“What a thrill. You know you’ve entered new territory when you know that your outfit cost more than your film.” – Oscar speech of Jessica Yu, winner, 1996 documentary film, “Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien”
The tale of how the world’s most coveted golden statue got its nickname is not one I suggest you tell your future actor and actress children at bedtime. It’s rather boring, to be quite frank, and it’s over in seconds, so I’d go with something juicier. Maybe a James Franco poem. In any case, according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the statue – standing at 13.5 inches tall and weighing a whopping 8.5 lbs – was dubbed “Oscar” (originally being known as the Award of Merit) by Margaret Herrick. A librarian who became the director for the Academy, she observed that the statue physically resembled the build of her uncle Oscar, and so, the title stuck. Rather uninteresting unless you’re the grandchildren of Mrs. Herrick, eh? But despite the mediocrity in the naming, Oscar has some other compelling features. For one, it is plated in 24K pure gold. Wait, it’s not made entirely of gold, you say? Oh, silly you, if Oscar were made of gold at today’s gold prices it would be worth $181,000. And while that’s probably the daily lunch budget on a Martin Scorsese film, (have you ever seen Leo DiCaprio eat? Gluttonous.) that amount still seems a bit much to spend on a statue that’s going to sit in your Italian marble curio before it’s stolen by your housecleaner on the third day after its arrival. Not that Leo would know what that’s like. Zzziiiing!
The above is the back story on the first of the three Oscars I’ll be discussing here today. My second Oscar is one I’m most familiar with, for he is nothing short of nobility in my fairytale Land of Jewels.
Oscar Heyman is most famous for designing the diamond necklace that housed the 69.42-carat Burton-Taylor diamond for Cartier in 1969. It was worn by Elizabeth Taylor (Happy Birthday, LIZ!) to the Oscars in 1970 as an accompaniment to her Mediterranean tan, Welsh husband, and violet-colored, Edith Head chiffon gown. Oscar was one of a plethora of children born to a Latvian family that migrated to the United States in 1906. Along with his brothers, Harry and Nathan, he started a New York-based platinum manufacturing business in 1912, which still remains one of the few design houses in New York dedicated to using hand fabrication and European-style craftsmanship. Today, the name “Oscar Heyman” is often associated with old Hollywood glamour and red carpet accessories. One trip to a Pinterest search box will bring you hundreds of gloriously vivid images of Oscar Heyman pieces, past, and present, with platinum still holding steady as the company’s metal of choice for its exquisitely-made adornments.
Óscar Arístides Ortiz de la Renta Fiallo, or as he’s known to the awake, Oscar de la Renta, has dressed everyone from Jacqueline Kennedy to Sarah Jessica Parker in his fashions. He is no stranger to bright lights, expensive lenses, and red carpets, which is why I’ve chosen him as my third Oscar in this post. A couturier to American and Hollywood royalty, this Oscar was born in the Dominican Republic to socialite parents – a Dominican mother and Puerto Rican father – allowing him the opportunities needed to set him on a path towards fashion hierarchy. De le Renta was mentored by Cristóbal Balenciaga while in Madrid before joining Antonio Castillo in Paris as a couture assistant at Lanvin, and his gloriously dramatic designs are guaranteed to make more than one appearance this Sunday night at the 86th Annual Academy Awards, or as they are more commonly known…
“You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” – Oscar Wilde
Instead of doing what I did prior to the Golden Globes, which was write a post that would predict the hots and nots on the impending red carpet, I decided I’d have a little fun instead with my Oscar post by giving you all a bit of a background on the name while associating it with two other very big parts of this blogger’s Oscar night: jewels, and dresses. Thanks to Google, Pinterest, and websites like 1stDibs.com, Jewels du Jour, and the popular auction house, Christies, I was able to find some fabulous images of Oscar Heyman jewelry that I thought would have been better picks to accompany a few of the Oscar de le Renta gowns that had graced the red carpets of Oscars past. So without hesitation, here is how I would have styled these beauties, making them part of an Oscar trifecta. Let’s go back to ten years ago…
Sandra Bullock is a hard person not to like, right? I mean, she’s super sweet, speaks fluent German, (seriously… Bing it, because it will blow your mind,) and adopted a baby of color from New Orleans. There is nothing we don’t like about her, which is why when she stepped foot on Oscar’s red carpet in 2004 wearing this (pre-season) white Oscar de la Renta feathered gown, no one blinked an eye. It was white, and pure, and lovely, which made the choice oh-so-very fitting. But how could Sandra have added to her look? Pearls. And not just any pearls; pearls and diamonds by Oscar Heyman. Sandra could have gone the way of this 18K white gold and cultured pearl statement piece simply to watch Joan Rivers’ head explode with joy. This is how I would have styled her. But then again, this is my fantasy, so get your own if you disagree.
Penelope CRUZED the red carpet in 2005 with this Oscar de la Renta numero esplendoroso in a lovely pale shade of amarillo. However, her neck and ears were more naked than she was in 2005’s Chromophobia, which is why I chose this colored sapphire and ruby floral statement necklace by Oscar Heyman. The hues are muted enough that they wouldn’t have taken away from the gown but substantial enough to have complimented her beautiful olive skin and annoyingly adorable accent.
The Year of the Tiger could have been known as the Year of the Tigress with vixens galore dominating Hollywood in 2010. The consummate bachelorette, Cameron Diaz made us all want to marry her in this gold-dusted Oscar de la Renta strapless gown, but I was hoping to see more from the jewelry. My choice for Cameron would have been these platinum and diamond tassel-like ear pendants by Oscar Heyman because of the contrast they would have had against her elegantly curled blond hair. I wouldn’t have gone for a statement necklace for the simple fact that the dress itself looks like one big gold piece of jewelry, but larger, more prominent earrings would have made an otherwise practically flawless look, well, flawless, sans adverb.
And finally, we come to last year’s Oscar red carpet, which peaked on the whole the moment Amy Adams stepped her pretty little tootsies on it. Look at this gown. Just, take a moment and stare at it, will you? Oscar de la Renta outdid himself with this one. It’s sort of gray and kind of violet but oh-so-frilly and marvelously Hollywood. And while I did love the dangles that Amy’s stylist chose to put on her ears, I can’t finish this blog post that way, so, for the sheer point of being consistent, I selected a pair of Oscar Heyman star sapphire and diamond earclips as my would-have-been choice to compliment Amy’s 2013 Oscar Awards gown. I love them. And her. And I can’t wait to see what she comes up with this year.
So, that was fun! I’ll be doing my best to live-tweet the Oscars as much as possible this Sunday while at the JA show in New York City, but just in case I don’t have a ton of time to do it, I hope that this gives you readers the Oscar warm-and-fuzzies until the next red carpet tweet-fest.
Grab the popcorn, log in to Twitter, and keep the cheap champagne on ice… here come the Oscars!