Scott's World -- UPI Arts & Entertainment

By VERNON SCOTT, UPI Hollywood Reporter  |  March 26, 2002 at 4:35 PM
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The annual Academy Awards madness is over again and the show-within-a-show winner for most undressed actress this year was ... The envelope please.

Gwyneth Paltrow!

Women's gowns have become second in importance in the yearly Oscar parade to the best actress winner, who happened to be the deserving Halle Berry this year.

Berry, however, failed to make it a double win for herself because the 33-year-old actress had the common sense and proper taste for the occasion to be thoroughly covered up in her stylish gown.

It was a near thing, however, thanks to some oaf who stepped on the lengthy train of her outfit, thereby almost causing Berry to walk out of her clothes altogether.

Fortunately for all -- but especially Halle -- the stitching held and the lout removed his foot before millions of viewers worldwide would have seen her in dishabille, if not altogether nude depending on how much underclothing she was wearing.

Clearly, most of the glamour girls were not encumbered with brassieres. The absence of that bit of female buttressing is not against the law, of course.

But the parade of arriving actresses, some of whom are nominees for best actress or best supporting actress, may become confused with an evening at the local Hooters bar and restaurant chain.

Or maybe the opening round of a strip tease?

The onset of a stag movie?

A semi-nudist colony come-on?

Or even a challenge to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit special?

What is there about young or relatively young actresses that inspires them to show off their breasts to best advantage on TV or in photo ops?

Why do they participate in an authorized public contest of mammary glands for all the world to ogle?

Not that any red-blooded American man, or all other males on the planet, would object.

But what compels these skinny, mostly blonde, thespians and wannabe stars to tease viewers with their charms, unconcerned about their less well-endowed sisters?

Moreover, could this lubricious parade of boobs inspire male counterparts to strip down to Speedo swimsuits for red carpet competition?

How would Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Benjamin Bratt, Mel Gibson, and other boy toys look filing down the carpet in their briefs?

The best actress and supporting actress nominees were more decorous. Well, at least Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Sissy Spacek were.

Nicole Kidman was elegantly, demurely covered up, as were Renée Zellweger and Helen Mirren.

Supporting actress winner Jennifer Connelly was borderline, as were Marisa Tomei and Kate Winslet who, as nominees, gained more attention for their achievements than their cleavage.

Why have the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Reese Witherspoon, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Cameron Diaz, Julia Roberts and Sharon Stone, to name a few, joined the boob parade?

The answer is simple: to draw attention to themselves.

And this they do, much to the approbation of appreciative males and the indignation of their wives and girl friends.

Let us all praise God that Whoopi Goldberg did not participate in the undressing of the Oscars. It was bad enough she made her bow on a trapeze dressed as the biggest, most feathered bird since the ostrich.

Perhaps all of this show-and-tell is simply a girl thing in the 21st century.

But where might it lead?

Gowns with cutout sections in the chest area, or would that be even tackier?

No right-thinking man objects to low décolletage, plunging necklines, revealing midriffs or micro-mini skirts, but it should be kept in mind by mavens of haut couture that male imaginations are their best ally.

No question, times have changed, as have necklines and propriety in Hollywood in the past few years.

Try to imagine Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Deborah Kerr or Ingrid Bergman togged out like Paltrow or, say Jennifer Aniston.

No great stars of the past, including Vivien Leigh, Claudette Colbert, Irene Dunne, Loretta Young or Grace Kelly would have waltzed down a red carpet with their breasts on display.

It was not a matter of morality or lack of sexuality with those ladies of the past ... merely a sense of style and taste.

Even Mae West, Clara Bow, Anne Sheridan, Marilyn Monroe and Raquel Welch left a great deal to the imagination.

Well, yes, there was Marilyn's infamous nude calendar when she was a starving young wannabe actress.

Today's glamour girls only LOOK like they're starving. Ironically, only providence knows whether today's beauties have been artificially implemented to enhance their bust lines.

All things considered, one should not object too vociferously to the Hooters syndrome among Hollywood's young and beautiful.

As shocking or delightful as bared breasts may be to some doddering old blue noses, they are tenfold more decorative and esthetic than nose rings and elaborate tattoos.

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