Doing it Dern at the Oscars - We're talking Bruce
Last Sunday, I laid down the red carpet and threw my annual Oscars® party. My guests and I analyzed the actors, the movies, red carpet fashion, latest plastic surgery fixes and every word uttered out of the host's mouth. A snippet from our banter went like this: "Oh my God, what the hell did Goldie Hawn do to her face?" "Did Kim Novak overdo her cheeks or did she have a stroke?" "So wait, seriously, what happens after Meryl dies? Is there anyone who will fill her shoes?" "Oh, can someone refill my cocktail glass please? I don't feel like rolling 2 feet to get a refill."
Advice: when planning an Oscars party, consider the quality of the food and libations. Be creative so that the spread appears to have taken more than 5 minutes to prepare. Mine took exactly 6.5 minutes. Last year my theme was High-Brow-Meets-Low-Brow. I purchased bags of pork rinds at a local gas station and topped them off with caviar on a fancy cake platter. This year, my friends and I made pizzas on a pizza stone, topped them off with caramelized onions, mushrooms, sautéed broccoli rabe, goat and mozzarella cheese, rosemary and sun dried tomatoes. We wrapped bacon around dates topped with fresh parmesan cheese slivers and baked them in a 20 year old cast iron skillet scored at a garage sale.
ELLEN DEGENERES! Did you take your cue to order in pizza 'cause I was serving pizza? You, ELLEN, had the pizzas delivered during the show to feed the lean and mean A-listers. They in turn snapped and posted selfles which went viral.
Cocktails, chez moi, consisted of gin, agave, lime, greek yogurt, cucumbers and fresh dill with ice. My new Montel Williams blender, purchased on a shopping network, did its job. I've never been a gin fan since it conjures up surly old men with belted high waisted slacks, sitting in musty bars crooning to Frank Sinatra. Also, when I was 17, during a friend's sleepover, I drank so much cheap gin, I found my vital organs lying next to me on a bathroom floor the morning after. However, this Oscar party cocktail was delicious. I will be more open to the virtues of gin since it was a refreshing change for a festive winter night.
Best Actress nominees. Photo credit: www.Oscar.go.com
Now to brass tacks: I love to get dressed for any occasion, but for this party, I wanted to dress up as one of the nominees for Best-Actress.
Here are the female options:
1. Meryl Streep in "Osage: August County" as a mentally ill woman in the throes of cancer with as many crevices, dents and addictions in her face as Keith Richards.
2. Amy Adams in "American Hustle" as a con artist living in the 1970s. I loved the costume design, but wasn't completely in a 1970s state of mind.
3. Judy Dench in "Philomena" as an elderly women who searches for the son she gave up for adoption years ago.
4. Sandra Bullock in "Gravity" as a medical engineer stranded in outer space.
5. Cate Blanchett in "Blue Jasmine", a formerly wealthy woman, now impoverished, who moves in with her sister after the government seizes her fraudster husband's fortune ala Bernie Madoff.
None of the images of those characters registered, until I scrolled through the male nominees. I saw this image of Best-Actor nominated (and subsequent winner) Bruce Dern, who portrays an elderly alcoholic living in Montana in the movie "Nebraska." At first I chuckled. But then was gripped by the gravitas of an image that beckoned to be translated by a female counterpart. The image reminds me of the reality of an American aging population forced to adapt to a new tech world with medical advances sustaining life into their 90s. The elderly mourn the death of their friends, family members visit less frequently, all the while clinging delusionally to the elusive dream that their scratch-off ticket winning will be deposited into their Social Security savings account.
Bruce Dern in "Nebraska." Photo credit: www.oscars.go.com
How do you "do-Dern?" First I bought this "old man tramps wig", borrowed a friend's reading glasses, taped Johnson & Johnson's surgical sterile gauze to my forehead, wore plaid flannel by Ralph Lauren with a Genuine Filson jacket, which is perfect when ambling along railroad tracks, waiting to be hit by a freight train carrying natural gas from fracking. It also quite fashionable when worn during deer and pheasant season.
That image is what I would like to refer as my 'Day-time-Dern look.' That evening I decided to 'dress-up Dern' by wearing a gold glitter cut off top that Amy Adams might have worn in her "American Hustle" role, along with a gold multi chain tassel necklace of that era. Each year, the Academy pays tribute to a movie or actor. This year they paid tribute to the 75th anniversary of "The Wizard of Oz." Grammy winner Pink belted out 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow', in a ruby red sequin dress inspired by the character, Dorothy who wore red slippers in the movie.
Naturally, the only way to complete my 'Evening-Dern' look would be to wear shiny red shoes. I chose this inexpensive pair by Irregular Choice, purchased years ago in NYC while under the influence. As I look back, this wasn't the best of fashion choices and I rarely wear them. They look like shoes that someone with Polio in the 30s would wear.
I am completely in love with this wig. Almost as fashionable as a fuzzy vintage cloche hat. Those are my new vintage reproduction, rhinestone encrusted eye glasses by Traction Productions.
As the evening started to unwind, I was grateful I was wearing leggings on account of all the pizza, bacon and gin cocktails I ingested. My "no place like home" shoes came off while Cate Blanchett, the best dressed woman of the evening, gave her acceptance speech. She was divine in an Armani Privé gown dripping in sequins, tulle and Swarovski crystals. Yet, nothing tops her 2011 red carpet Givenchy gown.
Cate in Armani Prive 2014. Photo credit: Fabsugar.com
Cate in Givenchy at the 2011 Oscars. Photo credit: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters via The Guardian
I wonder what Cate would think of my shiny red shoes, Bruce Dern wig and bacon appetizers fried up in a garage sale skillet? Did she get to keep the Armani gown? Maybe I can drop her PR rep a note stating: "Next year I would like to throw an Oscars party wearing Cate Blanchett's Armani couture gown, while serving oysters on a bed of pork rinds accompanied by shots of lime infused Anejo Patron in kitschy Atlantic City, NJ shot glasses. Do I have the green light? Get back to my people STAT!"