Friday, February 28, 2014


Just when you thought it was safe to go back online, here they come again! Oh no! Oh yes! It's the Return of the Oscar Barbies, 2014 edition!

Regular readers of this blog will recall that I have this deranged habit of dressing up my vintage (and not so vintage) Barbie dolls as Academy Awards Best Actress nominees. It all began back in the Dark Ages when I couldn't resist draping a doll in some lush silk moire to represent one of Glenn Close's fabulous gowns in Dangerous Liaisons.

Now it seems I have a reputation to maintain; it follows me around like Jacob Marley's rattling chains, as voracious as Audrey the plant in Little Shop of Horrors. It must be fed!

And so here are this year's nominees (above):

Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, Sandra Bullock in Gravity, and Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams in American Hustle.

The first thing you'll notice is, yes, there are only four of them. It turns out I only have one hair-appropriate doll who could "play" either Judi Dench in Philomena, or Meryl Streep in August: Osage County. (With Oscar Barbies, it's all about the hair!)

Unfortunately, Barbie doesn't have appropriate outfits for either of those characters, and since I found them so uninspiring (outfit-wise, anyway), I decided to pass on both of them and throw in Supporting Actress nominee Lawrence instead—who was way more fun to dress!

The rules—such as they are—are simple enough. I won't go out and buy any new doll clothes. (Although I have been known to prowl thrift shops and Goodwill stores for a cheap doll with the right hair!) I have to Frankenstein outfits together from whatever spare parts I have on hand.

It's okay to stitch up something by hand, but I don't have a sewing machine, so there's often a lot of Scotch tape and Yankee ingenuity involved!

Come Oscar time, it  looks like a Project Runway Unconventional Materials challenge around here.

Take this year's Gravity doll. Yup—tin foil. (No sewing required!) Although the footwear is regulation Barbie go-go boots from the '60s. The clear plastic face mask is some piece of packaging I scavenged from somewhere years ago, just because it seemed to be Barbie-size.

By rights, my Blue Jasmine doll should be wearing beige, always Woody Allen's go-to wardrobe color to symbolize repressed mental fragility. (Remember Geraldine Page in Interiors?) But these tailored Barbie pieces from the pre-Velcro era evoke the essence of Cate Blanchett's chic, disintegrating East Coaster, complete with wine glass, pearls, and a copy of The New Yorker. (Good props count for a lot in Oscar Barbie World.)

We're back to oddball material for Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle—her gold lamé dress is made out of wired Christmas ribbon (although the white faux-fur stole is vintage Barbie). I don't have any clinging disco-era dresses with plunging necklines for Lawrence or co-star Adams, so I had to improvise!

I put Adams in a faux-leather suit (no blouse under the jacket, to get the correct cleavage). I also gave her con-artist character a clutch handbag dripping money, and added a bucket of champagne to symbolize the high life everyone was after in the movie.

Staying true to the spirit of the nominees—that's how we play this game in Oscar Barbie World!

(To visit the Spirits of Oscar Barbies Past, click here.)


  1. Did you do something to Cate Blanchett Barbie's face or eyes to get that great expression?

  2. She's a Malibu Barbie picked up at the Goodwill eons ago, and it looks like her "tan" is starting to fade a bit, especially around her hairline & the tip of her nose. But I guess that loopy expression just comes with the doll!