Academy Awards 2013: This Is Why We Drink

Feb 25, 2013

(If you find Joan Rivers-esque fashion commentary offensive, this is not the post for you, however, some of your fellow readers look forward to this post all year.  So come back tomorrow when things will be less snarky.)

Watching the Oscars this year was even more painful than usual.  It was like an awards ceremony produced by Sybil, an erratic compilation of parts that made up a Kafka-esque whole–a Bond tribute, “Chicago”, “Dreamgirls”, “The Sound of Music”,  a vulgar, CGI-Teddy Ruxpin in a tuxedo, a FLOTUS appearance and a song about “boobs.”

But on the bright side, no James Franco…except in every other commercial break promoting “Oz the Great and Powerful.”

Sadly, the red carpet was no better.  Between E!’s lackluster coverage and ABC’s jumpy pre-show that had more hosts than our nation has had presidents, it was tough to get a good look at the gowns (which are why these shows exist in the first place, right?).  Luckily, Just Jared provided me with all the photos I needed to create this list of dresses that made me want (another) drink.


Kristen Stewart in My Great Grandmother’s Lace Table Runner

Twilight is mercifully over (apologies to those who love it, but for those of us who don’t, it causes an unpleasant burning sensation), but Kristen Stewart still managed to snag an invite to the Oscars.

As for the gown, we have visual evidence  that lace and tulle is not her best look, but alas, here it is again with a case of unkempt bed head to match.  Add the fidgeting, the lip biting and the shy, low talking, and you begin to wonder if there wasn’t another B-list actress who wasn’t more deserving of a presenter spot.

Also, I know she injured her leg and that she’s trying to blame that for her uncomfortable performance, but what is her excuse the rest of the time?


Zoe Saldana in Something from the Losing Project Runway Team

This one hurts me. I love Zoe Saldana, she’s usually one of my favorites, but there is way, way too much going on here–laser-cut flowers, a side bow, a fit-and-flare, a high-low hem, a train, three colors of trim–it’s total overkill.  And I just do not understand the decision to include an industrial-looking belt.

On the plus side, I really love those earrings.  Who says I can’t find a positive note?

For a moment while watching last night’s awards, I thought I had been transported into the closet of Alexis Carrington.  Why?  Welcome to “Dynasty.”


Jane Fonda in a Dress She Wore to the Emmy’s in 1984 but Damn, Her Body Looks Good

85th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Halle Berry on Her Way to Studio 54 in a Diana Ross Castoff

More dresses that disappoint after the jump, including Belle’s Worst Dressed of 2013.


Renee Zellweger in a Dress That Would Have Looked Dated in 1992

When the ABC broadcast cut to a clip of Renee Zellweger looking frazzled and somewhat unhappy to be on TV, a friend texted me: “She looks like Bridget Jones styled her hair and did her makeup, and Bob Mackie chose this gown from Cher’s garage sale pile.”  That about sums it up.


Samantha Barks in a Dress Not Approved to Wear to the Grammy’s

When you’re a relatively unknown actress trying to turn your breakout performance into a long term career, you’ll do almost anything to garner press attention, including wearing a dress that allows you pull an Angelina Jolie-leg pose with your breasts.  I’ve seen peacocks that couldn’t puff out their chests that far.

Samantha, you’re young, you’re beautiful and you’re talented…you don’t need to try so hard.


Sandra Bullock in I Still Love You, Sandy, I Swear but What Is That on Your Ear?

I went back and forth on this look.  The dress itself is fine.  Nothing spectacular, though I still don’t understand the half-sheer skirt.  It’s the accessories pushed me over the edge.

A chain purse in a color and texture that makes no sense to me, two giant dome pinky rings (I know pinky rings are “in”, but I could get satellite TV on that thing.) and a hair clip that looks like a Bedazzled hearing aid.

The following dresses are presented under the heading, “Dresses that were worn to my high school prom in Montana, in 1999.”


Norah Jones in the Exact Hairstyle I Wore to My Senior Prom (No Joke)


Anne Hathaway in a “Is it chilly in here? Or are two badly placed seams making this boring dress slightly vulgar?” Gown

Both the dress she wore to the after parties and the dress she wore in the musical number were better than this lifeless, square necked Prada gown.

But while these dresses will be on a lot of worst dressed lists today, there was one dress that was so bad, that I couldn’t take my eyes of off it…

85th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Marsha Gay Harden in a Dress That Can Decide if It Was Made for a 20-year old or a 50-year-old

Take a form-fitting dress in bright red taffeta and add the most matronly sheer sleeve in the history of mankind.  Then, take a mature woman who looks best in a short modern hairdo  and give her frizzy, lifeless, barrel-curled extensions better suited to a high school student.  The look strikes me as disjointed and inauthentic, I get the sense that none of it is really her.

It’s too bad too, because MGH did red very well in her younger days.  For tips on making red appropriate in later years, her stylist should call Sally Field.

So which gowns left you cold?  Leave your thoughts on the worst dressed attendees in the comments.

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  1. Tsampamama says:

    I disagree on the Zoe Saldana dress – the cut out flowers on top were bad but I loved the train! They should have stuck to a simpler sihlloutte on top instead of that applique thing. Did you see her Vanity Fair party dress though? Google it – you’ll find it under “hot mess”,.
    I also disagree on Halle Berry’s dress – Joan Crawford as a Bond girl- and Samantha Barks’dress, though the whole “OMG her head is as large as her waist or wait, is her waist as tiny as her head?” thing still throws me off.
    The dress fails of the night for me, and there were a few were Anne Hathaway (yes, we could tell you picked it 3 hours prior to the event – the tailor didn’t have enough time to do his/her job properly! If only she could have worn the Vanity Fair party dress from the year she hosted), Jane Fonda (Dallas much?) and (this pains me) Melissa McCarthy. I love the woman but she needs to lose her stylist. That dress did nothing for her. Drab colour, drab dress, bad hair. She should hook up with Octavia Spencer’s stylist who knows how to dress a curvacious, bodacious woman.

    • Belle says:

      I agree about Melissa McCarthy–super funny, great actress, but I think the dresses she picks are always a bit off. I think because she picks a lot of shapeless things, and I’m of the mind that structure is better for plus sized women than no structure (see, Octavia Spencer, Oprah Winfrey, etc.). And I’m never sure why she does the super-teased hairstyle, it’s not her best look. Not an easy body type to dress, but like you said, her stylist isn’t doing her any favors.

      • Virginia says:

        The E! commentators (cant remember which one) mentioned that Melissa McCarthy is really into fashion and even studied at FIT to be a fashion designer. You would think that would help her make some better fashion choices; apparently not.

        • Tsampamama says:

          Really??? You wouldn’t know it from her fashion choices. Maybe she’s one of those women who dress others really well but lose perspective when it comes to their own closet….

      • Tsampamama says:

        Defintely – structure >no structure. Also, what was going on with Catherine Zeta Jones’ face?? Her dress was also “meh”. The other person who could do better is Adele- another gorgeous woman who could use a better stylist. I am sick of the Italian Widow look. If you must do black, throw her in a Dolce and Gabana sumptuous column dress baby!
        I’m curious to know what you thought of the FLOTUS doing the best picture announcement. I’m Canadian and have my own opinion but I want an American perspective.

  2. Meg says:

    Belle, thank you for making this Monday bearable. I actually enjoyed your dress review much more than the actually Oscars… ; )

  3. Amelia says:

    I awoke this morning sad to go to work but then remembered your review would be waiting! made the day so much more bearable — I am one who looks forward to these reviews all year!

    that being said, I think you will lose commenters with the email requirement. Corporette doesn’t require an email to comment. why do you?

    • Belle says:

      Re: email for commenting, I never said “We have to require email addresses” it’s just the default setting on the new WordPress set up. We’re tweaking as we go. But I would mention in the interim that it does not have to be a real email, just something that Akismet thinks is an email. And the reason it’s there is because YOU.WOULD.NOT.BELIEVE the spam I get on WordPress. Squarespace was maybe one spam comment a day, WordPress is hundreds an hour. It’s insane, so this is the fail safe they put in.

  4. Mochimac says:

    Those dresses are horrific. I don’t watch the awards but I read the style blogs after, and I can’t believe some people don’t look in the mirror or grab some random stranger from the street to ask: Hey does this look good?

    Don’t talk to high fashion people in choosing a gown, EVERYTHING is fierce to them, but they also don’t mind wearing super tight leather leggings and a cropped shirt with ugly potted-feet shboots to a baby shower in the Hampton’s.

  5. BN says:

    THANK YOU for speaking out against Anne Hathaway’s TERRIBLE dress! I am so sick of all the praise and fawning thrown her way this year, I was afraid people would just toss her on a best dressed list because she lost a bunch of weight, cut her hair on camera, and cried while singing.

  6. Lady Lawyer says:

    I actually did not hate Halle Berry’s dress. She is stunning in a paper bag, and she is probably the only person who should ever consider putting that dress on, but I kind of liked the statement.

    I also felt very 1999 prom vibe. My girlfriends and I were terrified this might make a comeback, because the 90s weren’t really a good look on anyone…

    But my personal favorite was the woman who accepted for a production award (sound editing? makeup and styling?) in a short black dress with hot pink tights. It was truly a magical moment when the cameraman cut from the close-up of her accepting her award to the long shot of her walking off the stage. Everyone in our living room gasped.

  7. Ellen says:

    Anne Hathaway’s dress is the pink version of my 1997 prom dress. I wore it in sea foam. Too funny!

  8. GoGoGo says:

    I’m with Tsampamama on Zoe Saldana. The layers in those graphite colors were memorable in a good way. I don’t remember seeing that pallate before.

    Samntha Barks’ red carpet dress might not have worked, but when she appeared for “One Day More,” we all gave a little cheer and thought she looked stunning among a lot of stunning women.

  9. Amanda says:

    Brandi Glanville’s dress was SO BAD. Talk about “not safe for the Grammys!”

  10. Meagan says:

    I am guessing in about 6 weeks Ms. Hathaway will announce she is preggers….

  11. GoGoGo says:

    I appreciate the little shoutout there to Sally Field, who did look pretty great in red.

    (Note: did you know she’s only one year younger than Helen Mirren? Not bad, lady! Well, not bad either of them!)

  12. Ms. C says:

    I’m right there with you on most of these. For Kristen Stewart I actually thought the most horrible and distracting part of her ensemble was the necklace (followed closely by that awful coiffure). The make-up was lighter (and better) than usual and her dress wouldn’t have been so bad if tailored properly..but that necklace was almost as awkward as her! eek.

    And I’m going to have to disagree on Halle. The woman takes fashion risks and this one, I thought, paid off. The dress was constructed and fit beautifully. And I also appreciated that the deep V was offset by covered arms.

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