Oscars: Walk the (red carpet) line

The woman who has styled Oscars red-carpet looks for Courtney Love, Madonna and Aimee Mann has a new client to prep for the Academy Awards next month: herself.

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Arianne Phillips, stylist to some of the worlds most trendsetting singers and actresses, was the wardrobe wizard on “Walk the Line,” nominated for Best Costume Design. Whats interesting about this accolade is that it brings a thread of costume-designer history full circle. In the old days before stars had stylists, they would lean on costume designers for a little extra help at Oscar-time, sometimes ending up in frocks dusted off from studio wardrobe closets. Nowadays costume designers rarely do personal styling for stars, but Phillips is an exception: in between designing costumes for Madonnas tours, shell do a movie here, a music video there, a magazine editorial here, a book there. Not only is Phillips an energetic maverick, shes also a rare bird in that she is already talking about whom shell wear to the Academy Awards. I will probably wear a dress that my assistant costume designer on Walk the Line will design,? she tells ClothesHoarse. His name is Carlos Rosario.? We hope Rosario is ready for the aftermath: when Phillips dressed Madonna for the ’97 Oscars (above) in Olivier Theyskens, the unknown Belgian designer pole-vaulted to almost unmanageable stardom. Now he’s designing the venerable French line Rochas.

Confessions of a Red Carpet Escort

A few years ago, an alarming number of celebs starting “wearing Mom to the Oscars.” A sweet thought, but LA.COMfidential says the trend made the extravaganzas look about as glamorous as a Sunday brunch. Perhaps the reason for the family affair is that stars are incapable of finding bathrooms on their own, or introducing themselves to other celebs. Mommy did little things like that (publicists being too busy keeping press at bay). Well, where there’s need there’s opportunity: enter the celebrity escort. It’s not what you think it is, says Movieline’s Hollywood Life magazine.

…a celebrity escort is not, in fact, a hooker, but one of the best-kept secrets in Hollywood—the person assigned by the production to shadow a predetermined star at all times, from the red carpet to the after-party, and get them where they need to go.

Celeb escort Christopher Laslo, who has herded the likes of Carmen Electra, Rosie and Pamela Anderson to events, says the pay is low but there are unexpected perks—like the time a ’70s male pop star offered some extreme relief after a grueling night on the red carpet.

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Stars can wave on their own, but they need help with everything else

Patrow’s Dad Nixed Script

Gwyneth Paltrow still misses her father, who died three years ago. LA.COMfidential reports that last night, the pregnant actress mentioned him numerous times during a Q&A following a SAG screening of Proof in Beverly Hills’ Fine Arts Theatre. The film is about a young woman dealing with the death of her father, with whom she had a particular bond. Paltrow said that she herself was in grief over her own dad, Bruce Paltrow, during the making of the film, and she described her portrayal of Catherine, “I was very grave, dark, and utterly heartbreaking.” She adds, “I think I lost my sense of humor.” But then she told a funny story: When she was getting into the biz, around age 19, she considered a role in a Vanilla Ice film. She asked her father for advice on whether or not she should do the film, and he asked to see the screenplay. “There’s this part in the script where [Vanilla Ice] asks for my phone number,” she explained. “And I say, ’555-6969′”—with emphasis on the 6-9—”and my father says, ‘Over my dead body.’”

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How Gwyneth has matured: now she does nude scenes.

Superman’s Super Smile

There seemed to be more mextrosexual actors than actresses scooping up freebies at the Platinum Guild International Jewelry Preview at the Luxe Hotel in Bev Hills this afternoon. LA.COMfidential reports that Rex Lee, who plays Jeremy Piven’s witty assistant on Entourage? (left), was sprawled on a bed, enjoying an organic Jurlique facial. Ashton Holmes, who plays Viggo Mortensen’s son in “A History of Violence,” had a one hand dipped in a frothy bowl of warm milk—part of The Paint Shop‘s chai latte manicure. “Superman Returns” star Brandon Routh (right) was perfecting his smile with a Zoom II teeth whitening treatment, made famous by Dr. Sherri Worth on The Swan.? (Well see if his choppers look brighter this Monday when he presents an award at the Golden Globes. We know the rest of him will sparkle; he snagged a $42,000 platinum watch and an $8,000 ring to wear on the red carpet.) Routh’s girlfriend, indie actress Courtney Ford, also opened wide for a treatment. She divulged that she met her super guy at Lucky Strike, where Routh was working as a bartender!

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People’s Choice: Masterson no master as a DJ

We expected last night’s People’s Choice Awards after-party at the Shrine Auditorium to be bumping with celebs, especially since Danny Masterson (AKA DJ Donkeypizzle) was spinning. But the event was more like a craft services tent for famished industry peeps to eat while the celebs worked the red carpet. Jessica Simpson popped in and out and Natasha Henstridge swooped in for caviar and chips. “A History of Violence” heartthrob Ashton Holmes, who looked adorable in a pair of beat-up chucks, stuck around for a little longer, as did E!’s host of “The Soup,” Joel McHale, who couldn’t walk two steps without being told he’s the funniest man on TV. DJ Donkeypizzle didn’t fair as well. Despite his awesome mix of ’80s tunes by the Smiths and Joy Division, the dance floor was the most vacant area in the house, reminding us of the cringetastic party scene in “13 Going on 30.” It’s too bad Jennifer Garner, who won an award last night for Favorite Female Action Star, wasn’t there to request Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

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Ashton and Joel were two of the many people not on the dance floor. For more pix, click here.

From Bad to Worse to…Award

Time was, the Razzies were the only “worst of” list jumping on the awards season bandwagon in any notable fashion. Now you can’t turn around without getting blindsided by newfangled institutions such as The Notable People of 2005 That Miu von Furstenberg Would Love To Bitch Slap and the Biggest Turkeys of 2005. The latter trophy-fest, drummed up by LoveFilm (England’s answer to Netflix), bestows gobbles upon “XXX2: Another Level,” “Fantastic Four” and “Dukes of Hazzard.” Blockbusters weren’t the only targets; Indies “Revolver,” Ma Mere” and “Crash” were also raked over the (roasting) coals.

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One of the cluckers clunkers from the list. Don’t you just love leftovers?

Awards Overload

A new book posits that there are about 9,000 movie awards given out in a given year. Thats more than the number of actual movies that come out, according to The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards and the Circulation of Cultural Value, by James English. The exponential growth in kudo-fests began in the 1970s and continues unabated, he writes, and theres an intriguing paradox to it all. New Yorker critic Louis Menaud says in a review of the book that scandals over who gets awarded what, and brouhaha over whether the awards mean anything in the first place actually underscore the importance of such institutions:

His theory is that when people make these objections they are helping to sustain a collective belief that true art has nothing to do with things like politics, money, in-group tastes, and beating out the other guy. As long as we want to believe that creative achievement is special, that a work of art is not just one more commodity seeking to aggrandize itself in the marketplace at the expense of other works of art, we need prizes so that we can complain about how stupid they are.

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The entertainment industry is certainly satisfying that need.

Why not an Ape?

If the Oscar voters were the least bit adventurous, then Andy Serkis would get a best supporting actor nod for playing the big ape in “King Kong.” Even his Oscar-winning co-star Adrien Brody told
our film critic Bob Strauss that he thinks “Kong may be one of the best leading men this year”
Serkis even did double duty, first acting opposite his co-stars during the filming — creating a touching relationship with Naomi Watts’ Ann Darrow — then doing it again wearing motion-capture sensors to create the animated ape. Brody doesn’t know how getting a nomination for Serkis would work _ and neither do I _ but it’s time for the Academy to take some chances. When’s the last time you saw that much love on the screen?

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Advantage: Disadvantaged

Even if you don’t read the entertainment trade magazines, you know that movie studios spend scads of cash in them buying “for your consideration” ads, campaigning for Oscar gold. And even if you’re not in the biz, you know that playing a disadvantaged or minority character ups an actor’s chances of getting nominated. Hence the creative Photoshop action at the blog World of Wonder for ads we’ll never see. Well, not in the trades.

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No Stars in Smith’s Eyes

British designer Paul Smith may have just opened a giant, upscale boutique in Hollywood, but dont expect him to roll out the red carpet for celebrities. No, thank you!? he exclaimed when LA.COMfidential asked if he had a team to woo stars gearing up for awards season. Though his tailored suits, with surprising touches like striped linings, are perfect for offbeat-yet-elegant Oscar style, Smith has eschewed the celebrity factor when it comes to promoting his brand. Weve never invited celebrities to front rows of shows. A 14-year-old student and a famous celebrity and a 70-year-old businessman are all equally important to me.? So don’t expect any statue-winner to thank him from the podium.

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