Lunatic asylums are full of people who see patterns where there are none, and so is the Oscar red carpet. People! It’s called trend-spotting! The Oscar pre-shows are littered with dot-connecting fanatics scanning the horizon for any two actresses who have anything remotely in common. “Look! She’s wearing satin … and so is she? How significant!”
I am from a long line of psychotics. I am also a fashion person. As a result of this double whammy, I see “meaningful” patterns wherever I look. You may call them statistically insignificant coincidences. I call them glamour trends. Here are nine I spotted at the Oscars tonight:
Trend No. 1: Being d’un certain age.
The red carpet was awash in golden girls. Some were superannuated thespians, but many were the moms of nominees: see Ma McConaughey and Ma Leto. My pick: It’s a toss-up between June Squibb in a beaded emerald ensemble and the real Philomena—the woman on whom the nominated Judi Dench movie was based—in an orange something or other. Go seniors!
Trend No. 2: Wearing dresses of various colors.
Not wearing black was a massive trend: Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Lawrence, bonjour! And wearing black was also a big trend, as we saw with Anna Kendrick and Julia Roberts. Confused? Just shut up and keep reading.
Trend No. 3: Being thin.
While the older broads cited in Trend No. 1 elected to ignore the thin trend, the younger actresses did not. Most had clearly spent weeks at that place near Palms Springs where horrid nurses remove your ribs and subject you ruthlessly to 24-hour colonic irrigation. Despite the rigorous regimens, the thinnest person of the evening was not a chick. The magnetic Barkhad Abdi—he brilliantly played the terrifying Somali pirate in Captain Phillips—provided an unflattering adjacency for any actress or actor who stood next to him. Dude is attenuated.
Trend No. 4: Blue is the new black.
Or it would be, if black were not already both a trend and an un-trend. God, it’s hard to keep track. Liza Minnelli—another fab old broad as per Trend No. 1—wore a blue Halston-ish tent thingy and a punk-rock cobalt flash in her hair. Amy Adams wore a blue Gucci frock with chic little pockets. The lovely and talented Miss Adams would appear to have jettisoned Valentino as her designer of choice. The fact that an overzealous Val publicist recently promoted a pic of her carrying a Val handbag to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s funeral may well have something to do with her decision. Oh, the perils of accepting designer swag!
Trend No. 5: Being gorgeous.
Charlize Theron is a stupefyingly beautiful goddess, especially in that on- and off-trend black number with the illusion straps. But Lupita Nyong'o might have out-gorgeous’d her. In her Prada frock—the pleated number recalled the designs of the late great Madame Grès, the designer whose daughter kept her on ice for months after she died, but let’s not get distracted, even though it is a great story and would actually make a great movie—Lupita looked stunningly, poetically, divinely fabulous.
Trend No. 6: Being a glamorous lesbian.
Ok, so there were only two, but, in a red carpet world, two is a mega-trend. Ellen and Portia De Rossi, take a bow.
Trend No. 7: Not putting your hair in a man-bun.
Jared Leto’s flowing ombre’d tresses caused a global frisson. Should he have scraped them into a ponytail or top-knot? This was one of the hard-hitting questions of the night.
Trend No. 8: Statement necklaces.
This is one of the “exciting trends” which, despite popping up every year, gets the red-carpet commentators into a gasket-blowing frenzy. Who wasn’t wearing a statement necklace, and who won’t be wearing one next year? Nobody won’t be, because everyone wears them every year.
Trend No. 9: Looking clean.
All the attendees appeared to have undergone extensive ablutions. Nobody was doing grunge. Even Bruce Dern had whitened his teeth.
Read all of Slate’s coverage of the 2014 Academy Awards.