“The Oscars show is still watched by millions, but less as a suspenseful competition than as spectacle of public humiliation starring the most pampered, preening people in the world—Hollywood celebrities—in a cherished ritual of comeuppance.” Words of great insight by Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times, though I would have squeezed “misogyny” and “short-attention span” in there somewhere. Because on February 24th, after the ladies of Hollywood have traipsed into the Kodak Theatre, their couture gowns raked through the coals by tabloid ogres with a chilling, razor-sharp exactitude that would make Nina Garcia blush, AMPAS will raise its glasses in honor of a glorified perfume commercial that prominently features an outfit that has already been deemed the greatest of all time. The ambiguously gay Israeli dude from this season’s Project Runway whips up more exciting pieces every week, but Keira Knightley’s nightie-cum-gown is admittedly a lovely few feet of green fabric—virtually an epitome of restraint compared to the pompish miles of lace and patterned cloth Cate Blanchett has to shoulder like a pack mule throughout Elizabeth: The Golden Age, a grossly detailed nightmare that shouldn’t be discounted here just because it’s not so easily forgotten. But the Oscar is king—or is it queen?—of the knee-jerk reaction, so expect voters to follow In Style’s lead and screw, yet again, Colleen Atwood’s exquisite contributions to Tim Burton’s latest gothic reverie.
Will Win: Atonement
Should Win: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street