Gather Ye Ringwalds

Bring on the Den of Bad Taste
All about the Academy Awards.
March 5 2010 6:36 PM

Gather Ye Ringwalds


I blushed upon your nominating me as Slate's Beau Brummell. If I believed I'd earned that distinction, then I would thank my custom-knitwear designer, the Barneys warehouse sale, and God, in that order. But come on: Christopher Hitchens is pretty styling whenever he undoes his third button to rock the BHL look.

I like where your head's at regarding songs and scores, but wouldn't a Crazy Heart sequel be titled Crazy Heart 2: Heart Crazier? Yes, it's too bad we won't hear "The Weary Kind." Instead, producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic are promising to put a total of 70 dancers on stage, which could be excitingly tasteless, given the level of good sensitivity demonstrated in a recent interview. Shankman told the AP that the show would steer clear of current events: "Neither Haiti nor Chile are nominated." Sheesh—so much for the rumors that San Andreas would pick up a surprise lifetime-achievement award.

Troy Patterson Troy Patterson

Troy Patterson is Slate's writer at large and writes the Gentleman Scholar column.

A reader below chides us for not devoting even one word to the screenwriting categories. OK, here are 93 words about the screenwriting categories, not including the caveat that the whole of my prognostication technique is to imagine what would look good in congratulatory suck-up ads in Variety next week. Inglourious Basterds will win the Oscar for best original screenplay. Up in the Air, sure to strike out everywhere else, will win for best adapted screenplay, the beneficiary of an Oscar-race meta-narrative: It's Gotta Get Something. It also helps that Up in the Air is a savvy—and some would persuasively say smarmy—piece of work. The "should-win" entry in its category is In the Loop, with its plot deftly high-farcical and its dialogue missle-strike quick—so quick, in fact, that I wonder how many voters couldn't process the quips made in British accents.

But enough about film. Let's get down to what really matters: Glamour with a capital g that rhymes with d that stands for drool. Zadie Smith is sharp on the topic in "Ten Notes on Oscar Weekend," an essay in her recent collection Changing My Mind:

La La Land! Red carpets; semisacred actors in an exclusive Valhalla; parties beyond imagination; jewels beyond price. Over Oscar weekend, an automatic journalism rehashes these eternal ideas, the accounts in newspapers precisely matching the tall tales of the cab driver who brings you in from the airport.

It's a tasty piece—a clean modern cocktail mixed with the ice-cold extra-dry gin of Joan Didion's confessions, a rinse of Martin Amis' Moronic Inferno, the bitters of Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One, and a Day of the Locust garnish.

As long as I'm putting in plugs, I promise that you won't regret watching The Red Carpet Issue, an excellent hourlong documentary airing on Sundance throughout the next week. Director Olivier Nicklaus—who is French but soft-pedals his Tocqueville-izing—playfully maps the nexus of stars, reporters, photographers, artisans, luxury merchants, and mortals that has developed in the 15 years since Prada and Uma rewrote the rules. Among other things, the movie teaches us how to read the pre-show and guess which actresses might have made a $250,000 just for putting on their earrings: "If her hair is up or cut very short, she may well be getting a check."

The Red Carpet Issue offers something for everyone. For US Weekly readers, Nicklaus gets E! personalities to articulate how the game is played—and also to give tips on air-kiss-blowing. For the Esquire types, there are Euro-babes like Monica Bellucci, who charmingly explains that it's liberating to have "relationships" with fashion houses: "It's better to do a good commercial than a bad film." And—good God!—why had nobody told me about Anna Mouglalis?  (One or two of the portraits I just linked to might be a teensy bit unsafe for work, but they're worth getting fired over.) Anyhow, Nicklaus also tosses the Social Text gang a bone by spinning golden oldies about the flow of images and the empire of signs. And fashionistas will be awed by the extraordinary access the filmmakers got to the House of Chanel, with Karl Lagerfeld giving the tangiest quote: "The red carpet can be a den of bad taste—be warned—with a femininity worthy of transvestites."

In the interest wrapping up quickly—I'm running late to a fitting with my haberdasher—I present you with three videos to entertain yourself with during the slow parts of the ceremony.

There's really no way to follow the Jersey Shore crew's Iraqi adventure—The Situation: "Yo, bro, put ya helmet on!" Pauly D: "I'm not puttin' my helmet on—it takes me 25 minutes to do my hair"— so I'll end with an air kiss here.




Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Altered State
Sept. 17 2014 11:51 PM The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
Dear Prudence
Sept. 18 2014 6:00 AM All Shook Up My 11-year-old has been exploring herself with my “back massager.” Should I stop her?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 17 2014 11:48 PM Spanking Is Great for Sex Which is why it’s grotesque for parenting.
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?