Last night’s Academy Award Ceremony mixed a major “first” for one woman in Hollywood, with status quo treatment for others. Kathryn Bigelow won the Best Director award for The Hurt Locker. She is the first woman to ever win in the category. In fact, only four women have even been nominated for Best Director in the 82-year history of the awards: Lina Wertmuller in 1976, Jane Campion in 1993, Sofia Coppola in 2003 and Bigelow.
Outside of Bigelow’s much lauded and historic win, the Oscars were business as usual for women in Hollywood. The ceremonies were kicked off by an opening number staring Neil Patrick Harris surrounded by scantily clad Vegas-style showgirls and then hosted by two male hosts: Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin. The show featured several all-male categories (outside of Best Male Actor and Best Male Supporting Actor) including Original Score, Visual Effects and Cinematography.
And on the red carpet, the different treatment of male and female celebrities was blatant. Most of the women who graced the red carpet were beautifully turned out–perfect hair, perfect makeup, perfect wardrobe. Sarah Jessica Parker lived up to her fashion icon status in Chanel couture. Diane Kruger, also in Chanel, looked great, and Queen Latifah was dressed to perfection in a lavender gown with jeweled trim.
The women in the 50+ set looked stunning. Helen Mirren wore a beautiful icy gown complemented by flawless hair and makeup, and Sigourney Weaver looked stunning in red. The men, however, were noticeably less groomed than the women. Even though many of the male actors were dressed impeccably in Tom Ford tuxedos, their hair–on top of their heads and on their faces–was quite casual. It wasn’t just the 50+ set sporting gray hair this year. Even men like Matthew Broderick and George Clooney, who haven’t hit the half century mark, let their true colors show.
For years, and perhaps always, looks have mattered as much as talent in Hollywood–and not just for women, but for men, too. (“High School Musical” star, Zac Efron, was sporting a generous amount of hair gel last night.) But the red carpet underscores the fact women in show business are held to a much higher (and somewhat ridiculous) beauty standard than their male counterparts.
Perhaps the most telling comment of the evening came from a celebrity interviewer who told Sandra Bullock, dressed to win in a gown that looked like liquid gold, “The starving was worth it.”
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