same way it lifted JGL - well, besides sexism in the industry, JGL got to play a much more complex character. The film may have "worshipped" Zooey, as you say, but it did not demand much more of her than that she look pretty for the camera.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

That was a fun post, as always. I get why people confuse Bryce and Jessica, but nothing Bryce has done (not that I've seen everything) has moved me as much as Jessica's performance in "The Tree of Life." So luminous and beautiful, like the film itself.

Speaking of "The Tree of Life," I know it got raves and a Palme d'Or, but it seems to me underrated. I'm not a Malick fanboy, liked "Days of Heaven" but was actually sort of borderline-meh with "The Thin Red Line," so I wasn't there on opening night. In fact, I waited until months after the reviews and hype had faded away and went on a day when I was a touch melancholy and wanted something melancholy, the way one sometimes likes to hear a sad song when one is sad. (Teddy Thompson's song "Separate Ways" usually works when I'm in that mood.) The theater was packed, attentive, almost reverential, probably because the movie had been around so long that it weeded out the people who didn't know what they were getting into. And I was shocked out how clear and straightforward the movie seemed to me, how spiritually resonant. I didn't care a whit that every frame didn't track with literal meaning; I was moved by Malick's sincerity--in a sense, he's just as sincere as the creators of "The Help," but it's his art that makes the difference.

Professional critics, constrained by deadlines and advanced screening times, like to give the impression that their review is their rock-hard opinion of a movie, when one of the joys of movies is finding the right subjective moment to see a movie, away from hype or rat-race pressures.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOwen Walter

@3rtfu11: Re -- Angela Bassett
I'm personally always reticent to criticize an actors' range when he/she arguably hasn't been given the chances that others have had to display it. She had a good run in the 1990s and has been somewhat typecast since then.

Having said all that, I'd love to see both Davis and Bassett in a film together (I think I've mentioned this before on this site), preferably as sisters with Loretta Divine as the eldest of the three. All of them playing against type in some way woulld also be awesome.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

The cut of Jessica Chastain's dress seems to be a variation on Julianne Moore's 2002 green Oscar gown. Redheads working secondary colors.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W

One of my favorite Angela Bassett performances was the romantic sci-fi lead in "Strange Days," which I liked more than the Tina Turner biopic. I remember being put off by Bassett's criticism of Halle Berry's role in "Monster's Ball." It was probably earnest moral criticism but it sounded like sour grapes, and it also made me think there was something too high-minded about Bassett herself; she herself needed a sexy, slightly disreputable role to expand her range.

But I admire Viola for herself, not because she reminds me of Bassett or Alfre Woodard. If anything, she has that rare natural gravity that people like Kate Winslet and Daniel Day-Lewis bring to their roles. Maybe they're the kind of actors we should be comparing her to.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOwen Walter


Bassett has been given the chance to play some of the best parts ever written for an actress of color. The fact that she doesn't probe her characters with a greater inner life and character nuance isn't due to the lack of opportunity. Woodard has got the inner life and character nuance down. She's had so for decades now. Only the Emmys seem to care and notice (17 nominations, 4 wins) -- 2 SAG Awards.

Bassett gets by on beauty. It's an unfair thing but nobody looks at Viola Davis and Alfre Woodard as attractive as Bassett. She's a good actress but she's never as great as people would like to believe she is.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtfu11

@3rtfu11: I wouldn't say that Bassett got the *best* parts, but it is clear she worked much more regularly in higher profile films than most black actresses at the time. The quality of the work itself -- the roles, the scripts, the films -- weren't always always high caliber. In my opinion, however, she managed to do what you assert she couldn't. In that uneven Jackson family television movie, "Malcolm X," "Waiting to Exhale," even that hokey sci-fi film "Supernova" she managesd not only to bring gravitas to the work, but also a deeper life to the characters, much more than what was written on the page.

August 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.


We can agree to disagree but I love Woodard. I feel she's thrown under a bus for the sake of Bassett's beauty and higher profile parts. Alfre doesn't have to be fussy or theatrical to give great emotion and realness to her performances that I feel is missing in Bassett's work.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtfu11

I like Angela, but I'm a huge Alfre fan so all this Alfre love is making me happy. The woman is phenomenal, and even in films where you don't anticipate her doing good stuff she's right there being much more insightful than you'd expect.

(And that T-shirt is just another in a long line of reasons why Rupert Grint is awesome.)

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew K.
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