Oscar recap: Winners and losers onstage and the red carpet

McConaughey rocked a white dinner jacket.Gravity apparently lacked gravitas last night, for while the special effects extravaganza won the most Oscars — seven in all, including best director for Alfonso Cuaron — best picture went to the slavery biopic 12 Years a Slave, giving Brad Pitt his first Oscar … as a producer. Director-coproducer Steve McQueen also made history as the first black man to win a best picture Oscar. It was a close one — 12 Years and Gravity were my No. 1 and No. 2 film, respectively, of 2013.

This was a weird repeat of last year, when best picture winner Argo took three awards, but not the most awards, with Life of Pi taking, interesting, four of the same Gravity won (director, special effects, score and cinematography). So far, no Oscar for best picture has ever gone to a film released in 3-D or IMAX format.

The other big winner of the night was Dallas Buyers Club, which won three of its six nominations, including best actor to native Texan Matthew McConaughey and best supporting actor to Jared Leto. Cate Blanchett, as predicted, won best actress for the Woody Allen film Blue Jasmine. Overall, it was a fairly predictable lineup of winners. (Strangely, five of the best picture nominees, including three nominated for best director, walked away entirely empty-handed.)

But it wasn’t just on the stage but on the red carpet that we saw the winners and losers. Our fashion guy J. Denton Bricker weighs in below with his best- and worst-dressed awards:

Denton’s best dressed:

CATE BLANCHETT

Blanchett, who won the entire awards season on the red carpet

Cate Blanchett — The best actress winner won again for her fashion choices, as she did throughout award season. Her fabulous nude dress adorned with ice/diamonds/crystals looked like something out of Frozen via Giorgio Armani. It was heavy but it looked so light and the chandelier earrings were a perfect balance. The girl worked those snowballs hard.

Lupita Nyong’o — The supporting actress winner wore an amazing yet simple duck-egg-blue dress, with a silver headband to make it looks all the more like a fierce Roman lady. Her acceptance speech was adorable and inspiring.

Charlize Theron — The prior Oscar winner looked divine and polished in a black gown by Dior that accentuates her curves in all the right way. The light straps give the illusion of strapless which give it a needed lightness on top.

JENNIFER LAWRENCE

Jennifer Lawrence, the lady in red.

Jennifer Lawrence — Last year’s best actress is becoming a fall expert as she fell over an orange cone getting out of the car; what a way to make an entrance and of course Ellen teased her about it. She looked gorgeous in bold, strapless red Christian Dior with blown back hair and simple accessories. She also wore a necklace that drapes in the back — she is working that trend.

Kate Hudson — She has laid the foundation for a comeback with this startling beautiful and fabulous, shimmering silver frock. K-Hud is open for business.

Amy Adams — She donned a striking, deep blue ’50s-inspired Gucci Couture gown with tangerine earrings that popped.

Honorable mentions:

Kerry Washington — She glowed in a lavender gown by Jason Woo but her dark lipstick was a bit severe.

Angelina Jolie — She looked voluptuous in a metallic sheer combination form fitting dress that showed the perfect amount of skin.

Anne Hathaway — She dazzled in a sleek in black Gucci with a glittering jeweled top.

Meryl Streep — The Oscar legend wore a forgettable white/black ensemble with a glittering belt but let’s be real, she can wear whatever the hell she wants. She could wear a burlap sack and no one would blink. Meryl is winning.

PENELOPE CRUZ

Cruz-in’ for a bruisin’ in the fashion blogs.

Denton’s worst dressed:

Naomi Watts — She looked crisp and clean in a white dress by Calvin Klein though somehow I can’t help but picture white lint balls all over it.

Julia Roberts — The pretty woman wore an edgy black lace gown that was pretty but just wasn’t memorable.

Sally Hawkins — A nominee this year, she  looked like Diane Keaton from Father of the Bride, which was fine in 1990 but in 2014 looks ridiculous and way too big.

Penelope Cruz — She wore a wrinkled pale pink sheet cinched at the waist by a black bow and she struggled with it on the red carpet.

Lady Gaga — Three words: Gay Chrysler Building.

Jennifer Garner — This just didn’t work. I want to like it because I like her but I just don’t know if four different rows of silver fringe really belong at the Oscars. 

Leto, dressed as a man, was defiantly dapper.The Men:

Jared Leto — He kept it fresh with a white jacket with a wine colored bow tie. I love the ombre of his hair.

Matthew McConaughey — He handsomely coordinated with Leto, also wearing a white jacket but was “dirty but in a good way,” as Ellen quipped.

Joseph Gordon Levitt — He was really dapper in a black form fitting tux complete with bow tie.

Chris Hemsworth — Last but not least, Thor rocked a hot maroon jacket.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Our best and worst at the Oscars

OK, so we can all probably agree that the worst thing at the Oscars wasn’t on the red carpet — it was Seth MacFarlane’s tone-deaf jokes about Quvenzhane Wallis and other celebs that fell flat. Well, maybe you did like him, or even Jennifer Lawrence winning for the godawful Silver Linings Playbook.

Well, whatever you thought of the ceremony, here’s what our fashionista, J. Denton Bricker, thought of the best and worst ladies’ wear of the evening. Feel free to disagree or add your own.

BEST

DARREN LE GALLO, AMY ADAMSJESSICA CHASTAINNAOMI WATTS Amy Adams — The shape of her pale blue Oscar de la Renta was dazzling with every shot from the front row.

Jessica Chastain — The shimmering Art Deco design (also from Armani Prive) conjured images of Old Hollywood, including Marilyn.

Naomi Watts — This sharp silver number from Armani Prive looked like nothing else on the red carpet and seemed to catch color.

REESE WITHERSPOONWILLIAM GOLDENBERG, SANDRA BULLOCK

Reese Witherspoon — The form-fitting cobalt gown by Louis Vuitton was sleek and classic with a little edge. Her vintage locks were the best of the evening.

Sandra Bullock — Elegant, effortless and breathtaking in Ellie Saab, who wouldn’t want to receive an award from her?

WORST

MELISSA MCCARTHYANNE HATHAWAYHelena-Bonham-Carter

Melissa McCarthy — The effort was there, but the grey blob of a dress from David Meister just didn’t work.

Anne Hathaway — The pale pink Prada fit Anne awkwardly and accentuated her breasts in all the wrong, pointed ways.

Helena Bonham Carter — Known for her eccentric tastes, the spooky Vivienne Westwood was just wrong for the Oscar red carpet.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: Red carpet for ‘Les Miz’ (sorta)

Only four performers portray all the celebs in this hilarious riff on red carpet premieres — and just in time for our Hollywood Issue coming out next week. Enjoy!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Some observations on my Oscar experience

Even though I’ve written a book about the Oscars, I’ve never actually attended any of their events, or come much closer than watching the show when it airs.

That changed earlier this week, when I attended the announcement ceremony from the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Hollywood. I had to wake up at 3 a.m. to get there for the media breakfast and be in place for the announcements, which took place at 5:38 a.m. (so that they were in time for the East Coast broadcasts of the morning news shows). It was a surprisingly lively event. Here are some of my thoughts at it was happening.

• The lobby is covered in red carpet — I guess that saves a lot of time laying it out every 15 seconds so celebs know where to go.

• The security is tight but the people are friendly. This is L.A. after all — you can never be sure who’s some journo from Dallas and who might be a segment producer for Access Hollywood. Or Harvey Weinstein’s personal assistant.

• An old man at my table at the media breakfast just got his foot wrapped on my bag’s strap, which was pressed next to my chair. “I’m gonna kill myself on that! Putting it under the table is better.” “Picking up your feet when you walk isn’t a bad idea, either,” I mutter. He then sat down and nearly took the table cloth with him when it gets caught on his foot. What’s the common denominator here? My bag or this guy?

• Some folks are wearing swag from previous Oscars. I am not among them. I decide this is a good thing, because then people might want to talk to you about it and I’m just a faker who bought my swag anyway.

• The breakfast looks busy and well-attended to me, but a few veterans of the event note that there are “fewer and fewer every year… They’re all going to Sundance.”

• Small world: I just bumped into Amy, a publicist for ABC. I had met her only the day before, at a friend’s house — she is the girlfriend of his roommate. She does a mean Madonna impersonation, though not here.

• I’m surprised that more people are not talking about the Oscars themselves, or even the movie business — handicapping who they think the nominees will be, what films they expect to get snubbed. I wonder if they are playing it close to the vest or really have become so bored by it this is just an inconvenient assignment. Or maybe they are afraid to look too anxious and fan-boy crazy.

• There is one exception. A guy I’m sitting near apparently has a gig as a handicapper of the visual effects category. He says Hugo isn’t feeling the love and neither is Harry Potter — those will likely be passed over. The surprise nominee, he predicts, may be Real Steel, though he wonders if it and Transformers 3 — two robot movies — will both get nominated. He does predict Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the frontrunner to win “as compensation for not nominating Andy Serkis.” Captain America also seems a lock…

• Only he’s wrong. Yes, Rise and Steel both get nods, but so does Transformers and so do Hugo and Potter. Captain America is overlooked.

• After so much cool, a few minutes before the velvet rope is removed to allow folks into the theater, and without any public announcement, the “first admit” passholders magically start lining up like airplane travelers jockeying for the shortest wait. They care…

• Finally, the ceremony is over and folks are pouring over the press release, looking not just at what movies got nods, but who. They are not all journalists here — some probably are Harvey Weinstein’s assistants, or at least folks from corporate who have bosses in the running. Or personal grudges. “No, he didn’t make the list,” one says into a cell phone. “Ohh, she got nominated — he’ll be pissed!” another observes. Half of show business is business…

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Celeb sightings

This year’s Out & Equal Workplace Summit boasts a healthy amount of celebrities coming to town. From actors to comedians and more, Dallas prepares not only to host a slew of workshops on equality, but also rolls out the red carpet for these guests.

Meredith Baxter:  You’ll likely remember the actress as supermom Elyse Keaton on Family Ties. But she made a new impression by coming out last year. She speaks at Wednesday’s breakfast plenary session and follows up with a book signing at Nuvo, 3900 Cedar Springs Road, on Oct. 26 at 6 p.m.

Andy Cohen:  The senior vice president at Bravo has almost singlehandedly changed the face of gays on television. That extends to these parts with the new show Most Eligible Dallas.
The Watch What Happens Live host will appear at Tuesday’s brunch plenary session.

Rick Welts:  The name may not be as familiar but Welts made front page news this year in the New York Times. The former Phoenix Suns president is the first higher-up of a men’s professional sports organization to come out.
He appears with Baxter at the Wednesday plenary.

Margaret Cho:  The comedian has long been an ally to the LGBT community and continues in appearances at such events as this. She is part of the lineup for Thursday’s gala dinner hosted by fellow comedian Kate Clinton.

Wilson Cruz:  The actor redefined the queer image on television with his work on My So Called Life. Through his acting on stage and screen, Cruz has also become an advocate for LGBT youth. He appears with Cho and Clinton at the gala dinner.

For more information on these and other guests appearing at the summit, visit OutAndEqual.org/2011-Speakers.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 21, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

PHOTOS: Red carpet gala of Private | Social

I have a story this week about Top Chef Tiffany Derry, but you can also see photos by Kristina Bowman (and myself) here of the opening night, which included a host of other Top Chef contestants, including the delightly gay chef Arnold Myint and some stars from Most Eligible Dallas. A review of the resto will come next month.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tiffany does Uptown

TIFFANY TWISTED | Derry put scallops on her menu at her new McKinney Avenue eatery Private|Social, but she has taken pains not to do another seafood restaurant (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

‘Top Chef’ fave Tiffany Derry brings her new concept to her favorite neighborhood

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES | Life+Style Editor
jones@dallasvoice.com

It’s just a few hours before her new restaurant, Private|Social, is set to open with a red carpet gala, but if the pressure is getting to Tiffany Derry, you wouldn’t know it to look at her.

For one thing, she has help. Through the glass in the dining room looking into the kitchen, you can see a staff diligently and wordlessly going through the motions of a prep chef: mixing pizza dough, chopping herbs, readying eggs for a passed appetizer. But look closer, and the faces are familiar. Arnold Myint, dapper and pixieish, was a contestant on Top Chef; to his right, fellow finalist Kelly Liken; to his left, Kevin Sbraga, who actually won their season. These may be the best line cooks anyone’s had since Jacques Pepin peeled potatoes for Julia Child.

But that’s the kind of affection Derry generates — and a second reason why she might not look stressed out: She’s used to it.

Derry’s last 18 months have been remarkable. There has been no bigger breakout star from all seasons of Top Chef than her. She made the final five of Season 7, winning the “fan favorite” prize, then immediately returned for the first all-stars season, coming in fourth.

“I always said about the show, I don’t care if I won or lost as long as I do my best by my standards. One thing I just loved about [being on Top Chef] was, it challenged me to do more and be better,” she says.

That ended up being a good dry run for what was to come. Just as the all-stars started filming, Derry got shocking news: The owners of the restaurant in North Dallas that she’d launched, Go Fish, closed it with no notice. Dallas’ biggest celebrity of the moment found herself out of a job.

That lasted all of two days.

When investors who were interested in opening a new concept realized Derry was available, she was the first person they called. For Derry, it was serendipity.

“Had it not closed, I wouldn’t be here right now,” she says. “The moment you get a job, you start thinking anyone can take this away from me. I needed to be in a position to make my own moves.”

What made Derry popular with audiences is part of her appeal in person. She’s loud and upfront about everything — there’s no hint of politicking when she answers questions, and she has a strong sense of her own personality. She knows that serves her well as a chef… all she needs to do is bring that personality to the plate. And the shuttering of Go Fish offered her the chance to double down on her skill set in the kitchen.

“I was starting to get stale at certain things,” Derry admits. Her background is in both seafood and Italian cuisine, and a new concept offered her the opportunity to expand her palate.

“I knew I wanted to do some global food,” she says. “I do love fish — I love playing with the textures. When I see a piece of meat, my first reaction is, ‘What do I do with this?’”

Derry was intimately involved in every aspect of launching Private|Social, including the locale.

“I always knew I wanted to be in Uptown,” she declares. When she came into the space along McKinney Avenue, she says, she knew instantly that it was where she wanted to be. She hand-picked every piece of stem- and flatware on the tables, and even selected the “P” and “S” on the door handles — one opening into “private,” the other into “social.” (The menus are printed in-house, so Derry anticipates updating them at least monthly, if not weekly.)

The concept was also near-and-dear to her. The paradoxical name indicates not only the bifurcated dining areas, but the menu as well. Want high-end event dining with a seasonal menu? Ask for “private.” Prefer to meet up with some friends after work for large plates less expensive food and cocktails? Choose “social.” Both menus are available in both dining areas — even at the same table. It also means that diners with differing budgets can eat at the same restaurant and enjoy different price points to fit their wallets without feeling intimidated.

Welcome to the post-financial meltdown world of dining out.

Derry quickly ’fesses that the pre-opening part of the restaurant biz is her favorite. There’s potential at each corner to do something new. Everything is possible.

“I have to calm my tendency to make everything Asian,” she says of her menu process on Private|Social. “There is a lot of seafood; the gnudi is Italian and my vegetarian option is a pasta, but oh, well.” One item she’s happy to have added is a massive “salad” invented by Arnold Myint’s mother. It’s labor-intensive and outside her comfort zone a little, but why not try something new? Derry is used to taking chances.

Right now, though, she has to get back to the kitchen to get ready for her opening. Then there’s a trip to the salon and a night of media and guests and reality TV shows filming every moment of the most important day of her life.

But Derry doesn’t break a sweat. This is what she lives for. If she can survive Tom Colicchio’s judgments, she’s ready to take on anything.

• online exclusive

For red carpet photos of the opening night gala at
Private|Social, visit DallasVoice.com/category/Photos.

—  John Wright

TRAVEL DIARY

IMG_4380
It’s not as if Palm Springs didn’t already have more than its share of gay guesthouses — though we can hardly blame them — then comes word the city has just added another. Pura Vida becomes the SoCal city’s 24th resort. An eight-suite boutique in the Warm Sands neighborhood, the facility (a rarity in Palm Springs, it is not clothing-optional) comes with amenities from breakfast to poolside cocktail hour. Go to VisitPalmSprings.com for more information.

On the other side of America, Key West’s famous (notorious?) Island House is celebrating its phenomenal longevity — 35 years — with the “35 and Fabulous” sweepstakes. Now through Sept. 5, you can register on Island House’s Facebook page to win a special anniversary rate of $13 (what they charged the first night of operation back in the bicentennial year of 1976) for one night next June 12.

Taos is rolling out the red carpet — should be a rainbow carpet — for its second annual Taos Pride Festival. The town on New Mexico’s Enchanted Circle, famous as a winter ski resort, welcomes its gay guests Aug. 19–21 for a weekend-long celebration. Among the attractions are queermedian Vickie Shaw, a free “Pride in the Park” family-friendly festival followed Saturday night with The Gayest Drag Show Ever. For more information, visit TaosPride.com.

For those who want to go further to enjoy a vacation, the Villas Veritas — gay director Franco Zeffirelli’s former estate on the Amalfi Coast, which once hosted celebs like Liz and Dick, Maria Callas and Laurence Olivier — has undergone an extensive renovation. For more, visit InVillas.com.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 12, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Weekly Best Bets

Friday 02.25

Poundstoning the pavement
We love our Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho, but Paula Poundstone was right there with them on the up and up. She’s carved her own queer comedy path which comes this way. We give her props for her stand-up, but she’s crazy hilarious each week on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me trivia comedy show. DEETS: Majestic Theater, 1925 Elm St. 8 p.m. $31–$106. PaulaInDallas.com

Sunday 02.27

Is that an Oscar in your pants?
One of these men (don’t forget Javier Bardem, too) will walk away with a best actor Oscar. You can watch that at one of many gayborhood watching parties, but first, listen to Dallas Voice’s Arnold Wayne Jones and David Taffet talk Oscar on Sunday’s Lambda Weekly on 89.3 KNON at noon. We predict Colin Firth wins. Yeah, we said it.
DEETS: Airs on WFAA Channel 8 at 7 p.m. Red carpet coverage at 6 p.m. Oscar.com

Thursday 03.03

Be Out of the Loop by being in it
WaterTower Theatre knows how to give a theater festival. The Out of the Loop festival returns with 11 days of shows. Faye Lane’s Beauty Shop Stories, pictured, is one of the opener shows and ends with a three-day run of Robert Wuhl’s Assume the Position.
DEETS: WTT, 15650 Addison Road. $10–$20. Through March 13. WaterTowerTheatre.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 25, 2011.

—  John Wright

Resource Center Dallas Honors Volunteers

It was an evening of glitz and glam as hundreds from the LGBT community packed the Starlight Lounge to honor volunteers for Resource Center Dallas on Sunday.

More than 1,000 people contributed more than 47,000 hours — valued at about $985,000 — to RCD in 2010.

On Sunday night, RCD honored them — Retro Hollywood style.

The moment volunteers and guest stepped out of their vehicles, they were met by valet and shown to the red carpet. Upon entry, they were invited to the posh open bar as well as catered hors d’oeuvres and dinner.

“This event is excellent for the community,” said James Weber, a supporter of the event. “It encourages support, involvement and gives a sense of appreciation to a whole lot of people.”

With more than 100 volunteers to recognize, RCD utilized a dual host technique and a team of (what else?) volunteers to hand out awards.

The true star of the night was longtime volunteer Barbara Foster. For her significant contributions to RCD and various other community groups over the years, Foster received the 2010 Martha Dealey Volunteer of the Year award.

“Come see what a difference — it’ll change in your life — see what you’ll get out of [volunteering],” said Foster. “Because I’ll tell you, I get more out of [volunteering] than I give.”

She added that being recognized by others she works with at RCD felt wonderful.

Cece Cox, executive director of RCD, said the power of volunteers to help an agency succeed in serving the community is what it’s all about — having fun networking but contributing back to the community.

—  admin