Arts

Oscars
Oscars logo. Image: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences/Courtesy
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Looks from the second tier of the ranks

Red carpet fashion this awards season has been uninteresting, to say the least. In the world of constant performance that is Hollywood, red carpets provide celebrities a glittering stage. Here, they are given the opportunity to reconstruct perceptions of themselves and make big statements. Imagine the disillusionment I felt seeing most celebrities take the 2022 Oscars as an opportunity to say absolutely nothing at all. Considering the dull and drawn-out downer which constituted the ceremony itself, I certainly can’t expect Hollywood to deliver quality accolades. So, truly, if these performers can’t slay on the carpet, what good do they serve?

Best Dressed

In my perfect world, these dresses would be on the second tier of the ranks. But, with no outstanding competition, “cute” largely takes the place of “gorgeous” on the Oscars red carpet. 

Jada Pinkett Smith

Walk with me. Hold your tomatoes! Let’s talk about drama. No, not that drama. This tantalizing Jean-Paul Gaultier gown is deliciously dramatic. The shape, movement, and texture of the skirt are masterful. The ruched, high-neck bodice wouldn’t work on most, but Jada wears it with power. This dress is imposing, regal, and is by far the most interesting piece to slither across the Oscars carpet this year. 

Saniyya Sidney

Here’s the “cute!” This is how you execute Old Hollywood in today’s age. King Richard star, Saniyya Sidney, embraces her youth in this bright, beaded A-line gown; her look is reminiscent of a young Audrey Hepburn. I love that the dress captures the excitement of being new on the Hollywood scene. This look is pure whimsy and celebration — full of the personality I longed for in most other ensembles.

Lily James

It’s not especially exciting, but this is such a beautiful nightgown. I’m endlessly grateful to Lily’s glam team for one of the most complimentary hair and makeup stylings of the night. Countless ensembles could’ve been elevated with even a modicum of visible effort put into hairstyling, but alas!

Worst Dressed

I almost prefer major fails to mediocrity because at least we can see that they tried something! My worst looks of the night are, instead, tragically ordinary dresses on some of the brightest stars of the night.

Rachel Zegler 

Rachel’s preeminent Oscars moment fell flatter than “West Side Story” ticket sales. This dress —  a custom piece by Dior Haute Couture, slightly suspicious given her “last-minute invite” — is wholly unflattering. The silhouette seems to drown her and the peek-a-boo briefs are utterly inelegant. Sadly, this new leading lady looked more like the heroine’s best friend’s boyfriend’s quiet little sister.

Ariana Debose 

Another breakout star is Best Supporting Actress winner Ariana Debose! This look initially felt ill-favored yet inoffensive to me. But, over time, it disturbed me that on such a monumental night, Ariana’s stylist chose to procure a look from the “Going Out” section of ASOS. Cheap! To add insult to injury, the cape appears wrinkled. All I can do is sigh. 

Alana Haim 

Last in a long string of missed opportunities comes another breakout actress: Alana Haim. I love Alana and I’ve actually enjoyed her looks this season! So why, oh why, was my young starlet dressed like a Mother-of-the-Bride at her very first Oscars? You may say “But, it’s giving Old Hollywood!” I desperately wish it was, but simple sequins and scalloping does not make a vintage glamour gown. I see the vision, and I raise you a Diahann Carol at the 1969 Academy Awards or literally any Audrey Hepburn look, for example. The sheer lack of inspiration and personality is most painful.