I always think the Oscars are kind of a strange idea. I used to imagine annual awards for accountancy, say, or plumbing, and use them as an illustration of what why I thought the Oscars were kind of a strange idea, but there probably are annual awards for accountancy and plumbing these days, and what’s more they are probably televised, so my illustration no longer works. Nonetheless, I do think it’s weird to give prizes to people for doing their jobs, and for a self-appointed committee to decide what’s “best” in a competition which is limited in its scope and necessarily subjective. You might as well give a prize for the “best” marriage guidance counsellor, or the “best” GP.
But I don’t really care about any of that, because I like looking at the dresses, and while I can take or leave the ceremony itself, I do love the red carpet moments. Last night’s costume choices seemed to be dominated by an inexplicable preference for silver, grey and silvery-grey dresses that made the wearers look thin and pale and bosomless, but I suspect that’s a popular look in Hollywood all the year round. Three cheers, then, for Charlize Theron, who couldn’t look bad if she tried, but who I thought looked sensational in this dress, which walks the unsteady line between old-style glamour and Bjork-ish overindulgence, and gets it exactly right:
On TV it seemed pinker than it looks here, so the clash with the red lipstick was stronger. Those boob-roses are almost too much, but the old-fashioned shape of the rest of the dress and the elegant hair and lack of accessories bring the overall effect right back to understated glamour. She looks classy and interesting and hellasexy all at once.
My favourite red carpet interview was with that nice chap Colin Firth, who as far as I could tell in two hours of watching was the only nominee who, when pulled over for questioning by Ryan Seacrest, shuffled around to make some more space in front of the camera and included his wife in the interview. “And here’s Livia!”, he said brightly, as though she was the real star for whom they’d all been waiting. What a nice man, and how nice to see a couple who seemed not to have to make an effort to look as though they were enjoying each other’s company. And what a strange place Hollywood is.