As a fashion enthusiast, I have always written about my favorites on the red carpet from my perspective as a designer. Having your gown worn and name mentioned on-air does tremendous things for the livelihood of a label. It never occurred to me that doing so might be diminishing the accomplishments of the person wearing the fashion. Reese Witherspoon was one of the top supporters of the #AskHerMore campaign. This was social media campaign that challenged reporters to ask actresses more compelling questions on the red carpet rather than reducing them to the mani-cam and dress details. She told journalist Robin Roberts “This is a movement to say we’re more than just our dresses. There are 44 nominees this year that are women and we are so happy to be here and talk about the work that we’ve done. It’s hard being a woman in Hollywood or any industry.” For tradition's sake, Reese wore a Tom Ford contrast dress that the E Network cast called "mind-blowing".
Watching the E Network's red carpet coverage, I did not have a lot of hope for the campaign to work out. Things looked especially dire when Ryan Seacrest expressed that he couldn't wait to ask Dakota Johnson what prop she took home from 50 Shades of Grey like he had spent all night coming up with that question. (Perhaps it's not the sexism of the reporter, but the lack of intelligence in forming the questions that are the problem).
Fear not, this award season saw actresses taking charge to get their message across anyway. Julianne Moore made a compelling statement about what she learned about Alzheimer's disease while researching her Oscar-winning role in Still Alice. “There’s this misnomer that dementia or Alzheimer’s is a normal condition of aging, and it’s not. It’s a disease-- and a disease without any treatment or cure. It’s the sixth leading cause of death.” For the record, Julianne Moore wore a beautifully embroidered custom Chanel gown by Karl Lagerfeld (I actually did geek out over this dress, I won't lie).
Best Supporting Actress award winner Patricia Arquette's acceptance speech got Meryl Streep to stand up and roar when she declared "It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America." Ms. Arquette's dress was created by her close friend Rosetta Getty.
So there, you have it. You can be a fan of the fashions at the Academy Awards red carpet without having it define the people wearing them. Was this really a big problem with the media? How about asking intelligent questions and just adding designer tags on the screen? I think that's a win-win situation.
photos by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP,Jason MerittMark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images, gif from The Daily Dot