Sunday, February 25, 2007

Yes Okay We'll Cover the Oscars

But only the fashion part. For a full (and laugh-out-loud) Oscars liveblog, check out Laremy on or the boys at Defamer. Also check out the photo gallery at for a look at all the dresses from tonight.

Our fashionista T already did a great look at her Oscar faves, but I had to write all this shit for anyway, so it's going to run here as well. Plus T only talked about the good stuff. I'm here to talk about the bad.

It's 3 p.m. Pacific time, and E! is just beginning their coverage of the red carpet arrivals. I struggled in deciding whether to watch E!'s coverage or TV Guide's (with Joan and Melissa Rivers). I chose E!, and I know immediately that I made the right decision. They have a news-ticker sort of bar running at the bottom of the screen, and they're allowing viewers to send in short messages via SMS, which they then run live along the ticker. ("Standard text-messaging rates apply," says Ryan Seacrest, which is a line he has down pat.) This is a source of endless amusement. I don't know how I can be expected to focus on anything else. I think they are supposed to be used for running commentary on the coverage, but right now I just saw: "Call me sometime Kate! Shane from MN." They're all like this. It's a riot. I just texted "My cats love you, Ryan!" to 37373. E! wrote back to let me know they'd received it. We'll watch and wait.

Ryan Seacrest's on the red carpet alone, and Giuliana DePandi's in the sky box with Jay Manuel (from America's Text Top Model, and Giuliana pronounces his last name "Man-well," which is interesting since Tyra always pronounces it "Man-you-elle," but mostly it's just sad that I think about things like this). It's fascinating to me how much less awkward and frightening the coverage is coming from Ryan and Giuliana than from the lower-level reporters who did the warm-up coverage. Together, the two of them probably have nearly a thousand hours of live television experience, and it shows.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is the first person of any import to do a red-carpet interview. She's wearing an unexceptional purple number with a kind of cool single strap moving from her cleavage over her shoulder. I guess she looks pretty good for someone who just had a baby a few months ago. Ryan totally strikes out. He starts with, "So, you're just watching the show today?" Maggie's like, "I'm presenting." Oh. A minute later, he's like, "You and your brother have done, what, three films together?" Maggie's like, "Oh, no, we've done one." The rest of the interview is just as riveting.

Now Gael Garcia Bernal from Babel is talking to Ryan. Since no one actually cares about him, Ryan immediately asks what it was like working with Brad Pitt. Bernal reveals that he's never met the guy, since their scenes were filmed in different parts of the world. We linger on this point for a while. He said he met most of the cast for the first time in Cannes.

Al and Tipper Gore talk to Ryan, who actually asks Al Gore who he's wearing. Genius! You can tell the producers at E! sat down with Ryan yesterday and were like, "Ryan, you have to remember to ask everyone what they're wearing. It's very important." And Ryan was like, "That's going to be weird," and the producers were like, "We don't care. You have to do it." Vice President Al Gore is wearing Ralph Lauren tonight.

So far, the fashion theme I'm seeing on the red carpet is strapless dresses with no necklaces and understated earrings, and I'm totally digging it. I'm all about minimalism in fashion.

Ryan talks to Emily Blunt (Devil Wears Prada, wearing strapless dress sans necklace) and Michael Buble. He asks them if they're engaged. They say no, but thanks for the added pressure. Ryan is on a roll with this.

Let's see if he does any better with Jennifer Lopez, who confirms that she will be performing on American Idol this season. She's bucking tonight's fashion trend, wearing a light pink, flowing empire-waist dress by Marchesa, with rows of bejeweled straps. This will do absolutely nothing to dispel pregnancy rumors. She's there with Marc Anthony, and she seems about as genuinely happy as I've ever seen her. My vote? The girl's preggers.

Now Jodie Foster, who looks gorgeous in Vera Wang. She's there without girlfriend Cydney Bernard, since the two of them seem to prefer to keep their thirteen-year relationship an open secret around Hollywood. She's presenting tonight, and admits that she plans to leave right after she's done.

Penelope Cruz. Strapless, detailed pink dress, no necklace. Orlando Bloom, her alleged new paramour, is nowhere in sight. Her hair is in an elaborate, braided bun. She looks fantastic from the waist up, but the bottom of the dress looks kind of like a flamingo died in dangerously close proximity to Donatella Versace. Ryan likes it. Whatever. Ryan wore a vest on American Idol last week. He doesn't get a vote. But everyone else seems to like it, too, so maybe it's just my penchant for minimalism kicking in. Penelope says specifically that she doesn't think she'll be winning the Oscar tonight, then quickly heads out.

Rachel Weisz in -- gasp! -- a strapless Vera Wang with a necklace. Quel faux pas! (I'd originally written this as "Quels faux pas," then texted my favorite French expert to confirm. "It's quel faux pas," she wrote back. "Who are you saying is a disaster on the red carpet?" My friends know me so well.) Ryan makes a series of "wang" jokes, because he's just hysterical like that.

Now Jessica Biel, putting on a brave face after giving it up to Justin Timberlake and then promptly getting dumped for Scarlett Johansson. I am fairly certain she's opted to forgo a bra along with her dignity tonight. Wearing a bright pink Oscar de la Renta and her nipples. I bet the dress color is stunning in person, but on camera she looks radioactive. Sometimes, when I'm bored in meetings at work, I mindlessly wrap all my hair around my finger and then stick the whole mess of it in place on the back of my head with a hair tie. Then five minutes later I take it down and do it again. Jessica Biel is proudly sporting my bored-in-meeting hairstyle. ("Jessica Biel is just a complete tragedy," texts my French-expert friend.)

John Travolta and Kelly Preston with the first what was she thinking of the night. Kelly is wearing Dolce and Gabbana leopard print. Not, like, a cute little waistband of leopard print, or shoes or a clutch. The whole freaking dress is leopard print. Head to toe. Unless this pattern is supposed to ward off Xenu, I cannot imagine what prompted her to leave the house dressed like a hooker.

Hour two of E!'s red carpet coverage kicks off with Jennifer Hudson, whose ensemble would be arguably appropriate had Dreamgirls been set on Mars. Since it was set in Detroit, she just looks awful. I don't even understand what's happening. The brown dress is poorly fitted enough as is, but she's chosen to top it with a silver cropped jacket (and I hope she didn't think this was a capelet) with the largest collar in the world. Ryan asks her who she's wearing. "George Jetson," she says. No, that didn't happen, but it should have. Ryan actually never asks her who she's wearing. That was a nice thing to do for the designer. I mean that.

Steve Carell with Nancy Walls (one strap, no necklace). He thinks The Departed is going to take Best Picture. Nancy pretends to look for Abigail Breslin in her purse. First genuinely funny moment of the red carpet thus far.

LEO!!! OMG OMG OMG IT'S LEO!!! Damn, he is hot. Aw, he came with his mom, since he's single after his split from model Bar Rafaeli late last month. Leo! I AM SINGLE TOO! I HAVE CHICKEN WINGS! COME OVER! He went a little crazy with the self-tanner, as Leo is wont to do, but I can be okay with that. I LOVE YOU, LEO!!!

Ryan's talking to Djimon Hounsou, looking very cool in dark glasses. Cut to footage of him being hot in a Janet Jackson video from a hundred years ago. He did a Paula Abdul video, too, I guess. Giuliana chimes in from the sky box to confirm that he's wearing Calvin Klein underwear, as he's doing a campaign for them right now. Man, they had to pull out all the stops to make that interview interesting.

I think Ryan's supposed to be interviewing Helen Mirren right now, but she's talking to another reporter, so we go up to Giuliana in the sky box so Ryan can berate her for talking about underwear at the Oscars. "Did you have a better question lined up, Barbara Walters?" says Giuliana, except she doesn't say that at all. Instead we talk about "panties" for a full minute while we wait for Helen Mirren.

Helen shows up, holding a union jack. She's wearing a flesh-colored, beaded scoop-neck. No necklace. Sexy but very age-appropriate, and she looks beautiful. She says that she thinks the queen of England has seen her film, but she'll never know officially. Ryan asks her if she brought the flag herself, and she says she "knicked" it, which I think is British for "stole," but I don't have anyone to text for confirmation. Google Translate is no help. Ryan forgets to ask her what she's wearing. He's getting tired, I guess.

Ha! We come back from commercial to Jay Manuel freezing a shot of Jessica Biel's face, circling it on the screen, then drawing a big line through it. "No," he says. "This isn't working." Jay also says that Rachel Weisz should have ditched the necklace. I totally called that one. I should host this show.

Celine Dion. A very simple green dress. No necklace. Hair down. I dig it.

Anne Hathaway. Valentino strapless, no necklace, but she's making up for it with about twenty bracelets. ("I decided since it's my first Oscars, I'd just wear every single diamond I could find.") I don't know why I always want to hate her, but she's kind of likable right now. Ha! Ryan turns to the sky box to talk crap about her dress with Giuliana, then realizes she's still standing right there. Awkward. No one liked the dress. Anne Hathaway is sad now.

Forest Whitaker. I like how Ryan always starts these interviews with, "We're live on E! right now." It's kind of like saying to the subjects, "Please don't cuss or talk about the dude you saw me making out with last night." Forest has prepared a speech for if he wins. Ryan asks him if he thinks he'll win, and he skirts the question entirely. The interviews with boys are boring.

Gwyneth Paltrow. I think they employed the spider from Charlotte's Web to make her dress. That or Zac Posen. It's orangish, very thin and very complicated. It's backless, and her stylist has clearly instructed her to keep her hair tossed over her shoulder, running down her front, to show off the back of the dress. This occupies a great deal of her time and focus.

Beyonce. I can't tell if her dress is white or lime green (it's Armani, and Beyonce eventually identifies it as "mint green"), but it has this strange line of pearl-like stones in floral patterns running diagonally across her chest. I commend her for taking a risk, but I don't like it. She has such a perfect face, and this distracts from it.

Cate Blanchett. I don't know what it is about her face, but she always looks to me like she just got done crying. Tonight is no exception. A very tight-fitting, black-and-silver Armani Prive. I never realized what a stunning hourglass figure she has. I love it because she's not a straight line -- girl's got hips -- and she's showing it off. No necklace. She doesn't expect to win tonight -- she thinks it will go to Jennifer Hudson.

Eddie Murphy, with Tracey Edmonds. Suck on that, Scary Spice. It's pretty crappy of him to show up here with Tracey, after just having dumped Mel B., who's pregnant with his kid, and then going on record stating he's not even sure it's his. One classy move after another for Mr. Eddie "Norbit" Murphy. Tracey looks uncomfortable, like she knows how much this sucks. Also, her dress is made of giant mirrors. Ew, I'm glad when they go away.

Kate Winslet. More lime ("mint") green, Valentino this time. One strap, no necklace. She admits smugly that she's the most-nominated actress of her generation, which I'd typically give her crap for, but in her case it's well deserved. Also, she corrects Ryan on his pronunciation of Ricky Gervais's name, and I love her for that.

Queen Latifah. Very simple black dress, no necklace. It's possible the dress is more interesting in person, but on camera it is a little too simple. Coming from me, that's saying something. Girl's got titties, though.

Meryl Streep wearing something she borrowed from Billy Madison's Miss Lippy. The devil may wear Prada, but Meryl Streep is wearing a bathrobe. With huge, awful, orange beads and gigantic metal jewelry. Ryan doesn't ask her who she's wearing, because he's trying not to throw up on her.

Nicole Kidman. Bright red halter dress, which would be so perfect except for this huge looped bow sticking out from the right side of her neck. It's like she's in mourning over the loss of her conjoined twin. Like any minute she'll bust out with, "If Natalie were still attached to me, poor dear, this is right where we'd put her head."

We're wrapping up E!'s coverage, and Ryan didn't get to interview everyone, but they showed a few folks who deserve mention here. Reese Witherspoon looked phenomenal in Nina Ricci. She's lost about 100 pounds since her divorce, although she didn't need to, but she is radiant in a trailed purple strapless (no necklace), with super-long hair and bangs. Eat your heart out, Ryan Phillippe. Abigail Breslin goes fairy princess-style in an adorable pink dress with a floral top and just the right amount of makeup. She is wearing a necklace, but I'll let that one slide, because she's like four years old. Jada Pinkett Smith sports a fitted gold Carolina Herrera, which is a thousand percent better than that awful hot-pink thing she wore to the SAG awards.

Now, I have a feeling people are going to give Kirsten Dunst a hard time for her cap-sleeved white vintage Chanel, but I thought she looked very beautiful and old Hollywood. I would ditch the feathers at the bottom, but, beyond that, I felt it was perfect for her. Cameron Diaz's hair, makeup and jewelry were great, but I didn't love the white asymmetrical Valentino on her. I guess she pulled it off as well as anyone might have, but I haven't been enjoying her taste in dresses since her split from JT.

So, in summary, as you prepare for prom (and, really, girls, it's February, so if you're preparing for prom already -- and I know some of you are -- get the hell over it and do your math homework): dark and strapless, form-fitting, and no necklace.