Stand Up! The Oscars May Not Give Cynthia Erivo Her Flowers (Yet), But We Will

Illustration for article titled Stand Up! The Oscars May Not Give Cynthia Erivo Her Flowers (Yet), But We Will
Photo: Robyn Beck (AFP via Getty Images)

Did you watch the 2020 Academy Awards? No? Was it because the #OscarsSoWhite? I mean, they were (and accordingly, we’re going to have our lightest Oscars slideshow ever today), but in a year that denied both people of color and women their nomination shine (shoutout to Natalie Portman for having the names of this year’s overlooked female directors embroidered on her evening cape), people of color were nevertheless the big stories of the night. Case in point: the undeniably excellent work of Maori screenwriter and actor Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit), Korean writer-director Bong Joon Ho (Parasite), and the delightful team of Hair Love, director Matthew Cherry and producer Karen Rupert Toliver, all staged major (and in Bong’s case, repeated) upsets at the ceremony.

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Speaking of Cherry and Toliver, it must’ve been the icing on top of an already spectacular cake for Deandre Arnold, the Texas student denied his graduation walk for refusing to cut his dreadlocks, to find himself on the winning team after Cherry and Toliver, along with producers Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade, invited Arnold and his mother to join them on the Oscars red carpet, with grooming and styling provided by CROWN Act co-sponsor Dove. It’s the type of magical moment that usually only happens in Hollywood narratives, but hey, why not? It was Hollywood’s biggest night!

Matthew A. Cherry (L),  producer Karen Rupert Toliver (R) and Deandre Arnold (center), the Texas teen who was told his dreadlocks violated school dress code, arrive for the 92nd Oscars in Hollywood, Calif. on February 9, 2020.
Matthew A. Cherry (L), producer Karen Rupert Toliver (R) and Deandre Arnold (center), the Texas teen who was told his dreadlocks violated school dress code, arrive for the 92nd Oscars in Hollywood, Calif. on February 9, 2020.
Photo: Robyn Beck (AFP via Getty Images)
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But if you were looking for more magical moments on the red carpet, Regina King once again brought one, continuing to cement her newfound (but long overdue) status as Hollywood royalty in peach-toned Versace...and seriously, has this woman made a fashion or career misstep as of late? We only ask because as much as we’ve loved King since her days on 227, her glow up in the past few years has been nothing short of epic. Walking on water, indeed...

Illustration for article titled Stand Up! The Oscars May Not Give Cynthia Erivo Her Flowers (Yet), But We Will
Photo: Valerie Macon (AFP via Getty Images)

Seriously, it was a moment—one that did not go unnoticed by Black Twitter. (Because does anything, ever?)

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Other red carpet standouts? Janelle Monáe and Billy Porter, who each continued their red carpet rebellions with ethereal looks. Porter’s Giles Deacon ensemble—which featured 24-karat gold-plated feathers—was reportedly inspired by the 1920s, according to the team at Suave (yes, that Suave). Meanwhile, Monáe, who also opened the ceremony, gave us “bibbidi-bobbidi-boo” vibes in a silver-spangled, hooded (yet also backless) dress by Ralph Lauren.

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And then, there was Cynthia Erivo.

However you feel about Erivo’s questionable past comments about African Americans or her rumored (but never proven) involvement in black Hollywood scandal (pics or it didn’t happen), Erivo made the most of her two Oscar noms this year and rare status as a nominee of color, delivering what we believe to be one of the best looks of her still-evolving career in an ivory gown (a color trend for the night) by Atelier Versace...with platinum hair to match.

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Illustration for article titled Stand Up! The Oscars May Not Give Cynthia Erivo Her Flowers (Yet), But We Will
Photo: Amy Sussman (Getty Images)

It was a look befitting an almost-EGOT (at 33, Erivo would’ve been the youngest in history), and though Erivo was ultimately ROBBED of the Best Song Oscar (we said what we said—and seriously, would you have wanted to be Elton John and Bernie Taupin performing and accepting an award after Erivo’s flawless and soaring vocals?), her dramatically-collared golden performance gown by Vera Wang looked like the Academy Award she deserved for “Stand Up.” The woman top-trended the rest of the night on Twitter, and this is why:

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And as the world still mourns Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven others who tragically perished two weeks ago, much as he did with good friend Prince, Spike Lee made a fashion statement in honor of his departed and deeply revered friend. See Lee and more of our melanated faves in our slideshow below. (And no, we don’t know why Blac Chyna was invited, either...but were pleasantly surprised to find Maya Rudolph’s draped copper sequins one of our favorite looks—and likely, one of the most comfortable—of the night).

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

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DISCUSSION

I can’t lie, Erivo’s Stand Up performance was excellent.