Bad Hair Night
March 26, 2002
Academy Awards ceremony this year proved one thing beyond any
doubt. If theres anything a Hollywood actress should fear more
than a crazed stalker, its a fashion designer.
Gwyneth Paltrow is usually a vision
of elegance. But Sunday night she turned up in a dress no hippie chick,
circa 1969, would have been caught dead wearing. Several of her
colleagues also boasted outfits they might have picked up in
Haight-Ashbury thrift shops. Honors for bad hair were shared by Cameron
Diaz and Russell Crowe.
But none of them could erase the
memory of the get-up Cher wore to the ceremony a few years ago. It made
her look like one of the critters Sigourney Weaver used to fight in outer
And these outfits dont come
cheap. They are the work of some of the most high-priced designers in the
business. They remind me of the art collection of a rich man I once knew.
The walls of his mansion were adorned with costly paintings that
well, I wont say they could have been the finger-paintings of a
chimpanzee, because I might irritate the animal-rights crowd, and
theyd have a point.
I certainly dont mean to insult
our simian friends, but you could easily get the impression that
theyve now taken over the world of high fashion, possibly for the
vindictive purpose of making humans look goofy. If indeed chimps design
these dresses, we should be seriously asking ourselves if theres a
reason they dont wear them themselves. Probably they have too
Why do I watch the Oscars? Well, I like to
tell myself that I dont really watch them;
just have the show on in the background so I can glance at it while Im doing something
intellectually challenging, like a crossword puzzle.
Then there are the acceptance
speeches. When Halle Berry accepted her Best Actress Oscar, she broke the
record for sheer, uninhibited silliness. Rather impressive, in a way, when
you consider that the old record was set by Laurence Olivier in a ramble of
pseudo-Shakespearean senility. We shall not look upon his like again, I
hope to God. Anyway, Miss Berrys record should be safe for the
foreseeable future, unless they give the Three Stooges a Lifetime
The awards dont usually go to
the best films or acting performances of the year, but to sentimental
favorites. Often the best are nominated, but they lose in the final vote to a
movie of liberal uplift, or to an aging actor who is felt to be overdue for
some honor, or to members of minority groups.
Case in point: Julia Roberts, last
years Best Actress for Erin Brokovich. I recently
caught up with the movie on video, and she was embarrassingly bad. Like
so many American women, she is great-looking but has a raucous voice
worthy of the Weird Sisters in Macbeth. And the louder she
gets, the more forced and phony she sounds. But she was playing a feisty,
foul-mouthed single mom who takes on a corrupt corporation all by
herself, so the Academy loved her.
This year I dont think I saw
more than a half-dozen of the movies that were nominated for anything,
and some of those I did see were animated films I took my grandchildren
to. When I do go, I like to get there in time to see the previews, so I can
get a taste of the current fare without having to sit through the stuff.
With most movies, a couple of minutes is all you really need to see in
order to judge them. If only Id seen a preview of The Lord of
the Rings! Id have missed a few great special effects, but
Id have been spared three hours of thunderous tedium.
In the same way, the Oscars show
gives you film clips of the years hot stuff. Its welcome
reassurance that you arent missing much by staying home and
watching Errol Flynn on cable.
Some good movies are still being
made. If it were up to me, the Best Picture award would almost
automatically go, every year, to the Coen brothers latest.
Naturally, when they did get the Best Picture award, it was for one of
their lesser achievements, Fargo. But then, their own movies
dont exactly encourage the assumption that life is fair.