It isn’t security that will keep some of the stars from walking the red carpet today, though our Jeanne Wright reports that it is more detailed than she’s ever seen it. Rather, it is an ill-advised request from producers of tonight’s show on ABC who are hoping to surprise viewers with star presenters we don’t already know are to be there. So, instead of exiting the limo to the cheers of 600-plus fans who won a spot in the bleachers, stars like Whoopi Goldberg (who yesterday let it slip she’s coming) or, say, some other previous Oscar winners like Halle Berry or Julia Roberts, or, my personal favorite George Clooney (I’m just guessing here), are expected to sneak in a back door so they don’t get seen by the massive press contingent. What is wrong with this picture?
Well, first, it doesn’t serve the audience well. I don’t know about you but I have TiVo set for the pre-shows on E! and TV Guide Network because I want to see everyone I can. (Even ABC has a live pre-show on at 8 p.m. ET so you’d thing they’d want a little glitz for that.) Second, you can imagine how the whole idea is going down with the reporters, photographers, bloggers and pre-show hosts who need stars, stars, and more stars to do their jobs. There has been grousing about it all weekend. Third, I can’t imagine it’s going over well with the stars themselves, particularly the women who have spent the entire day with hairdressers, make-up artists and stylists getting ready for their close-up.
In fact, most of the female stars on the carpet won’t be wearing anything of their own and they justify borrowing dresses, bags, jewels, even shoes with the idea that it does the designers good if they are seen in their work. Whether that’s actually true can be argued, and Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan’s does just that in her On Culture column today. She dares to suggest: “If stars can afford million dollar homes, personal assistants, trainers, cooks, nannies, therapists, publicists and gurus, then the can afford to buy their own party clothes. And the diamonds to go with them.”
I’ll never forget the disdain with which I heard Julie Christie replied to a reporter (no, not me, really) who asked her after her win for best actress at the Screen Actors Guild Award last year, “Whose pants are you wearing tonight.” The lovely Christie, that is her at right from that night, looked at the writer as if she were from another planet and replied “these are my own pants.”