There had to be more to my fascination of tuning in to the mostly shirtless Texas bar owner, Brad (‘Womanizer’) Womack wooing his pool of hopeful maidens on Monday nights. Perhaps, it is his inviting blue eyes, sun-kissed skin, and perfectly groomed hair that kept most fans (including me) glued to ABC’s “The Bachelor.” In chastising myself for succumbing to this type of mindless and twisted entertainment, I justify my vice by curiously correlating the similarities between Womack’s herd of bombshells and America’s horde of job seekers. Sadly, “The Bachelor” depicts a microcosm of the hurdles job seekers withstand in order to walk away with a single rose for their garden of dreams.
In both scenarios, job and “Bachelor” prospective candidates are encouraged to submit an application via mail or online. Prospective job seekers must fulfill requirements such as experience and education in order to be considered suitable matches for open jobs. For “Bachelor” candidates being 21 or over years of age is a main requirement, in addition to having lots of energy and BIG…smiles. The selection process seems equally competitive; with about a 5:1 ratio of candidates vs. vacancies. Putting your best foot forward for finding a corporate job means wearing your best interview suit, while “Bachelor” candidates fair best in little more than their birthday suits. Both real and reality worlds conduct background, reference, and character checks. “Bachelor” semi-finalists are required to undergo physical exams (to make sure all implants are fully secured) and psychological testing (surely you have to fail to be cast). Such examinations are often administered in the corporate world though results are held to a higher level of discern. Despite the disparity in how credentials are gauged for each of the two situations—one thing they do share—the degree of competition is fierce.
Candidate Elimination Process
Once “The Bachelor” airs, Brad Womack reigns as the boss in charge of dispatching 24 out of 25 beauties; having tested their courage, wit, and chemistry (and I don’t mean the subject). The latter being his number one criteria for booting the girls out of his life and the show. Chemistry is indeed a major reason why job seekers fail to make it to the next round, along with lack of confidence, poor grooming, hygiene, and inappropriate or annoying behavior. Such valid reasons could very well be the cause for being sent home without a rose on the show; reasons ‘Mr. Bachelor’ is enough of a gentleman to ever divulge on or off-camera. As a viewer, I knew which girls were blatantly annoying, overbearing, unappealing, and dull. As an executive recruiter I also know when job candidates possess such characteristics. Yet, everyone is deserving of a chance, right? Besides, just because I can’t find a redeeming quality in a candidate doesn’t necessarily mean they are not worthy of being hired. My opinion is subjective—and apparently so is Brad Womack’s.
Then there’s the question of whether or not a candidate/bachelorette fits the corporate/domestic culture. It was clearly important to Brad that his bride-to-be mingled well with his family. This is where the North Carolina resident, Emily Maynard scored high by moving Brad’s southern mom to tears as she confided, “Brad is my angel.” The sisters-in-law also embraced Emily, purely on the fact that like them, she too was a mom. Oftentimes, it is these types of similarities that deem candidates capable of fitting the corporate culture of an organization or in Emily’s case a family.
Utilizing a structured decision-making methodology makes choosing between two finalists in a job or wife search less of a daunting task.
As with job candidates who end up respectable runners-up, I feel for Chantal O’Brien, who in my mind was deserving of the final rose. After all, she was warmer, more affectionate, more sincere, and far more attractive than the ever-so-guarded Emily. Personally, I believe the hunky ‘Bachelor’ had his own private goals in choosing the skeptical and emotionally unattached Emily— to remain a ‘Bachelor’ and turn up again in a couple of seasons when he hits the big 4-0. When counseling employers on their hiring choices, there is only so much I can advocate on a candidate’s behalf. Eventually, it is up to the client to make the final decision of hiring one candidate versus another, and often, they too have their private intentions. Let’s just say that choosing without virtue is like a rose without a scent—regardless of her name.
They are mere mortals—just like you and me. Yet we admire and often idolize these entertainers based on their portrayal of roles written and directed for the screen. They’re guised under carefully crafted costumes and calculated makeup strategies to create the illusion of the characters they play. Throw in additional components such as flattering lights, crisp sound, and brilliant editing; these human beings are further transformed into Demigod heroes. So it’s no wonder we are so surprised, critical, and disillusioned when we see these very performers in unscripted situations and events such as this year’s 83rd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. While many (if not all) devote overtime hours with their trainers, couturiers and stylists prior to the big day, when they are in the spotlight as people not protagonists, on live television, plenty of ‘bleeps and blunders’ are bound to occur. Still, it is these very faux pas that attract us as viewers of this most celebrated event.
Oscar executives made a conscious decision to appeal to a ‘younger demographic’ by choosing Anne Hathaway and James Franco as the hosts of this year’s distinguished occasion. Sadly for Anne Hathaway, despite her acting talent, beauty, bubbly personality, and 8 customized looks during the night, she was miserably miscast as mistress of ceremonies. She just had bigger shoes to fill than Manolo [Blahnik], Jimmy [Choo] and Christian [Louboutin] combined could ever make for her. To her credit, she did her job to the best of her abilities and even belted out a better than average song for the audience. Maybe if she’d been paired with a veteran presenter like Billy Crystal or even David Letterman rather than another novice host like James Franco, she might have stood of chance of shining in her debut co-host role. While Anne Hathaway at least tried to engage the audience, James Franco seemed to give up 5 minutes into the show: it made the 3+ hours feel like “127 Hours” of painful viewing. It’s pretty obvious that both young hosts lacked the experience and professional maturity required for their high-profile position. This sort of casting blunder is one Oscar night executives can’t afford to repeat.
Behavioral & Communication Blunders
As an actor, bringing home a gold Oscar statue is the ultimate triumph marking years of training, sacrificing, and surviving in a cut-throat industry where only a select few rise to stardom. Academy Award winners have 45-seconds to squeeze in a lifetime of gratitude on national television. So it befuddles me to see an actress like Best Supporting Actress Winner, Melissa Leo have any one of her precious seconds bleeped out to edit the F-bomb she dropped during her acceptance speech. Leo’s pristine white lace gown served as a phony façade for her potty mouth and prior gauche actions of taking full-page ads to advocate her win. She is quite the example for the 64 fifth-grade choir members who traveled from Staten Island’s P.S. 22 to sing their angelic version of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ at the show’s finale. Other indiscretions of the night included Jude Law airing Robert Downey, Jr.’s ‘dirty laundry’ during their award presentation; Lenny Kravitz’ and other celebrity audience members keeping sunglasses on inside the theater; and Best Cinematography Winner, Wally Pfister’s glasses left on top of his head during his 45-seconds of glory, which he decided to use as a forum to get his political point across. Even the glowing, mom-to-be Natalie Portman seemed unprepared with the overwhelming number of ‘ums’ she included in her acceptance speech for Best Actress category. Anne Hathaway’s unremitting gawky gait and sloppy posture, which even her mother, advised her to fix at the start of the show were more offensive than some of the dreadful fashions that strutted down the red carpet.
Fashion, Makeup & Hair Blunders
Actress Amy Adams looked overly accessorized and trapped in her look. She flaunted a full-sequined navy L’Wren Scott gown with a high jewel neckline, youthful side-swept and loosely curled hair, with severely applied makeup. The already ornate dress was layered with a beautiful Cartier diamond and emerald necklace, which contradicted the matronly neckline. Perhaps, Amy Adams would be smart to hire Nicole Kidman’s makeup artist, who expertly succeeded in highlighting her features [Kidman has similar coloring to Adams] without overpowering colors or sheen. Nicole Kidman looked gorgeous from the shoulders up: her hair in a loose yet styled pony-tail, radiant face, and jaw-dropping 150-carat Fred Leighton necklace. It was her white Dior Couture gown and red peep-toe pumps that missed the mark. She looked more like a blushing bride than a Hollywood star at the Oscars. More white gowns paraded across the red carpet: Best Actress nominee Michelle Williams chose a beaded Chanel Haute Couture gown that entirely washed out her creamy skin and blonde locks. Celine Dion’s off-white Armani Privé gown also washed out her complexion and the texture accentuated the lines on her face. There were also far too many past Academy Award-Winning actresses in nude or muted dresses that dulled and conflicted with the actresses’ shining personalities and natural coloring. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Calvin Klein gown was so subdued for her fair-skin, eyes and hair, that her only saving grace were the magnificent, multi-colored, gem brooch earrings designed by Louis Vuitton. Halle Berry’s beautiful caramel skin-tone was also not enhanced by the nude-color of her Marchesa gown. Cate Blanchette selected an overly intricate pale lavender Givenchy gown, with a strange pleated inset on its bodice. Not only did the color not flatter her, but there was so much detail on the dress, you didn’t know where to look. It resembled an armored suit more than a chic evening gown. Only 14 year-old Best Supporting Actress Nominee Hailee Steinfeld seemed to beam in her tea-length, pale blush, custom Marchesa dress. Luckily, the number of ‘sleepy’ colored dresses were offset by Best Actress Nominee Jennifer Lawrence’s simply elegant red Calvin Klein gown, Academy Award-Winner Jennifer Hudson’s red-orange Versace halter gown, Penelope Cruz’ post-baby, slim-fitting, red and sunray sequined gown, Sandra Bullock’s stunning Vera Wang ‘comeback’ gown, and Anne Hathaway’s show-stopping pure red Valentino masterpiece. Coincidently, black dresses were paired with throw-back bouffant hair: Reese Witherspoon’s coiffe resembled Retro Barbie, Helena Bonham Carter’s mane looked like her Red Queen character in “Alice in Wonderland,” and Sharon Stone’s up do looked like Retro Barbie’s mom. The men had little room for apparel blunders, especially if they were dressed by Tom Ford, who looked impeccable in his classic tuxedo, crisp white shirt, white pocket square, with a white flower on his lapel. Best Actor Winner, Colin Firth who dressed in Tom Ford is a testament to Ford’s winning style and designs. Too bad Robert Downey, Jr. didn’t get his style tips from Tom Ford. It would have prevented him from looking like a clown in his oversized sky-blue bow tie [with coordinating sunglasses], untailored tuxedo, and black, white-soled sneakers. Maybe Downey, Jr. is the reason why so many audience members kept their sunglasses on while indoors.
Amazingly, Hollywood’s biggest night of glamour and glitz is not without ‘bleeps and blunders.’ Actors spend their entire careers perfecting how to become characters other than themselves. Perhaps that is why so many of them suffer from image schizophrenia. Overall, this year’s Academy Awards were unexciting and uneventful. Thank goodness for the 45-second acceptance speech rule!