So let’s back it up a couple of months, maybe longer, when Oscar show producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher, and Steven Soderbergh conceive the show open – they want it to feel cinematic, they want it to feel like a one-shot, a scene that celebrates the best of film, a total Soderbergh jam. Who’s on the short list to pull it off? Who do they trust with that responsibility?
Because this is the moment that sets the tone, right? They’ve been hyping this moment for weeks, promising that it would be a total banger. Making that kind of promise is a major risk – they basically guaranteed that the Oscar opening would be a blockbuster. So the pressure was there…
Or maybe it wasn’t. Now that we know who was tasked with that job, it probably wasn’t. Turns out, the best production decision they made was to cast Regina King in that role. She was their ace, and while they might worry about all kinds of other unpredictable elements in a three-plus hour live show, and eventually get f-cked on their scripted ending, Regina was where their bets were safe – a sure thing in an industry where there is no such thing, there was never any doubt that Regina King would deliver. It was indeed a slamdunk of an opening sequence.
Her walk. Her pace. Her expression. Her confidence. Her comfort. Her attitude.
Give Regina King's entrance an Oscar pic.twitter.com/E9VsiWWOnn— Vulture (@vulture) April 26, 2021
But remember, that was only the FIRST part of her job! There was more to do. After that impressively flawless strut through the station, Regina had to welcome the audience, she had to put words to the Oscars – and not just the usual sh-t talk about Hollywood’s most glamourous night but she managed to weave in Minneapolis and Black Lives Matter into her monologue, while still keeping the celebratory vibe of the night!
This is work. So much work. It’s so much effort… and some of that effort went into making it seem effortless. That’s why her opening is not just the fact that she stomped the Union Station catwalk, it was ten minutes of labour that saw her play the role of fashion model, host, inspirational speaker, activist, presenter, actor, and peer all at once.
They were fortunate to have her. Because I’m not sure anyone else in that room, anyone else involved in award season this year, could have pulled it off as smoothly as she did, and as graciously as she did. That’s another thing about Regina King and what she shouldered for the Academy last night: she did all that without it seeming like she was trying to suck all the attention. She killed it, without taking all of it. Let’s appreciate what a special skillset this is. And how rare it is.
But I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising. For a Black woman to achieve what Regina King has in Hollywood, it’s a constant collection of skills, because you’re constantly pivoting in an industry – in a society, really – that is always throwing up doors. She’s figured out how to get through them one by one. What’s an Oscars opening sequence then, really?
Still. If this is the role that they’ve cast you in, more than ever you need that dress. Right?! Now we know the WHY of that dress. But we didn’t know when we first saw it, which is here:
This is the kind of dress that sends everyone else home. That’s the game, there are no more plays. But, again, when she posted this, and when she showed up at arrivals, even though we were all wig-snatched but this amazingness, we still had no idea that it was chosen because it would be the dress with the most shine of the night – literally, it would have its own runway.
So if you’re her stylists, Wayman + Micah, this is your mission: to find a dress for Regina King for the Oscars, which is in itself a f-cking mission, but for her to OPEN the Oscars. They would be involved in making Oscar history, literally. I would sh-t my whole ass in that situation. What they did was devour it. This dress is a f-cking legend. Those shoulders, warrior angel wings. That fit, for a goddess. That striped beading, falling to scalloping along the bottom hem, instantly iconic. And that colour!
It’s a high degree of difficulty, this ice blue. It could easily go into Enchantment Under the Sea prom territory. Only it didn’t, because of the craftmanship and the design, the exquisite detailing, and of course the wearer.
I expected Regina to bring it. I called for it actually the other day. But even still I didn’t think it would f-ck me up this hard. We will be talking about this for years.