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How The 2014 Classy Oscars Got It Right

This Year’s Elegant Oscars Fixed Last Year’s Missteps

As the current crop of Oscar winners take their victory lap through our favorite talk shows, I am so relieved by how wonderfully elegant this year’s Academy Awards were. After last year’s frat-boy romp with Seth MacFarlane, it was easy to worry that the storied movie celebration was losing its way.

When I clicked on my TV Sunday afternoon, the very first person I saw walk the red carpet was Bette Midler. She was so thrilled to be there, gushing about designer Reem Acra coming to her house for fittings and how nervous she was for her very first Oscar performance. She was so classy in her deference and excitement. Later that night, she sang Wind Beneath My Wings as part of the annual In Memoriam. I think I stopped breathing. The singer Pink, too, brought the house down with her rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Old Hollywood, with a modern twist: Now that’s how I want to end awards season, especially one marred by a tongue-wagging Miley Cyrus and a foam finger. The earlier awards shows, like People’s Choice and Golden Globes, are fun. But the Oscars are the Oscars. And deserve some gravitas.

The best part about the Academy Awards is that it really is a night for the heavyweights – the ones who, quite frankly, are too important to even have to show up. Yet, they do. How fabulous was Liza Minnelli when she wordlessly shamed host Ellen Degeneres about an unfunny joke at her expense? Or Goldie Hawn’s signature hippy dippy flyaway hair as she floated onto stage, a look that belied her strong, graceful speaking voice that put some of her peers to shame.

When I was a child, I once asked my dance teacher why we had to get so dressed up to go to the ballet. She answered, “To show respect for what you do.” The Oscars are when the Hollywood stars show their respect, which they all do. The unexpected fashion moments are the best – hip-hop artist Pharrell Williams in a tux, albeit with shorts instead of trousers. Best Actor winner Jared Leto wore his long hair hang, letting his artistic side shine next to his spiffy white dinner jacket and red bowtie.

The lovely (Best Actress winner) Cate Blachett was so serious about looking perfect for the Oscars that she got ready in a nearby hotel and walked herself to the red carpet – no creases from sitting down in a limo for her. And oh how she dazzled in her nude-colored Armani gown covered in crystals! Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Martin Scorsese… This was their year, the year of Hollywood royalty. The only letdowns on the carpet were the youngins. Ingénue Emma Watson, who is normally a fashion darling, was widely panned for her boring gown that wasn’t “special” enough for the occasion. And poor Anna Kendrick, whose talents have taken her to a starring role next to George Clooney and to the Kennedy Honors stage, got slammed for her odd gown with colored cutouts around her middle.

It’s as if they didn’t get it. Meanwhile, the Streeps and the Bullocks sat smug in their VIP seats. Unlike last year when they cringed through most of the first half, this year they seemed to really enjoy themselves – even before the pizza break.

Also standing out this year: the moms. So many strutted the red carpet with their famous children (mostly sons) that the trend earned a nod from Joan Rivers and her Fashion Police. Some even said that Leto’s mother was one of the most gorgeous women to walk the carpet! From single-handedly raising two sons, often on food stamps, to gracefully accompanying them at the Oscars?

Now that’s Hollywood-worthy class.

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