Every year, we tune into the Oscars a full hour (or three) ahead of the curtain, just to watch what we think is the actual show: the red carpet arrivals. And every year, we hope for another Cher moment: that over-the-top, dripping-with-personality showcase of everything the actress (or actor) is all about when they're not donning another persona — an opportunity to show the world their point of view when there's no script to speak through.
However, it's been a long time since an Oscar red carpet look really bowled us over and left us with an ear-to-ear grin. We're talking about the kind of sartorial choice that's genuine and awesome and statement-making, whether it's presented as a publicity stunt or not (yes, even egg vessels get our vote). For instance, whether you thought Bjork's swan outfit was ridiculous or not, the fact that it happened is awesome. Beyond the fact that the look was memorable, it felt representative of the singer, and her story, and now, her celebrity persona is forever intertwined with our memory of that ballsy look.
There should always be a forum for A-list celebrities to show off their A-list personalities in such a highly publicized way, without worrying that a panel of "style experts" will knock you down for deviating from the mermaid-hem-and-updo norm. Where's Tilda when you need her?
Case in point: Last night's "expert" reaction to the gorgeous Kirsten Wiig's choice of hair and dress was aggressive and a little mean. On E!, many a commenter knocked the Bridesmaids star for wearing her hair down, which, in the grand scheme of beauty and style options for a glitzy black-tie look, is really about as iconoclastic as wearing white after Labor Day. It's ish like this that makes us feel like the Oscar red carpet is just a televised version of the Mean Girls prom scene — if you don't come with the boob-lifting, butt-shaping dress, high heels, and a twisty updo, you'll be relegated to sit with the others on the Worst Dressed list. Bogus!
With the best stylists, designers, and resources in the entire fashion world at their fingertips, the celebs on the red carpet should never resemble a parade of prom queens. In our ideal world, we'd see Le Smokings, short frocks, and real couture creations just as often as your predictable, pretty dresses. Finding some joie de vivre in the crew of Academy Award nominees and attendees shouldn't have to feel like finding a needle in a sequined haystack.