5 life (and fashion) lessons I learned from the Oscars

I used to think the Oscars were on another planet. I mean, celebrities aren’t real people, and movies aren’t real life, right?

After this year’s ceremony, I don’t think so anymore. It’s different. All the glossy people talking about real issues, there were tons of great women supporting each other, representing feminism, and Whoopi Goldberg was wearing a giant octopus bracelet. What else do I need? This year, I was really moved, as if the awards ceremony made me think…… Just like…… I learned a few things……

1. Best Never Give Up Attitude goes to Leo

Leo received four nominations before winning the fifth. How many things have I tried really, really hard to do four times in a row and it didn’t work out, but still got up and tried to do it again the fifth time? (The real answer to this rhetorical question is: Go back to Australia and try recreating Magnolia Bakery’s cupcakes.)

Runner-up Diane Warren

Diane missed out on an eighth Academy Award, and I think there’s a whole different story to learn from it: perspective. She made some comments about the disappointment of the night, which is understandable, but she was also responsible for the radical and incredibly moving tributes to abuse survivors that were televised by millions of people. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my creative career so far, it’s that consistency is key. Deliver great results on time, every time. A woman who has consistently performed well throughout her decades-long career is hardly a “runner-up.”

2. The award for best from Work to Dinner (i.e., from the Oscars to the party after the “Crazy Party”) goes to: Brie Larson.

Why? Because of Monse. The pale pink velvet drapery, oh dear, made my heart flutter. And Zanita and I just saw it at New York Fashion Week. Remember Zanita’s collage of this photo from Monse’s fashion show? Of course I remember.

3. The award for most daring/daring/savage personal style goes to: Jenny Beavan.

When Jenny Beavan, the winner of this year’s Best actress Oscar, walked by the stage, a bunch of men didn’t applaud (seriously, check the video, it was horrible, it was hilarious) until she stood on the stage and they realized that, in fact, she was the winner. Yes, this is what an Oscar-winning costume designer looks like. Her leather jacket had a diamond-encrusted skull on the back.

It’s one thing to be comfortable in your own skin, it’s a whole new kind of courage to wear whatever you want at the world’s most gorgeous event. The new superhero identity has been unlocked.

4. The award for Best accessory and the “Yeah, I’m Still Playing Football” award goes to: Whoopi Goldberg: Whoopi Goldberg.

Did I mention her bracelet was an octopus? Honestly, look at her smile. Anything that reminds me of the existence of Sister Act deserves an award.

5. The best and most important theme of the night goes to encouraging dialogue and combating the stigma surrounding sexual abuse and assault.

Where do we start? Lady Gaga’s musical tribute and dozens of sexual assault survivors shared the stage with her. Kesha took to Twitter to thank Gaga for the song. Spotlight, a film about child abuse in the Catholic Church, won best picture just hours after its star and director attended a march for sexual assault survivors in downtown Los Angeles. Brie Larson won best actress for “Room,” which tells the story of a mother who cares for her children after being trapped by depraved kidnappers for 17 years.

The topic feels a little heavy against the velvet and diamonds, but that’s what I think is the real charm of this year’s Academy Awards. It seems to me that this year’s Academy Awards for the first time began to acknowledge the true dimensions of the human experience.

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