Considering My Relationship with the Oscars

In case you missed my Red Carpet interview, I wore an emerald-colored gown to the Oscars.

When I was 17, this is what I planned to wear to the Oscars....
When I was 17, this is what I planned to wear to the Oscars….

It was a strapless number, structured through the bodice but draping effortlessly from the hips. There are understated gold embellishments that are really only visible when I move — an effect for the Red Carpet paparazzi. It’s vaguely inspired by Whoppie Goldberg’s spoof of Scarlet O’Hara’s curtain gown….. It’s a knock-out, sure to land me on every best dressed list.

And with an imaginary flash of the photographer’s camera, and an adieu to Ryan Seacrest, the daydream ends and I remember: I was not at the Oscars.

When my friend Annie and I were writing our respective masters’ theses, we’d often procrastinate by conjuring up our Oscar nights. I’d always more or less return to the same scenario — attending on the arm of Gerard Butler in my jewel-toned gown with baubles by Harry Winston.

This year, I went with Bradley Cooper….

Anyway, all of this bring me to the point that, when it comes to the Oscars, all I really care about is the clothes.

It’s been a long time since I’ve watched the Oscars having seen enough of the nominated movies to give any intelligent input about which deserves what. Of course that doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions.

I took it very personally the year Russell Crow lost to Denzel Washington for Best Actor. In fact, I was so miffed that I refused to see any Denzel Washington movie since Training Day, for which he won the award. That’s right, I won’t be seeing Flight anytime soon. (Though, I’ve watched Remember the Titans more times than I care to admit…we all make concessions….)

Every year, there’s a movie nominated for Best Picture that I absolutely refuse to see, under any circumstance.

In 2009, it was Avatar. (still haven’t seen it)

I won't see Lincoln... and it's not just because Daniel Day Lewis looks like he's wearing a Halloween costume...
I won’t see Lincoln… and it’s not just because Daniel Day Lewis looks like he’s wearing a Halloween costume…

In 2013, it’s Lincoln. Don’t ask why… you’ll be here for hours….

Oh, and Les Mis. I won’t see Les Mis. I didn’t like it on Broadway, and I don’t expect to like it on the big screen. Even if Russell is in it… So I’m just not going to watch it.

Ever.

I saw Argo and I loved it.

It wasn’t an extraordinary movie, on par with some of the great films in history, but there was something about it’s understated quality and veracity that made it incredibly watchable, dare I say riveting. I want it to win something.

I wished I’d seen Zero Dark Thirty. I’ll probably catch it when it hits Netflix.

When Katherine Bigelow beat out ex hubby and mega egoist James Cameron in all the important categories with her Hurt Locker (hands down one of the most memorable and powerful movies ever made) I was positively giddy. So, I’m secretly (and with blind prejudice) pulling for her latest film to take home some big awards.

If Ann Hathaway walks home with that Oscar this year, there’s a good chance I’ll throw something at the television.

Unless she’s wearing something fantastic…

For the actors, the Oscars mean a lifetime achievement. For me? It's all about the clothes...
For the actors, the Oscars mean a lifetime achievement. For me? It’s all about the clothes…

 

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The Men Who have Come/Gone/Stayed and our Fictional Couple Alter-Egos

We read like a Jane Austen novel... except for the fact he's marrying someone else.

“Your relationship with Greg reads like a Jane Austen novel,” Dani observed. “You’ll probably end up with him. In an over-sized, creepy stone house in the English country side.”

Greg and I did sound a lot like a Jane Austen novel — Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, to be precise. A meeting that started with a snub. But eventually unavoidable interaction, blinding prejudice and wounded pride gave way to inescapable endearment and genuine affection. But 3 years after our romance began to bloom, Greg is a successful Boston-based consultant engaged to a lovely Harvard med student. Their professionally-photographed facebook engagement album makes me throw-up a little every time I look at it.

It was Greg’s engagement album and the subsequent flashback to that remark from Dani that got me thinking: if Greg and I were Lizzy and Darcy, then for every relationship I’ve ever had, there is surely a corresponding fictional couple.

A Former Prospect: Kathleen Kelly & Joe Fox, “You’ve Got Mail”

It started online. Like Kathleen & Joe, we share a love of books, old and new. I’m the firey, independent shopkeeper. He’s the business man with a golden retriever and a hidden mushy side. Through emails, we slowly became trusted confidants.

We were a Joe & Kate, right down to the central park meeting. Luckily, his gallery didn't put mine out of business

And then one day we met in Central Park.

“I hoped it would be you.”

Cue tissue box.

In the movie Kathleen and Joe were the total antithesis of each other outside their protective digital bubble, — he even put her out of business. Luckily, my Joe’s gallery won’t put mine out of business.

A Recent Fling: Carrie & Mr. Big, “Sex & The City”

He was the several years my senior high-rolling businessman with a predilection for runway models and a chronic commitment problem while I’m the curly-haired, fashion-focused relationship blogger. To my friends, he’s known as “My Favorite Mistake.” All signs pointed to a train wreck, and yet, we couldn’t resist each other.

Unfortunately, much like Carrie and Big, neither one was very good at saying “no” to the other… even if he is a republican. Luckily, it didn’t take us 5 years to figure out we were a deadend.

The good friend: Kermit the Frog and Fozzie the Bear

They're a classic combination

“I had a dream about the event,” he said to me. “I don’t remember what happened, but I remember running around trying to find you because I needed you to fix something.”

“Are you sure it was a dream? That sounds an awful lot like  last Tuesday.”

He laughed, and we continued to discuss plans for the redux version of an old collaboration.

“I feel like Kermit getting the band back together!”

“If you’re Kermit, does that make me Fozzy?” I replied.

“Wacka, wacka!”

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

The One I’m Holding out For: Nick & Kate, “No Reservations”

Nick thinks Kate’s the best chef in town and is happy playing sous-chef to her executive chef. Their styles are somewhat conflicting, but their partnership is deliciously well-balanced perfection.

Just like Kate, I'm holding out for a partner in crime like Nick


“The Social Network” is a Terrible Movie, but We Say we Love it Anyway

All these critics agree -- The Social Network is a landmark film. Maybe I watched the wrong movie.

News Feed: “Facebook is now in a complicated relationship with The Social Network.”

I may be the last person on the planet who, before this weekend, had not seen “The Social Network.” Now that I’ve caught up, I wish I was still the last person on the planet who hadn’t seen “The Social Network.”

My opinion of the movie has little to do with the fact that I was friends with Mark Zuckerberg in public school. We weren’t extremely close, but I knew him well enough that my mother was willing to make him the sole exception to the “No Dating Until You’re 18” rule (oh! Mothers and their power of foresight!). “The Social Network” is not a bad movie because it’s an inaccurate portrayal of one of the most enigmatic (and powerful) characters of our generation. It’s a bad movie because it’s superficial, boring, and disjointed.

Our obsession with Facebook and its creator is a complicated one that dictates the way we respond to “The Social Network.” Until recently, Zuckerberg stayed out of the spotlight. When we did see him interviewed, he was reticent, brilliant but hard to relate to. The lawsuits attacking possible underhanded dealings threatened to take Facebook from us. We knew there were a few of them, but what were they about? And yet, while there were those who tried to halt its forward march, “to Facebook” became an action we can’t live without.

We’re inclined to like “The Social Network” because as Facebook rapidly penetrated every click and every interaction, we craved a  neat summary of how this idea born in a Harvard dorm room transformed into a global phenomenon — a phenomenon that has irrevocably changed the way people connect.

In a world where getting their first determines "coolness," The Social Network is only cool because it told the facebook story first.

We live in a world where getting there first is the principal criteria for “coolness,” the leading criteria for critical acclaim. The iPod will always trump other mp3 players because it got there first. “The Social Network” will always trump future Facebook or Mark Zuckerberg movies because it was the first to tell us the Facebook story. Stephen Holden of the NYTimes calls it “a once-in-a-generation movie,” and it is, simply because the next Facebook movie is another decade in the making.

Facebook is an empowering platform that  allows us to not only communicate, but to curate our lives.  It enables us to pick and choose and update the details that shape the way we’re perceived by our peers. We have become objects in an online museum where our solo-exhibits change as frequently as we choose. Even if Facebook one day implodes, an unlikely event now that it’s so ingrained in our social and digital fabric, we will never revert to the old ways of locating, messaging, and digitally relating to people.

That’s the true Oscar-caliber performance of Mark Zuckerberg’s social network. Sorkin’s and Fincher’s snooze fest pales in comparison.

We’re All Pretty, Pretty, Neurotic Princesses

Of late, I’ve found a kindred spirit in Cinderella.

Sure, I have neither an evil step-mother who locks me in an attic nor ugly step-sisters who steal my clothes and spill pizza grease on them, but I have my share of chores that keep me looking like I just rolled around in a cinder bin.

 

Every Cinderella needs her own set of seamstress mice

 

Mornings are spent makeupless in old jeans and a t-shirt running errands for the family while my mother recovers from her recent hip replacement. I race through grocery stores, power-mop the kitchen floor, dust away the cobwebs from the corners of the living room, transfer the laundry from the hamper to the washing machines, groom the dogs, and put two meals on the table while prepping the third for my return at night. The projects I’m working on have me on call 24-7, and the majority of what I accomplish during the day is done between blackberry emails on the run and conference calls from my compact-SUV. At night, I’m “training” and if I’m lucky, home in my sweats by 10PM.

In short, I’m like every other modern woman as she tries to make her way in life on her own two feet while contributing to her family’s overall well-being. There isn’t much in the way of glamor, but there isn’t much to complain about.

On the console table near my front door sits an invitation to a charity ball. The event is being organized by a woman whose generosity, strength, and heart I greatly admire, and who has recently emerged as a fairy god-mother of sorts. A little bit of sparkle is something to look forward to, especially in the name of a good cause. As for the Cinderella transformation, do you remember that scene in the Disney movie when all the worker mice team-up and create a ball-gown for Cinderella from scraps of material? Yea, I’ve got seamstress mice too. Rather than buy something new, my tailor is reviving a unique vintage piece. It is a recession after all, and I’m a big believer in “once couture, always couture.” A needle, some thread, a little bibbidi, bobbidi, boo, and I’m good to go.

Hopefully, I won’t leave a Ferragamo behind on the dance floor.

All these parallels got my friend Annie and I thinking: If the 21st century New Yorker edition of Cinderella looks like me, what would the some of the other princesses look like in today’s Grimm fairytale?

 

Grace (of "Will & Grace") is the modern Snow White, and we love her

 

Rapunzel is that girl that lets men walk all over her. She’s the one most likely to get back together with the jerk who dumped her. Because she spends most of the day locked away in her room/office, Rapunzel is bound to get into trouble when she’s partying away a Friday night. As she goes off to the bathroom to make-out with the bartender, her friends say “It’s no wonder her mother had to lock her in a tower!”

Snow White shares a flat with 3 gay guys. In fact, all of her friends are handsome gay guys who take her shopping and tell her she’s fabulous and that they can’t live without her. She stopped having girlfriends after her jealous best friend slept with her boyfriend. Snow often eats indiscriminately and feels bad about it later when she’s passed out on her sofa in an apple-turnover-induced food coma.

Sleeping Beauty is the girl we all hate because every guy hits on her and she’s totally oblivious. She has no idea how beautiful she is or how charming. Men stumble over themselves trying to buy her a drink. She’s nonchalant about dating because she never has to work to get asked out, but she doesn’t like to ruin a good night’s sleep by having a strange guy stay over.  All her friends secretly hope she has an eating disorder…