Sarah Miller lifted her sugar-rimmed glass from the table, a dreamy, faraway look on her face.
“If I were going to the Oscars,” she said after sipping the lemon drop martini. “First off, I would have to be on the arm of Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, George Clooney or some other stud of equal studliness.”
“Sweet,” Chandra Chakravarthi approved as she munched on one of the small chocolate reproductions of the Academy Award of Merit Marcel had prepared for Oscar weekend.
“I would wear a dark purple dress,” Sarah resumed. “So dark that it’s almost black. It would have to have a totally vintage feel, perhaps 1940s or 50s. I would wear my hair down in vintage-esque body wave curls, and the make-up would be a no-brainer. Smokey eyes and red lips. Red, red, red!”
Chandra laughed and sipped champagne. “Jewelry?”
“Onyx and diamonds everywhere! Maybe earrings and some bracelets. Probably no necklace. We don’t want to take away from that killer dress. What about you?”
“I would probably wear a gown from Marchesa or Reem Acra. They are probably in my top five favorite red carpet designers. Both designers create glamorous yet oh, so elegant gowns which are rich in color, texture, and detail.”
“Sounds like wearing either of their creations would make you feel like a princess,” Sarah observed.
“What girl wouldn’t want to feel like that, right? And I agree with you — accessories would be kept to a minimum, because when you’re walking the red carpet the gown is the star. And of course, I’d have to wear the 5-inch Christian Louboutin heels. I’m vertically challenged.”
“Okay if I cut in on the pajama party, girls?” I asked as I joined them at their table in the lounge.
“Sure,” Chandra said. “You’re just in time to tell us what you’d wear if you went to the Oscars.”
“Probably just your standard evening suit, although I’m afraid I have no desire to attend the Oscars. I lost my interest in awards shows years ago.”
“You mean you’re not going to an Oscar party tomorrow night?” Sarah asked.
“I’ve no plans to. I can’t even remember the last time I watched the broadcast.”
“There’s only one real reason I watch the Oscars: the clothes.”
“Don’t you get started on that again,” I said sternly. “But, just out of curiosity, I would be interested to know what your predictions are for tomorrow night.”
“Well, I should probably tell you that my friends like to make fun of me for my lack of movie viewing,” Sarah said. “Some of them say that if a movie isn’t Home Alone 2 or The Burbs, I won’t watch it. In fact, I was recently scolded by my best friend, Ginger, for not having seen The Help.”
“She should have scolded you,” Chandra said as she gave Sarah a reproachful look. “I love The Help. Naturally, the book is better, but Viola Davis gives a poignant and honest portrayal of Aibileen which resonates with people.”
“Will she win the best actress Oscar?” I asked.
“She should, but I could also see voters leaning towards Michelle Williams. People are still fascinated with Marilyn Monroe. If Viola Davis hadn’t been nominated in this category, I’d want Michelle Williams to win.”
“Do you agree, Sarah?”
“I’d go with Meryl Streep. I listened to an interview she did with Terry Gross on NPR about her performance in The Iron Lady. I loved listening to her discuss her preparation for the role, specifically regarding her adaptation of Margaret Thatcher’s voice. She did a great job portraying her. Who wouldn’t love to see Meryl Streep win an Academy Award? She is a timeless, classic beauty.”
“She is,” Chandra nodded. “If Viola Davis or Michelle Williams don’t win, Meryl Streep will.”
“Best supporting actress?” I prompted.
“Melissa McCarthy was the. Best. Part of the movie Bridesmaids,” Sarah said. “I never stopped laughing. It was so surprising to see Melissa in this role, and she nailed it. Since I haven’t seen The Help, my vote goes to Melissa, but I assume that the award will actually go to Octavia Spencer for The Help, based on what Ginger told me.”
“Ginger’s right,” Chandra said. “It will. I loved Octavia’s feisty persona. She had me laughing and admittedly getting a bit misty-eyed, and she gets cool points for being an Alabama native. If Octavia hadn’t been nominated in this category, then I’d want Bernice Bejo to win. Like her character Peppy, she was adorably peppy and charming. I remember when she was in A Knight’s Tale. She’s definitely come a long way.”
Chandra shook her head. “Jean Dujardin. He is so utterly charming in The Artist, and he managed to captivate audiences with just his facial expressions, body movements, and his one line in the entire movie. It may just be me, but I think he resembled Gene Kelly in some scenes. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s French, right?”
I sipped my drink. “But what about all the buzz surrounding The Descendants? It’s been called the best performance of Clooney’s career.”
“I read that too, but I have no interest in watching the film. Don’t throw tomatoes at me, but I feel like critics and normal people like you and me may have enjoyed his performance just because he was demonstrating that men have feelings too and can wear their hearts on their sleeves. That being said, he is a fantastic actor, and he’d make a great red carpet escort for Sarah, but I’m not sure if this is his year to win.”
“Okay, I’m going to pass right over that men-have-feelings remark and ask about best supporting actor.”
“Christopher Plummer will win,” Chandra said, “but I think Max von Sydow should. I never saw Beginners or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but I’d actually be happy to see either of these actors take home the Oscar. Not to sound morbid, but both these fine actors may not have another chance to be nominated for another Oscar.”
We both looked at Sarah, who was scarfing down one of the chocolate Oscar miniatures as if it might bestow her with oracle powers.
“The only one of those actors I have heard of is Nick Nolte, and I can’t bring myself to vote for him,” she offered finally. “Not Nick Nolte. I just can’t. I pass.”
“Fair enough. Okay, girls, the big one: best picture.”
Sarah blushed slightly. “I would like to see Midnight in Paris win, even though I didn’t see it. I have been told that every artist or creative spirit needs to see this film. It’s on my list to watch; it just hasn’t happened yet. However, I would predict that The Help will win. It seems to have everyone’s vote.”
“Not mine,” Chandra said. “The Artist will win, and it should. It’s a feel good movie which deserves all the accolades which have come its way. And there’s a scene-stealing dog in it. Who doesn’t love a cute dog?”
She partook of more champagne. “And here’s a fun fact for you: If The Artist wins on Sunday, it will be the first entirely black-and-white film to win the best picture since The Apartment in 1960.”
“But wait,” Sarah began. “Wasn’t…”
“No, Schindler’s List was not entirely in black and white.”
“Do you think Hazanavicius will win for best director?” I asked.
“Easily. He made a daring move in making a film that is black-and-white and has only one spoken line. Might be a novelty to some, but by making this film, he has introduced silent films to a new generation of people who may or may not be aware of the fact that movies weren’t always talking pictures.”
“For best director, on a whim I’m going with Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris. Seems like a smart wager.”
I smiled the nonchalant smile of he-who-couldn’t-care-less, but for the sake of sport, I was more curious about who would win – and whether Chandra or Sarah made the best picks — than I cared to admit.
As it turned out, the score was 4-1-1. Chandra correctly predicted that The Artist would be named Best Picture, over Sarah’s choice of The Help. She also correctly named Michel Hazanavicius as Best Director (Sarah chose Woody Allen), Jean Dujardin as Best Actor (the artist was pulling for Gary Oldman), and Octavia Spencer as Best Supporting Actress (Sarah liked Melissa McCarthy).
Sarah did, however, correctly choose Meryl Streep as Best Actress, and while Chandra’s prediction was right that Christopher Plummer would be named Best Supporting Actor, Sarah believed that Nick Nolte would not win, which was good enough for a tie.