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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

Along with all the glamorous types on the red carpet on Sunday will be commentator Peggy Orenstein. Her husband, Steven Okazaki, has been nominated for an award in the documentary category.

PEGGY ORENSTEIN: When my husband tells people that he's up for an Academy Award, their first response is, hey, that's great, followed immediately by, so, what's Peggy going to wear? I am the wife of a documentary filmmaker. This does not put me on the short list of women who can borrow a gown from Dior. I have, however, been faced with this challenge before.

NORRIS: If you want to impress a girl, take her to the Oscars. And win. I'm not saying I married Steven only because his name was in the envelope - please, but if part of a marriage is developing a mythology of destiny, the Oscar that now sits on top of our fridge, was integral to ours.

NORRIS: We're still here. Speaking of which, our marriage isn't the only thing that's been touched by time. Coco Chanel famously said, nature gives you the face you have at 20, life shapes the face you have at 30, but at 50, you get the face you deserve. I haven't yet reached that final milestone, but I'm ready to own it, marionette lines and all.

So this Sunday, look for Steven and me, milling around on the red carpet. We may only be extras in the lives of Meryl, Marisa, Mickey and Kate, but we've got starring roles in our own. I don't know whether the statuette on our fridge will get a playmate, but it doesn't much matter. Oh, and I'll be wearing Verrieres and Sako.

They're a pair of young Oakland, California designers who were gracious enough to lend me something for the occasion - given the economy, I can ill-afford a gown. This one is aubergine ruched satin, topped by a black, sheer organza jacket. It's architectural and modern, but with all the glamour of the 1940s. And wearing it, I actually might achieve fabulous. Christian Dior, eat your heart out.

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NORRIS: Peggy Orenstein is a writer. Her most recent book is "Waiting for Daisy." She's married to filmmaker Steven Okazaki. To comment on this essay, go to the opinion section of our Web site, that's npr.org.

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