Monday, February 25, 2008

Red Carpet: The Big O

Big, overbaked, bogus L. A. They tell you that the line between reality and fakery is very slim here, and that all actors have something inherently wrong with them. People like to think of Los Angeles (and Hollywood in particular) as being out of proportion to everything else, but the truth is that Los Angeles is just like everywhere else and probably more like Chicago than you ever realized.

They roll up the red carpet early here. They have to; above all else Los Angeles is a business in the business of making money, not dreams. Dreams can be made any old time of day, but money, real money is made in the early morning hours, over thirty-dollar yolk-less omelets and designer water trucked in not from Italy but from your ordinary local tap.

Awards shows are artificial contrivances with a little bit of ductile voodoo thrown in for good effect. Like the cars that get towed from Sunset Boulevard, like the European misconceptions of California, awards shows are things to be taken away in the night.

L. A. glories in its vending-machine culture. It used to be the second cultural capital of America, before people smartened up and realized that culture is really about who has better temporality, artificiality, and parallel universes. It wasn't too hard for Las Vegas to snatch the second spot out from under Los Angeles' red-hot klieg of a sun.

It's all about the now, now. Asking why will simply cost you time and money.

The 2007 Oscars, coming as they did right at the tail end of the writers' strike, seemed more a period piece than they did a party. The award for best dressed went to a man (Viggo Mortensen) and no one seemed in danger of being devoured by a dress from a second-tier designer. The only person who did a valorous "I can take this" cakewalk was French and no one wore anything that exposed their striving to the elements.

That's why we needed Diablo Cody. Cody's been a stripper, a phone sex operator, an author, and a screenwriter. She's inked up her right arm and in her quasi-Egyptian toga looked more like a daylight dancer at the Seventh Veil than she did a Perma Press star. And yet, in this oddly subdued year, Diablo Cody is a star, of the biggest and brightest magnitude imaginable. That's what happens when you've had a run of good luck that hasn't been deliberated, steam-cleaned, and delivered with the morning paper. Cody's more connected to the old Hollywood, tin-dream Hollywood, than anyone else out there. Like the rest of us, she has a no-tech Blogger blog, except that hers was called The Pussy Ranch. She has a MySpace page that lists fornication and porn as interests.

She's a neighborhood girl, bless her, in that unflattering leopard-print dress. Pedigree is nothing but a fraudulent accessory. Cody, with her marvelous mongrel talent, won an Oscar on the one night that everyone else chose to look sterile and flat.

This is the New Hollywood. What a wonderful, unreliable, and for once unconditional town.

20 comments:

WendyB said...

I was so relieved when they let the girl from Once come back and give her speech. They shouldn't have cut her off. I know that that's not a fashion comment, but there wasn't really a lot of fashion to comment on. I enjoyed seeing the old Cher and Barbra Streisand clips more than this year's attendees. I did like Nicole Kidman's jewelry.

Suzanna Mars said...

The jewelry in general was far more interesting than the, uh, couture.

WB, you need to get out there and promote, promote, promote. Jewelry like yours would have enlivened that very dull affair. Why don't stylists realize this?

Imelda Matt said...

Imelda doesn’t approve of flats but God Bless Diablo Cody for injecting some much-needed punk into such a dull soiree. Living on the other side of the world I have the pleasure of sitting through the horror for the second time.

Shaz said...

The fashion was a bit dull, okay really dull compared to previous years. Diablo Cody however, looks extremely genuine and comfortable in her own skin and lifestyle.

riz said...

"Sterile and flat" Pretty spot on. It was terribly boring to watch the 'red carpet glamour parade' i just hate how they talk about women's bodies. It's like the more insincerity the better. None of those dresses align with anyone's personality most of the time, and it shows. I just watched it to oggle Daniel Day...

Suzanna Mars said...

Shaz, it was suspiciously dull.

Riz, I kept waiting for something either really spectacular or really disastrous, and as strapless, monochromatic dress after strapless, monochromatic dress went by I lost hope and went on Yahoo News, thinking I'd missed something.

Eventually, I was reduced to analyzing whose strapless dress had the best fit, when viewed from the side.

miss cavendish said...

I like it that Diablo Cody did not wear the diamond-flower shoes that Stuart Weitzman gave her for the ceremony. I'm so tired of celebrities functioning as billboards for fashion.

riz said...

I might post something about the Oscars actually as there was one lady in particular who really inspired me. I'm sure you can guess who...

PS - Are you ready for Paris??!! (I don't think I am yet.) =)

Thomas said...

Ditto on Jon Stewart letting Marketa come back on stage - definitely the highlight of the night for me (well, that and Stewart saying after Glen Hansard's heartfelt, star-struck speech "That guy is so arrogant.")

As for Diablo Cody...I realy enjoyed Juno. Michael Cera and Ellen Page should be in many, many movies together. They should be in a Wes Anderson movie. Even the clunky dialogue at the beginning of the movie, with its "Honest to blog" and "silencio old man" didn't turn me off.

But Best Screenplay...of the year? I can think of 10 movies I saw that weren't even nominated that I think deserved it more (most notably The Darjeeling Limited).

HOWEVER, that is neither here nor there re: her personal style. Loved it.

p.s. What was Tilda Swinton wearing?

p.p.s. Viggo Mortenson is a serious man crush.

K.Line said...

No question, Cody's tatoo stole the show as far as I'm concerned. But it's the Oscars, could she not have worn heels? I agree with you all that much of the fashion was drab and the jewelry slightly more lively, but how much can a gorgeous necklace do? It can't make a totaly dull (ill-fitting, for the most part) dress eye-poppingly exciting. (WendyB - I suspect you might disagree with me here!)

Suzanna, the phrase "ductile voodoo" is fabulous and apt. Thanks for this post. K

C.J.B. said...

I have to say I am usually so dissapointed in "big, overbaked, bogus LA" but I did enjoy Marion Cotillard in that Gaultier dress as a tiny spark of individuality.

Suzanna Mars said...

Miss Cavendish, IMELDA had a funny post about the Weitzman shoe!

Riz, NO, I have seen some things that are not exactly inspiring, and yet I can appreciate that they have their market.

I have no idea what Tilda was wearing. I, as they say, averted my gaze, with the secret knowledge that I'd google to find out.

riz said...

I can appreciate market appeal. =)

Well, I have to confess my favorite was Marion Cotillard in Gaultier, which I thought you would appreciate.

Suzanna Mars said...

Marion was really suited to that dress, proving that someone realized that clothing is not just about the clothes but about the body IN the clothes.

Riz, I am avoiding the Balmain; I had a look at it last night and all I kept thinking about was that iconic Balmain fragrance Jolie Madame, and what elegance that signified, and how this nouveau Balmain is sort of like Jolie Punk Poulette or something that would be worn sans knickers.

riz said...

AM - I <3 you so much right now. I also peeked at balmain last night, and couldn't stand it. I know you are into historicity, i confess to knowing nothing about that house really, but I was looking forward to a new direction there just as i was with tisci at givenchy...I agree with your assessment.

enc said...

I heard her say she was wearing Dior. I couldn't tell what year. Interesting.

Iheartfashion said...

I echo Wendyb, in that the Oscar highlight was letting Marketa come back on to say her thank yous. I was SO rooting for Once. But the fashion was dull, dull, dull. And ill-fitting: see Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Garner squeezed within an inch of their lives.

iƱaki said...

How dull shall this world be without you!
I thought this year's red catwalk such a freaking bore. I can usually amuse myself for a few hours on the Oscars matter, not this year.
Here in Spain they changed boring for sober and safe for classic. I'm ashamed to live with such sheep.

xx

dreamecho said...

"Pedigree is nothing but a fraudulent accessory."

Agreed!

Bobble Bee said...

I don't know exactly why but i love this post, from the very beginning to the very end.
Maybe because it touches all kinds of Hollywood we know, because it speaks out, because it pays hommage to a wonderful woman, i don't know... i like it :)

BTW, i agree with imelda; what a dull soiree...