Oscar History

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Months of Meryl: THE RIVER WILD

"Great post and comments. Yes, Streep had to navigate the rough waters of being in her 40's! I do think she smashed through the glass ceiling for women since she persevered and then became an even bigger star in her 50's." - Sister Rona

"One of my favourite movies from my teen years - I'm shocked at how long ago this was released. It was Meryl that sold this movie for me and is the reason I saw it. At the time, and I still feel this way, she is the reason to watch and believe this film." -Filmboymichael

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SAG Carpet Pt 1: Silhouettes and Character Arcs

Red Carpet Line-Up Returns. I don't know if you've missed it but I have. This two-part SAG edition is less quickfire chat and more epistolary but we haven't talked to Kurt Osenlund in way too long since he flew the coop for The House Next Door. 

NATHANIEL: Kurt  I miss you. You have moved to the far off land of Brooklyn and we never see each other. And yet, when I watch the Best Actresses walking the red carpet I know you're out there somewhere gazing at the same visions. So a few questions to kick things off about the Screen Actors Fashionista Guild.

Which of the Best Actresses did it for you? And was this in line with what you think of their performances or the inverse of that? Character arcs aren't cut from runway cloth but sometimes I think people judge the gowns based on how much they're currently loving the woman inside.

"Impossible" Naomi, Dress-Lining Jennifer, "Mama" Jessica, Marion Cotillard



Anyway, tell me your "best", both performance wise and clothing wise. (Don't cheat and say Helen Mirren since she didn't show. Or the cameras just didn't bother searching for her because 'getouttahereHitchcock'!). [More plus Supporting Actresses after the jump]


I'm going with Cotillard, and not just because her look stands out though it does - she's giving the only real variance in silhouette and the only Best Actress who didn't do the soft, over one shoulder curls.

: Lord knows I miss you too, Nathaniel, even more than I miss my initial high hopes for this year's Supporting Actor crop. And indeed, I had my eye on the SAG ladies' outfits--just a few of the things I used to drown out the smack-yourself earnestness of TBS's female announcer ("Look! There's Ben Affleck! Ar-go find your seat!"). It's a great question, the whole look-versus-performance thing. And since you brought up Mirren, her lack of presence is pretty indicative of how I felt about her turn--vacuous work from a pro on autopilot.

My favorite performance of the bunch was, indeed, Jennifer Lawrence's Tiffany, who caught me (very pleasantly) off guard many times over. I haven't quite decided on how I feel about Lawrence, the person, but as an actress, I think she has a bona fide, Streep-ian understanding of the women she plays, which screams big-time career longevity. I don't really get her (otherwise safe) dress's construction, in regard to the whole presumed-wardrobe-malfunction thing. Does it come apart for cocktail hour? Go sheer when she wants to tease the goods? My (possibly fashion-challenged) bewilderment drops it to third place. In last, sadly, is Ms. Chastain, whose only look that's ever thrilled me was last year's Oscar dress. I should note that Chastain's oft-underwhelming red carpet attire is the one and only thing I do not like about her (As much as I dug Lawrence's perf, I'm secretly rooting for a Chastain Oscar win--that best-since-Julia-Roberts smile beaming at the podium). I'm probably over-exerting myself with this response already, but in second is Watts, who is head-to-toe class in this vintage-looking number, and wore the sideswept hair best (Chastain might have taken a cue and left her necklace at home--err, ya know, with the jeweler). Beyond the physical, though, I found nothing too impressive about Watt's Impossible work.

Which leaves Cotillard, who, like you, takes my top spot. I think this is a great and bold silhouette without being in anyway showily offbeat (ahem, Lucy Liu's Golden Globes Garden of Eden). Cotillard's turn in Rust & Bone? A nice addition to her resume, but handily overshadowed by Matthias "Be-Still-My-Levi's" Schoenart

NATHANIEL: Did I tell you that I spoke to him at a Rust & Bone luncheon (that sounds so unappetizing!)? I begged him not to throw it all away for Hollywood cuz you know they're throwing offers his way and if they ever figure out how strong he'd be as an action lead they'd totally have him making crap movies forever. He promised to not sell out but did not deny my suggestion that the sell-out offers were already on the table. I'm kinda mad that Cotillard missed her Best Actress nomination with Oscar because I really wanted to use my friend's Oscar Trivia joke "the first best actress nominated character to constantly troll for dick on her cel phone!" 


She plays: A Prostitute; NOT A Prostitute; A Trashy Nympho Beautician; First Lady



Nicole Kidman always towers over her co-nominees... physically, but often performance-wise too. She wins my prize here. The dress is so interesting, the hair is daring and there's that weird detail of green earings with this? Anne Hathaway loves wearing black with bright red lipstick and now that her hair is short she's just one step away from anonymity in a Robert Palmer video (a reference no one under 37 will get, sorry!). I don't really find this flattering but I'm happy she's winning. I wish Helen Hunt had gone a little softer because she can be severe looking but man her performance is good. It's so good I sometimes can't believe that people even noticed how good it was, if you know what I mean.

Do you know what I mean?

KURT: I'm very happy to say that I get the Robert Palmer reference, which is quite astute of you. I'm intrigued by your exchange with Schoenarts, by which I mean: I hate you, but that's interesting. I'm glad to hear that he's apparently batting away the unsurprising Hollywood offers, as we certainly need more male Tildas who stick to their artsy guns. (Sidebar: Have you seen the nominated live-action short Death of a Shadow? Schoenarts plays the lead, and it's nifty, steampunk-y stuff). Moving on...

I think Hathaway is my MVP here, though I must say, with each speech, she edges closer to bringing up my most recent meal. I've adored her for a while, and I'll be pleased when she wins (sorry haters, her Les Miz solo is bananas), but she's playing the rule-abiding ingenue card to the most grating degree, like the valedictorian who spoke at my high school graduation, and brought along her thesaurus while doing some serious faculty butt-kissing. Now that Anne's got a Golden Globe to clobber her "self-doubt," here's hoping she uses her Oscar as a weapon against her goody-goodiness. I still think Nicole looks lovely, and I don't always warm to her awards gowns. She's my runner-up, and I love her more post-Paperboy than I ever have (her pre-screening New York Film Festival Q&A was just heaven).

I love your comment about Hunt's performance. It really is so wonderful. Supporting Actress was easily my favorite category this year--so many rich turns to choose from. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Hunt in the fall for a whopping 20 min. (no sarcasm there at all, as you know how brief some Q&A's can be), and she was as lovely as could be expected, yet surprisingly demure/reserved. On that note, I find her look a little ill-fitting, and I'm not talking about the cut. I agree it's somewhat harsh/severe feeling, however flattering to what's still a very svelte figure. But Sally Field still gets my bronze medal. That flirty violet just makes me want to hug her, as I always want to, even (or perhaps especially) when she's wailing about typhus as Mary Todd.

NATHANIEL: Sally Field is so huggable that I feel totally sadistic sometimes when I watch her. I need her in bipolar hysterics which is why Mary Todd is such a perfect bookend to M'Lynn in the cemetery. Suffer, Sally, SUFFER!  I love her so much that I'm actually desperate to see her lose on February 24th because a) more suffering and b) I live in terror of a surprise victory which would only make people hate her. Younger movie maniacs didn't live through it but the world turned on her quite harshly after that second Oscar. I can't imagine how tarnished her legacy would be with three Oscars!

More SAG Gowns & Tuxes

related: More Red Carpet Discussions 
Plus... Best Actress & Best Supporting Actress & Oscar Articles 

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Reader Comments (19)

Cotillard, Watts, Lawrence, Chastain. Marion - MY GOD that woman knows how to dress, Nat - did you see her critic's choice dress? PERFECTION.

Kidman, Hunt, Field, Hathaway - Not sure on Nic's hair, but the dress was beautiful, HELEN HUNT IS 49, CAN YOU SAY THAT AGAIN? and no, just no, to Hathaway's outfit - thought the performance was fab, not as good as Kidman, but go on girl, stop with the fake humility - do a J Chas and OWN it. You've paid your dues, reap the rewards without the OMG schtick

January 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermorganisaqt

May I just say, I have seen Marion Cotillard in a lot of movies, but I have never once seen her make the face she made when Jennifer Lawrence won. I didn't even know she was capable of that much excitement. It was almost American, that's how animated she was. Just a fan of Happiness Therapy (maybe the best translated title ever) or is she a secret Zero Dark Thirty hater?

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB

Marion's dress is interesting but I don't think the bodice flatters her so I went with Naomi. Her dress looks the best ON her and the texture gives the dress an extra bit of oomph.

Miss Hathaway were ready for you on the set of the Simply Irresistible tribute video currently shooting on stage 5! Please leave your overweening suck up personality at the door.

I adore Sally so much and hope pulls a surprise victory on Oscar night. I know it's hard to win three and it would be history making for her to do it in three noms but I still have my hopes. About her dress though, the color is nice but aside from that it looks awful on her.

I'm really not a fan of either Hunt or Kidman and they both look rather hard but I think Helen Hunt's dress suits her better.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

My favourite two looks are Marion's and Nicole's.

I love Naomi and hope that she has a glorious year with 'Two Mothers' and 'Diana' but I really think that Marion deserved to be in this year's Oscar line up more than she does.

I feel Anne hasn't had a great dress on for like forever and this black dress is just horrible. Maybe she's saving her best for the last on the Oscar night, I hope.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMingy

Naomi and Nicole get my best dressed votes. BFFs in life and fashion.

And I would love to see Sally win a third Oscar, especially over Hathaway who is becoming more and more annoying. Her performance in Les Miserables is not even 1/4th as good as her performance in Rachel Getting Married. But if I could have my way, Helen Hunt would win.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Nicole, Marion, and Naomi look divine. And Helen Hunt is nearing fifty and that makes me want to slit my wrists. Has she sold her soul to Satan? I think the dress is actually very flattering on her.

I agree with Mingy, Hathaway hasn't a good dress since that fabulous, retro 80s-style look she wore a couple of years ago to the Golden Globes when she was nominated for Love and Other Drugs. She looked terrific there. I'm not a superfan by any means of Anne, and my personal cinematic history with her is complicated, but I don't think her speeches have been as irksome as some have suggested. I'm banking on all-out emotional breakdown, however, when she wins the Oscar. Prepare yourselves.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

I missed your Red Carpet Line-Ups and am happy it returned!

Marion is the best dressed of the eveining for me. I do not like Nicole's flat hair at all. I loved the short wavy look she had in "The Others".

Unluckily I have always trouble to seperate an actor/actress from the character, so I cannot like Sally Field because of "Not without my daughter" and "Brothers and Sisters"

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIvonne

I really hate when winners go hug the other nominees or pay tribute to them like Hathaway has been doing with Sally Field. That's the ultimate campaign really. She was also kissing everyone's arses at the HR roundtable, particularly Rachel Weisz's (?). Twas so awkward when she randomly started blabbing about Weisz's tattoo from her arthouse years and how she had read an "extremely moving" article on it. SO off-topic and trying so hard. That's why I was never really able to like her. Plus she keeps spitting on her own plate over and over again; those jabs at her previous work and how it stereotyped her are just insulting. She has A LOT to prove still so she better take several seats. No need to dress like Mia Farrow in the pregnant scenes from Rosemary's Baby either; girl you're not a veteran. *hate rant over*

I do like her performance, and the Hunt-Field-Hathaway triumvirate is oen of the best in recent memory for this category. I'd still go with Hunt here, hands down. She's mesmerizing in The Sessions. Gorgeous performance.

As for the dresses, no one can work a gown like Nicole, even if it isn't the best one. I loved Hathaway's hair and makeup. Marion looked nice too. I'm totes Team Jennifer this awards season but I keep forgetting what she wore these past 3 award shows. Very forgettable. I feel like Naomi's been wearing the same dress since she was nominated for 21 Grams.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter

Why did everyone turn on Sally Field after the second Oscar, was it the 'you like me' speech or the fact that she beat more deserving competition?

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrami (ramification)

Nicole's dress is beautiful, but the hair is a disaster. It looks dry, burned, fried and fake.

Marion's dress was my favorite and I love the shade of purple Field is wearing. Purple is always my favorite color.

I thought Hathaway in this particular day with this dress and her hair "up" was looking a LOT like Homeland's Morena Baccarin who usually wears her hair like that too. I even thought it was Morena in some angles and in some pictures of her I saw the day after.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

rami -- it was a little of both. I personally thought she was fab in Places in the Heart but i was just barely getting into the movies and my favorite that year (Kathleen Turner) wasn't nominated. It was also just the fact of having two Oscars when your film career warrants only just barely 1. It's kind of like what happened to Swank after Million Dollar Baby. People were just like Get outta here!!!

January 30, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

If my own Oscars were real people would really hate Nicole then. lol I've given her so many...but I think each one is deserved:

Best Actress: To Die For, The Hours, Dogville, Rabbit Hole
Supporting Actress: Eyes Wide Shut

She lost with Portrait of a Lady, Moulin Rouge!, Margot at the Wedding and The Paperboy. I think I'm not forgetting anything...

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

As far as fashion goes, Nicole wins for me by miles with Jessica Chastain coming in as a distant second. Those two KILLED it.
But I don't get all of the Anne Hathaway hate. I think her dress was a poor choice, but her speeches consistently show how articulate, poised and grounded she is. Meanwhile, DDL often stumbles through his (has everyone forgotten how painfully awkward his BFCA speech was!?? Let me refresh your memory: "uhhhhh... yeah") and I am getting sick of JLaw's rebelious girl nextdoor act. I initially thought she seemed so cool and unaffected, but now she just seems incredibly juvenile (she's the anti-Anne Hathaway in that way). Then again it could just be that I am so bitter every time Chastain loses that I'm being to hard on her

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Marion's whole look gives me the vapors. I need my fainting couch. I love it so much I want to throw the back of my hand over my forehead and tumble backwards into the arms of a gentleman caller.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJA

Marion is by far the best dressed here, though Kidman looks great too. Jessica "I'm the one who worked the hardest, so please give me the oscar" Chastain looks good but her dress is too tight. Jennifer "I'm not too bright" Lawrence" doesn't look bad but she never really hit it out of the park either. Naomi looks good as usual, but boring, as usual.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDana

Tom, I join you in your bitterness. Jessica better win that damn Oscar.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Marion and Nicole were the best of this bunch. I like their looks, but not necessarily the hair and make-up.

Anyway, on the subject of Jennifer Lawrence...she reminds me more of a young Angelina Jolie (when she was a great, serious actress)--same meteoric rise, same rawness on screen, but Jennifer has a lot less crazy in her real life.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Welcome back, Kurt. I hope Anne Hathaway is reading your words, or that someone in her circle is telling her to back away from the cloying act at the podium. When she stole that moment at the top of Les Miz's Globes/musical win to thank her agent, I wanted to sic a drunken Mel Gibson on her.

That said I LOVE her look. Seems like after the Judy Garland biopic got postponed, she decided to make use of the hair and wardrobe anyway.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

I've been defending Anne Hathaway for years because of the irrational hatred towards her, but even i think she needs to chill it with the Pollyanna (something i remember from her roundtable dicussion a while back) routine. She needs someone in her life to tell her to calm down with the campaigning when she has the Oscar in the bag. She's starting to reek of CONSIDER.

btw, CONSIDER will never not be hilarious to me.

On to dresses! I think Marion's collaboration with Dior is working ten times better than Jennifer Lawrence's. Dior just seems like a natural fit for Marion while Jennifer is more "i'm contractually obligated to wear this". Still love her though. Actually i love both of them dearly,

Kidman was my best dressed. I could even ignore the odd, dead hair. It was so much different from the sea of blah that night and it was far from being your typical Vivienne Westwood dress. Plus, i liked the green earrings.

Naomi was bit boring, but her dress is interesting close-up.

Loved Helen's own. The necklace is superflous but i like it anyway.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck

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