Tom Ross: Ms. Bullock, what's in your pocket?

When it comes to evening gowns, stars walk the line

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You might be getting old if you devoted Sunday evening to watching the 78th Academy Awards and realized halfway through the production that you've seen only two of the nominated films, and they were Netflix rentals.

I found myself interested in everything last night except the never-ending montages of old Hollywood movies that aren't yet classics. And I was left with many unanswered questions.

Since when do evening gowns have pockets? Blue jeans have pockets. Barn coats have pockets. Even some gophers have pockets.

Several female actors walked down the red carpet Sunday night with their hands tucked either into pockets or pouches. I've never seen that before.

Take the gown worn by Sandra Bullock, for example. I thought she gave a wonderful performance as a disaffected Hollywood "mistress of the manor" in "Crash" (the winner for best picture and one of the two nominated films I have seen). But, I was distracted during her red carpet interview. She had her hands stuffed in the pockets of a dazzling evening gown.

The interviewer was asking Ms. Bullock what it feels like to be recognized by the Academy, and I was talking to the TV screen, "Ask her what she has in her pockets!"

What in fact, do Hollywood stars carry in their pockets? Spare diamond earrings? Bottle openers? Harmonicas? Mace? Discount coupons for Disneyland? Lottery tickets?

Let me try this out.

Me: "Good evening Ms. Bullock. My but you look vivacious tonight. Can you please tell our audience at home, what do you have in your pockets?"

SB: "Altoids, you putz! Any more smart questions?"

Me: "Does that mean, Ms Bullock, that Hollywood stars are susceptible to bad breath, just like the rest of us?"

SB: "Bodyguard!"

I guess we'll never know the answer to that question. At least Ms. Bullock's gown was classically styled, unlike the one selected by another great actress, Naomi Watts, the star of "King Kong." Ms. Watts was wearing a cream-colored gown by Givenchy. Now, I enjoy attempting to properly pronounce Givenchy as much as the next guy. But let's be real -- the dress was hideous. It appeared as though Ms. Watts had pedaled her bicycle over to the Kodak Theater Sunday afternoon, only to have the front of her gown caught in the spokes. It was, like, shredded. It had cream-colored stuff hanging off it.

I can picture Mr. Givenchy at home watching the glamorous affair on his TV and sobbing, "I begged her to take the limo!"

At the other end of the spectrum, Jennifer Lopez, who has shown a certain lack of judgment in the area of frock selection in the past, was absolutely stunning in a form-fitting artichoke green dress that, well, fit her form quite nicely while managing to remain modest.

Guys clearly have an easier time deciding what to wear to this Oscar shindig. You rent a black tuxedo, ditch the cummerbund, and you're in. Then there was director Tim Burton, who got the black suit part right but paired it with a scarlet shirt that looked like something a circus acrobat would wear. During a red carpet interview, he actually bragged that he had robbed his outfit from a guy who was on his way to a wedding. And I'm thinking, "Mr. Burton, did you steal that shirt from the father of the bride or from the accordion player?"

Yes, when it comes to Academy Awards fashion, there is far more pressure placed on the female actors. The guys aren't going to be judged ruthlessly for their fashion sense, but the celebrity magazines will publish their lists of the "10 best and 10 worst dressed women," and they won't hold back.

Dolly Parton on Sunday night acknowledged the designer of her clutch. For the uninitiated, a clutch is a really small handbag, not much bigger than a paperback book. They're barely big enough for a lipstick tube, but in Hollywood, they are encrusted with sapphires.

I can guarantee you that Dolly paid more for the clutch she clutched at the Oscars than you or I would have to pay for new skis, boots and bindings. Heck, we could probably add a GoreTex powder shell and a pair of mountaineering pants, and still not top the tab for Dolly's clutch.

But that's Hollywood.

And this is Steamboat.

Tom Ross is a longtime Steamboat resident. His column is published every Monday in Steamboat Today.

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