I know ‘star turn’ is a kind of great-auntly expression for a role that turns someone into a star, but I’m being much more literal about it. I haven’t stopped thinking all night about a turn Michelle Williams executed in a conversation that was just about surgical.
Remember all those years Michelle came to the red carpet with Busy Phillips? Obviously we knew they were best friends and giggled together in the bathroom during commercials and, I assume, texted each other while sitting beside one another, probably in code so seat fillers couldn’t read over their shoulders.
Now I assume they were also dissecting every question Michelle would face on the carpet and how to wiggle out of it. Because the interview turn she performed last night was so good it had to be practiced with someone and I’m assuming that’s Busy.
Michelle attended with Tarana Burke, who created the #MeToo movement in 2006. I have grumped elsewhere about how ill-equipped the red carpet interviewers were to deal with the fact that the conversations on the carpet this year were going to be a little different… from putting Tarana and others in the squeezeback box when they were talking to admonishing Emma Watson and her guest Marai Lasani to “have some fun in there too”.
But on the NBC pre-show, they tried to get the ‘important’ stuff out of the way first, and then once they had a soundbite from Tarana Burke, said “Michelle, tell us how you felt when you were nominated?”
A fair enough question, after all. It’s not ‘who are you wearing’ or ‘did you feel soooo pretty when you left? Like a princess?’ They’re there for the performance awards.
But Michelle is not campaigning and she’s not telling us about the importance of the story. She literally said,“I don’t remember”.
More completely, she said (I’m paraphrasing, but not by much), “Oh, I don’t remember, to be honest with you, because for the past month I’ve just been so excited about the opportunity to come here with Tarana and to get this message out and …”
That is skill. That is not a rookie move. You can decide you are or aren’t going to talk about something, but that is worlds away from ‘no comment’ or dead air. You play the game your way, and you win. It was masterful.
No wonder Busy Phillips looks so proud in this photo.
Also, if I’m not mistaken, are she and Tarana and Michelle wearing variations on similar sequinned gowns? They love a matching outfit.