By Culley Schultz
January and February are cold, wintry months in the New York City area. There is little that is bleaker than the gray skies mirrored by the gray snow pushed to the sides of the gray, salt stained pavement. You can imagine my elation when, on particular Sunday night during these months, the awards shows are on. The Golden Globes, the SAG Awards, the Oscars…all showcase bright, sunny California and a long red carpet. This sharp contrast to what I am experiencing weather-wise at home is certainly welcome.
I enjoy watching the interviews on the red carpet with the actresses I admire, seeing who I would want to invite to a dinner party, ranking their jokes, etc. And yes, awards season is all about the fashion. Who is wearing whom? Accessorized with what? How did she come to choose that dress? What was she thinking? Red carpet commentators make their assessments and their decisions are later agreed upon or overturned in magazines everywhere. I am not opposed to the fashion aspect of awards season. The dresses are lust worthy and often feature those California colors, another contrast to the quintessential black wardrobe of New Yorkers. However, one can imagine my surprise at the ongoing chatter about actress Sofia Vergara’s cleavage at this year’s SAG Awards.
There is nothing wrong with a woman showing off her figure. In fact, comfort with one’s own body is something to be proud of and Ms. Vergara should own it! What I have a problem with is the commentary about her bosom following her interview. Initially, the focus of the conversation about her daring dress was the bold blue color. However, Ms. Vergara did suggest that she had wondered if the dress was too risqué for the SAG Awards. The interview was momentarily paused while Ms. Vergara and interviewer Giuliana Ransic addressed the cameramen, asking their opinions of the dress. Viewers could clearly hear catcalls through their television speakers.
Why must this be the aspect of fashion that is focused on during the on-camera interview? Furthermore, the awards are being held to judge talent not cleavage. Following the interview, there were conversations among the hosts of the red carpet pre-show that included judgments about the dress and what it revealed. Later, fashion-focused shows and blogs made their own remarks. Move on people! That is not what the awards season was created to highlight!
It is moments such as this that retract from the strides women are making toward equality in the film industry. This year there were challenging roles for women and men alike. Amy Adams and Melissa Leo, both nominated for The Fighter, and Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech, tackled complex characters and produced excellent work. Yet, instead of asking actresses how they feel about the work, the focus is their necklines. If Ms. Vergara felt comfortable, then stop making it all about her cleavage and move on to someone else’s dress. Then, ask them about their own movie or T.V. show. Please, focus on the progress not the plunge! That is the only way we will get anywhere.