Upgrade or Downgrade? The Academy Awards Edition

Well, after a year-long boycott, I decided to watch the Academy Awards again. And once again, it was all about the red carpet fashion, so I only thought it was appropriate that we went for another round of “Upgrade/ Downgrade,” because a lot of people told me they liked the first round at the Grammys. So who’s with me?! …Well, you don’t really have a choice.

Let’s start with someone who has been hitting a bingo year after year (or at least within the past two years): Natalie Portman. Last year, she was way pregnant but still way fabulous.

She’s the swan queen. She’s also glowing. I also might be biased because I love her.

The Black Swan dawned a beautiful Rodarte gown, complete with Swarovski crystals. Nothing like an actress who can still rock fashion and win an Academy Award, all while with child. This year she’s belly free and still as gorgeous as ever.

FABULOUS AS EVER. Damn girl! Everything old is new again, especially when Natalie Portman wears it.

Portman wore a gorgeous red vintage 1954 Christian Dior gown. Beautiful accessories, and wonderful details on the gown itself make this a surefire win. She may not have been nominated for an Oscar this year, but I nominate her for champion of my heart and passions.


BAM. Where do I begin?!

So, moving on to the wonderful Miss Congeniality herself, Sandra Bullock. Last year (as you can see, she looked stunning), she wore Vera Wang with a vengeance: a nice bold red with matching lipstick and purse. The dress fit her figure beautifully, and everyone knows floor-length is always the way to go on the red carpet.

DOWNGRADE. Sorry Sandra, but you totally lost your gorgeous figure in there. Someone’s got to fish it out…

This year, it was fierce to frumpy. Well… okay, it’s hard to call a red carpet gown frumpy, especially when it’s Marchesa, but let’s say this dress is not doing Sandra any favors. Yes, the low dip in the back is amazing and everything, but the front makes her look like a box. Sorry to say. Also, the golden adornments at the hip are a nice touch, but they definitely border on gaudy. Come back to us, Sandra! We love you!

Not your best girl. After that outfit, I was definitely thinking “Forget You.”

And now for Gwyneth Paltrow, whose dress last year almost turned her into a real disco ball. No but seriously, all joking aside, the cut on this Calvin Klein number makes her boobs look weird, whether it be from the fabric or the shape. Also, that golden belt totally flattens out her waist and widens her hips. We all know Gwyneth is in good shape, she can do way better.

UPGRADE. Gwyneth, you look absolutely stunning. You get a sticker.

And would you look at what she did! This year Paltrow looked incredibly demure and elegant in Tom Ford. First of all, Tom Ford. Second, the dress fits her body in all the right ways, and I’m honestly dying for that cape. I heard some people weren’t digging it, but I’m all about it. Good for you Gwyneth.

I mean, at least it wasn’t a vial of blood this time… right?

And of course, I’d like to give an honorable mention to Angelina Jolie for many reasons. First and foremost, she’s super sexy and beautiful, and pretty much always looks great. Also, I think it’s hilarious that there’s so much controversy about her leg exposure. Some loved it, some hated it, and some 25,000 people began following its Twitter account , which was such an immediate creation that it was almost scary. Stay tuned!

Images courtesy of JustJared (1, 3, 5), Moviefone (2, 4) and E! Online (5).




Ryan Roschke is currently a reporter for BARE Blog. An eternal optimist, he is an avid proponent of food, fashion, music, movie, and culture. Special emphasis on food.

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