It Happened One Night

Anne Hathaway and James Franco at the 2011 Oscars

… and it was terrible.

That’s right, I’m talking about the 83rd Academy Awards.

For once, I don’t really have a problem with who took home Oscar gold this past Sunday. I didn’t pay as much attention to the smaller, technical categories as I usually do, and the major categories all went as predicted, with the exception of Tom Hooper’s well-deserved upset for Best Director. Anyway, what really went wrong wasn’t the awards – it was the telecast.

Let me explain. If people just wanted to know which movies and performances were the best of the best, well, an awards show like the Golden Globe circa the writers’ strike is fine. The Academy Awards are so much more. I’ve been watching them since I can remember, and to me, the Oscars are all about entertainment, glamour, the moment. I don’t know how else to explain it, but it’s a tradition I cherish.

But this year, it was pretty awful. Which is a shame, since it started so promisingly:

… well, actually Mark Wahlberg tried to warn us, and it’s not like Alec Baldwin was that great of a host last year. Sigh.

The ceremony was entertaining, but for all of the wrong reasons. If you didn’t watch, well, I can’t explain how awkward it was. (I’m sure my tweets may have helped.) I guess that’s what happens when at least one of your two hosts is under the influence (I’m talking about you, James Franco).

Besides the predictable awards and the miscasting of the hosts, I think the problem with the telecast is that it doesn’t know how to change. The Academy is always toying around with their production, like when they gave out technical awards in the aisles or the last couple of years when they had multiple presenters for the acting categories. Both of these changes were terrible. I guess they were meant to quicken the pace of the show, or build the drama.

This year, like Hathaway and Franco facetiously reminded us during their opening, was all about appealing the “young and hip crowd”. Which obviously explains why the presenters were constantly giving the audience history lessons about the technology behind movies. (Did you know that movies didn’t always have sound? Me either!) Or you know, auto-tune the most memorable scenes from… Twilight? It was like a bad SNL short. And since I’m such a traditionalist, I was pretty disappointed they didn’t show montages of the Best Picture nominees throughout the show. Not only do I love montages, but it almost lets you forget why you’re watching in the first place.

At least Anne Hathaway looked pretty, right?

The 83rd Academy Awards were memorable, but I wish I could forget them. The Academy better step it up, because the 85th Oscars, well, that’s a pretty big milestone. Find a formula, pick one host, and stick to it. Just don’t ask Franco back, okay?

~ Sarah

The Anticipation Builds…

The Oscars are just a couple hours away, and I’ve been glued to my tv and computer all day watching award show coverage. The red carpet hasn’t even started, and neither has my studying for midterms, but I digress. My excitement can hardly be contained at this point, and here are the things I’m looking forward to the most, in no order whatsoever…

☆ the hosts: James Franco and Anne Hathaway

☆ the opening monologue/number

☆ awkward Charlie Sheen jokes

☆ awkward Ricky Gervais jokes

☆ seeing Colin Firth


☆ the GOWNS!

☆ awkward awards presenters

☆ acceptance speeches

☆ hoping that Natalie Portman doesn’t thank her fiancé when she wins,

in hope that the Oscar curse won’t hurt her

☆ seeing what Helena Bonham Carter will wear

☆ apparently Reese Witherspoon is presenting – love her!

☆ any wacky, avant-garde artistic performances that waste too much time

☆ Firth’s acceptance speech

☆ hoping this is the last Oscars I watch before I live in an apartment and can host a party!

☆ the Best Picture reveal!


And while I’m not the type to do top-10 movie lists, and I don’t feel like breaking down the major awards, I’m going to do a quick superlative for this year’s Oscars!

★ Biggest Potential Upset:  Annette Bening over Natalie Portman

I love three-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening as much as the next person, but I really hope this doesn’t happen. Both Bening and Portman have cleaned up during awards season, with Portman having the dramatic edge. However, you can’t count out Bening. Her performance as Nic in The Kids Are All Right, while solid, simply isn’t the best of her career, and certainly isn’t the best performance of the year. Both of these women are actors’ actors, but I hope the Academy goes for the ingenue instead of the veteran on this one.

★ Favorite Dark Horse: True Grit‘s Hailee Steinfeld

The Fighter’s Melissa Leo has been dominating earlier awards, but I love love Steinfeld, and I think she has real upset potential. Let me explain why: A) she was thirteen when she filmed the movie B) she’s more of a lead than a “supporting” actress and C) she outshined Matt Damon. Matt Damon!

Worst Snub that Still Stings: Christopher Nolan

The man behind Inception didn’t get nominated for Best Achievement in Directing. Are you kidding me, AMPAS? Not only should he have been nominated, but he should’ve won too. Le sign. Runner-up and the statuette should go to David Fincher, who helmed The Social Network.

Out of Nowhere Possibility: True Grit Wins

All right, let me explain. The Social Network did super well at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards, but critics vote for those awards. Once the guilds and actors started voting, the accolades went to the feel-good period piece of the year, The King’s Speech. Since then, The King’s Speech and True Grit has been gaining buzz. The Academy has already shown they love the Coen Brothers, who improved an Oscar-winning Western with this effort. Basically, the Best Picture  Oscar is The King’s Speech‘s to lose, and if they do, it might be because of True Grit.

What do you think? What are you looking forward to the most? And do you have any predictions of your own? Happy Oscar Sunday, everyone!

~ Sarah

Fashion Inspiration: Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky’s psycho-sexual thriller Black Swan may not have been my favorite movie of the year, but it did have some of my favorite costumes. How the Academy failed to nominate the film for Best Costume Design is beyond me, but nonetheless, I was inspired to create a few looks based on the movie. The two more formal looks were inspired by the White and Black Swans, while the everyday looks were inspired by ballerinas Nina (Natalie Portman) and Lily (Mila Kunis).

Look #1

Black Swan- The White Swan

Dress- Delia’s; Headband- Nordstrom; Clutch- Accessorize; Ring- Forever 21 (Canada); Sandals- Ralph Lauren.

This outfit was actually inspired by two different looks: the White Swan costume Nina wears, plus this beautiful white gown Nina wears when she’s introduced as the company’s new prima ballerina (you can see the dress sketch here). The look is classic and delicate, with a close attention to detail. This modest lace dace is a great foundation for this look. Keep the accessories simple, with this rhinestone headband and beautiful bird ring. Throw on silver strappy sandals and grab a lace clutch, and you’re good to go.

Look #2

Black Swan- The Black Swan

Dress- AX Paris; Clutch- ASOS; Necklace- John Lewis; Sandals- Payless.

This outfit is great for the more adventurous – the Black Swan is very daring. Again, it’s all about the dress, like this fabulous tiered lace one – it takes a LBD to a new level. Make a statement with this bibbed necklace, and grab a fearless feathered clutch. Complete the look with an edgy pair of sandals. Smart and seductive.

Look #3

Black Swan- Nina Sayers

Tank- Madewell; Henley- Tilly’s; Cardigan- Jane Norman; Skinny Jeans- Forever 21 (Canada); Scarf- Dorothy Perkins; Gloves/Armwarmers- MUJI; Moccasins- Payless.

If you think models off-duty have great fashion taste, check out up-and-coming ballerina, Nina. She stays cozy and comfortable in soft fabrics, and wears a palette of pretty, muted colors like pinks, gray, and cream. Layering is the key to comfort here. Start with your basic tank, henley, and skinny jeans, then throw on a cardigan, like this one with a unique shape. Bundle up with an oatmeal-colored scarf and pink champagne arm warmers, inspired by the leg warmers Nina wears during rehearsal. Slip into faux fur-lined moccasins for the ultimate in cozy comfort.

Look #4

Black Swan- Lily

Lace Tank- Deb Shops; Razorback Tank- Abercrombie; Jeggings- Peacocks; Trench Coat- Old Navy; Earrings0 Girl Props; Pashmina- Lori’s Shoes; Flats- Payless.

The final outfit is inspired by Lily, an edgy and sensual newcomer to the New York ballet scene. She’s often seen wearing slim fitting pieces in shades of black and gray.

That doesn’t mean her ensembles are boring – layering and textures add interest. Layer a black razorback tee over a heather gray lace tank, and slip into some jet black jeggings. Keep things mysterious with a black trench coat to keep warm, and wrap yourself up in a quintessential New York pashmina (street vendors preferred). Add on fun details like dangly peacock feather earrings and leopard print ballet flats.

So what do you think? Were you as inspired by the costumes in Black Swan as I was? Which look was your favorite? Let me know in the comments! And for more Black Swan inspiration, check out this post on College Fashion.

~ Sarah