What The Oscars Red Carpet Couples’ Interviews Can Teach Us About #AskHerMore
As is always the case when it comes to the red carpet interviews that precede every award show, the contents of the interviews can be kind of shallow. But I have to take my hat off to the E! Network on Sunday night, because their Oscars red carpet interviews were kind of on point. Nowhere was that better illustrated than when it came to the married couples who hit the red carpet together, especially when both were celebrities in their own right. When it comes to #AskHerMore, we too often focus on the individual interviews, but, as it turns out, the couples' interviews are a more accurate picture of whether a network is succeeding or failing. With the short amount of time they have to interview two people simultaneously, what they choose to ask in that time, and to whom they choose to ask it, says a lot. For E! in particular, it said some pretty good things.
Because the thing is, there was only one notable interview in which Ryan Seacrest failed to ask the women questions as interesting as the ones he asked the men, and one particular interview flipped the script entirely. The latter interview was the one he conducted with Leslie Mann and Judd Apatow. Seacrest greeted Leslie Mann by her name, and referred to Apatow as "her husband of 20 years." It was a segue into a conversation about wedding anniversaries and the like, but it was a pretty outstanding moment in a place where women are often treated as no more than window decoration on their husband's careers. He then proceeded to talk to Mann about her upcoming projects before talking to Apatow about their marriage, which was really cool to see.
He didn't even remember to ask either one about what they were wearing.
Other interviews with couples, such as Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, were also pretty positive. Although Timberlake is the one nominated for an award tonight, Seacrest asked Biel about her upcoming projects and career, after allowing Timberlake to talk at length about the construction of his Oscar-nominated song for Trolls. It was refreshing, especially considering that Biel was not on the publicity circuit to promote anything in particular, but was still given that platform to talk about the projects that she has in the pipes. On top of that, Seacrest ended by asking both actors what they were wearing, thank you very much.
Which is not to say that it was a perfect night. When Chrissy Teigen and John Legend arrived for their interview, Seacrest's only question to Teigen was about the designer behind her dress, and the rest of the interview focused on her Oscar-nominated husband's upcoming performance and general career. Of course, as always, Teigen was happy to talk about Legend (i.e. embarrass Legend by pointing out how nervous he was), but, considering she's written a bestselling cookbook, co-hosts a popular lip sync competition show, and takes down Donald Trump on the regular like a boss, surely there was something more interesting to talk about than just her dress or her date? (Even if Legend did say she looked like a goddess. Catch me, I'm swooning.)
Now, don't get me wrong. It can be very frustrating to see a female celebrity asked about her fashion or motherhood or her date as if those are the only three things that she has going on, when, just seconds before, a male celebrity was being asked about his music or his acting or his writing. But it's particularly egregious in a couples interview, if the only thing a host can think to ask the woman in the duo is about her dress. It was refreshing to see Seacrest avert that too-easy question so many times, and more thought-provoking content was teased out of the stars as a result.
It's a lesson for all red carpet interviewers to learn. Women have far more thoughts and interests than just their designer dress and that, even if they're just there as a date to their Oscar-nominated husbands, their careers, thoughts, and opinions are still worth asking after. And couples' interviews are a great new litmus test for seeing whether or not that lesson has sunk in.