Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Let's Play Celebrity 'Attainable or Unattainable?': Oscar Edition
By Rembert Browne and Chelsea Fagan
Two weeks ago, Chelsea Fagan and I joined forces to discuss which Grammy nominees and winners were attainable/unattainable. The process was challenging, but at the end of the day, writing about Rihanna, Bruno Mars, and Adele isn't that difficult. We all have that Adele figure in our lives, everyone knows someone like Rihanna, and we all know how hard it is to shake a "Bruno Mars" from our friend circle. But the Oscars are a different beast. They are for adults, by adults. (FABA, if you will.) People with car loans and mortgages and pasts win and lose Oscars. This is one of the many reasons this was a more challenging task, but we did it, because that's what we do.
In the second installment of our "Celebrity Attainability Exercise in Futility," we tackle the Oscars and 10 of last night's most important figures.
1. Jean Dujardin, Best Actor, The Artist
Chelsea Fagan: I must take a moment to be a hipster here and say that some of us have been in love with Dujardin since Un gars, une fille all of 13 years ago. Some of us haven't just now hopped on the Ofthegarden train and realized how eminently unattainable he is in the past few weeks. That being said, the man is beyond adorable in every sense of the word, and has the comic timing/dashing good looks combination of an Old Hollywood star — one who you imagine might permanently smell of good Scotch, subtle cologne, and Cuban cigars. He dances, too. The man dances. If you were to meet him out, I guarantee you'd have a few stiff drinks and talk about how much better Paris is than New York, and you may trick yourself into thinking he's into it, too, but he'd leave you hanging right when you thought you had sealed the deal. He is a mirage of French charm.
Rembert Browne: I agree with you in the sense that he's unattainable, but it has nothing to do with the Midnight in Paris plot you just ended that argument with. Lay off the Owen Wilson, won't you? It's a drug, not a multivitamin. Anyway, the bottom line is that he's very handsome, but so much so that he's convinced you that he's "adorable," which is the ultimate ploy of an unattainable human. Adorable still gives the helpless soul a little hope that you might luck up, but once you don't, he'll haunt you for the rest of your life. I'm sorry, Chelsea, but these new-found Dujardin lovers have some time to escape his spell. You're trapped in his unattainable gaze forever.
2. Octavia Spencer, Best Supporting Actress, The Help
Browne: Girl just won an Oscar, she's so far from attainable it's hilarious. A random guy today is going to try and holler at Octavia, and I guarantee Octavia will shoot back with, "Tell me one thing, Darryl ... do you have an Oscar?" When Darryl says no, she'll start laughing maniacally and speed off in her new convertible that I'm sure she bought this morning. Before Halle won her Oscar, she used to be super attainable, but look at her now. Untouchable. Do you remember The Jamie Foxx Show? The star of that show, at the time, was arguably the most attainable human ever created. And look at him now. There's no way Juicy J of Three 6 Mafia is putting up with my, "Hey, Juicy, it's Rembert. Just wondering if you wanted to go to the rib shack in Memphis and listen to some cool tunes." No way. Octavia, welcome to an exclusive club. The "I'm black, bitch, and I just won an Oscar and my name isn't even Denzel, so get out of my face while I do whatever I want" club. No chance you're getting with Octavia, Chelsea. Sorry.
Fagan: Thank you for reminding me that Three 6 Mafia won an Oscar — the same artists who brought us such gems as "Slob On My Knob" and "Stay High." LOL. In any case, yeah, I think that's fair. Granted, I think she must realize on some level that, of the nominated performances in that film, she was about six light years behind Viola Davis in terms of deserving the award, but I'm sure it feels good nonetheless. She's having her moment, shitting in pies, giving tearful speeches — now's probably not the time you're going to get her. I'll give you that one.
3. Woody Allen, Best Writing — Original Screenplay, Midnight in Paris
Fagan: On a scale from 1 to first cousin, how much of a chance would you have of appearing on an episode of Family Feud with Woody? His attainability depends on your answer.
Browne: Woody used to show up to my family reunions. He stood out like sore thumb, because he was the only one who really wore corduroy. No one ever talked to him, but he always had a plate made for him and I think he had a key to my house. So yeah, I guess do with that information what you will.
Fagan: Well, then, he's probably attainable for you. The question is, though, are you enough of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl Ingenue Trope to keep his attention? I suggest building up your little-doll-dress collection.
Verdict: *Creepy and ATTAINABLE, Probably for Rembert*
4. Meryl Streep, Best Actress, The Iron Lady
Fagan: Does the fact that Meryl Streep is unattainable really need to be explained to anyone? Meryl Streep is made entirely out of diamonds, artistic integrity, and the infinite expansion of the universe. She has ceased to operate or function as a normal human being, and even discussing her at this point makes me feel wholly unworthy. If next year they were to release a film called Meryl Eats a Bowl of Tomato Soup, and it was literally just one hour of her sipping away at some Campbell's, I would camp out for the three days leading up to the premiere like one of those insane Apple people. Even if she didn't eat a grilled cheese with it. Needless to say, Meryl is not for us to ever touch.
Browne: While I agree that Meryl has long been unattainable, I think she has really stepped her game up in recent years. The main reason: Helen Mirren. In recent years, Meryl has begun to lose some of her "I'm the Queen, but also sort of hot" corner of the market to Mirren, because (1) Helen is also a hot 1940s baby, and (2) Helen will take her clothes off faster than a B-side model trapped in Terry Richardson's photography studio. I think this got to Meryl and since then, she's been on a crusade to take back her crown. Obviously, she has and now she's more unattainable than ever. I wouldn't have it any other way.
5. Michelle Williams, Best Actress, My Week With Marilyn
Browne: Nothing we just said about Meryl Streep applies to Michelle Williams. While Meryl exists on the highest pedestal's highest pedestal, Michelle gets her hair cut at Taco Bell. That's really as far as I'm going to take it with her; she is rapidly creeping into my top five most attainable current actresses.
Fagan: Is it just me, or does Michelle always seem on the verge of tears? I don't know, she just strikes me as one of those frail white women — along with Carey Mulligan and Gwyneth Paltrow — that you feel like would just topple over at the first zesty spring breeze. She just seems made out of marshmallows and feelings. She seems eminently attainable. I am with you on this one.
Verdict: *Legendarily ATTAINABLE*
6. George Clooney, Best Actor, The Descendants
Fagan: George Clooney will never be attainable. He just continues to level up every year, and now he's in his renaissance of "Oh, shit, pretty boy is actually a really good actor." I know a lot of people thought Up in the Air could have just been called Good Looking Guy Hangs Out at Airport Bars, and to the untrained eye, maybe that's true. But his performance was subtle and delicate — as is his turn in The Descendants — and he is at the top of his game. He has no reason to settle for losers like us. Unless you're a 22-year-old Brazilian model/cocktail waitress whom he can take on a whirlwind dating tour for four months before you evaporate into some kind of black hole (as I imagine all of his ex-girlfriends do), you're never going to get a chance with him.
Browne: George Clooney will always be attainable. His entire dating track record is based on you (the woman) being at the right place at the right time. If I were trying to get chosen by George Clooney, I would simply stalk him for a few decades, understanding that the war for Clooney is just a battle of attrition. After some time, he's bound to pick you. Right? The only thing working against someone trying to get him is that women age and Clooney doesn't, so if you can stumble on that elixir (that apparently Tom Cruise got a hold of Sunday night), your chances with George skyrocket. But yeah, Fagan, based on your "never" and my "always," I just don't think we're going to see eye to eye on this one.
Verdict: *Agree to Disagree*
7. Kristen Wiig, Best Writing — Original Screenplay, Bridesmaids
Browne: As a card-carrying member of the beautiful, hilarious-lady SNL club (Fey — president, Rudolph — treasurer), I couldn't feel more strongly in stating that she's astronomically unattainable. She's a funny, beautiful woman who keeps hooking up with Jon Hamm in movies. What else is there to say? I dare you to bring up anything else.
Fagan: Kristen Wiig got to have fake sex with Jon Hamm and I have yet to unlock that achievement, so we are not currently on speaking terms. I do concede, however, that she is incredibly funny and at the top of her game right now, so I will grant you that you probably could not get with her. That's all the airtime I feel comfortable giving her at this point. I have to go stew in my own jealousy.
8. Rooney Mara, Best Actress, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Fagan: Maybe it's the haircut/eyebrow combination that I've been seeing everywhere, but I think Rooney is attainable. She went from adorable and girl-next-door in The Social Network to utterly terrifying in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo — and she is a great actress, but I don't think she's ever been in a real "starlet" phase. I bet you could get her if you wanted to, but I hope your interest would be contingent upon her getting some normal hair again.
Browne: On paper, Rooney seems pretty unattainable, but I bet at the right bar, with the right song playing, she would grab anyone and start making out with them. Because that's what free spirits do. I have no problem admitting the previous two sentences are a dream I once had, but I've heard that if you believe in yourself, dreams can come true.
9. Jonah Hill, Best Supporting Actor, Moneyball
Browne: Call me crazy, but I think pudgy Jonah was more unattainable than fit Jonah. With Jonah's newfound confidence, between his healthier build and an Oscar nod, I think he's out there trying to make up for lost time. By that, I mean he's singley and ready to mingley with anyone who shows any interest. Fit Jonah has something to prove, and I think he's pretty OK with proving anything to anyone. I think chubby Jonah would even have a chance with thin Jonah at this point.
Fagan: You are ridiculous. Jonah is clearly at his most unattainable. He used to be the fluffy guy who supplied the self-deprecating jokes in every Judd Apatow film (to the point where it wasn't really funny anymore), and now he's an Oscar nominee with a svelte new body. If he were a woman, he would be on the cover of every magazine with a caption like, "How I Got My Body Back," wearing a red bikini. Things are clearly looking up for him, and I think if you were looking to get on that train, you missed it several stops ago. It's only a matter of time before he starts going through Victoria's Secret models like Kleenex.
Verdict: *Waiting for Jonah's Third Transformation*
10. Billy Crystal, Ninth Tour of Oscar Duty
Fagan: He does blackface at the Oscars and is near-complete in his transformation into a waxy, middle-aged lesbian. I think it's safe to say you could get with him if you want to.
Browne: I really, really don't want to. Not that face. You know it's bad when I was less appalled by the blackface than by the realface.
Rembert Browne (@RembertManX) is a staff writer for Grantland. Chelsea Fagan (@Chelsea_Fagan) is a writer living in Paris. Her work has appeared on Thought Catalog, The Atlantic, Le Monde, and elsewhere.