Oscar-themed manicures seem like a slam dunk for any vaguely creative nail polish company trying to keep the nail art trend running as long as humanly possible, but some films are more difficult than others to render as nail art. 12 Years a Slave is at the top of that list.
That didn’t stop nail polish-maker Orly from trying, though. For the past week the company has been celebrating Best Picture nominees with nail art on its Instagram account. Some have been pretty good, like American Hustle:
But the company had some completely predictable difficulty making a cute manicure about the ugliest and most brutal period in America’s history.
Now this manicure certainly wasn’t as bad as it could have been, especially if you have a good imagination and little faith in the sensitivity of humanity. It could have been really bad. All Orly did was paint a broken chain on one thumb and use the other four fingers to spell out “12 Years A Slave.”
But while the manicure could have been much, much worse, it still wasn’t great. Doing a 12 Years a Slave mani-pedi is just a terrible idea, and the way Orly chose to photograph it was not especially sensitive. Instead of photographing the model holding one of the more eye-catching or notable shades in the manicure, they picked a bottle of brown polish.
We weren’t the only people surprised by the choice.
“Really with the brown polish?” one Instagram commenter said. “Some things just don’t need nail art tributes.”
According to New York Magazine, Orly said the shade was used to do some very minor accents on the manicure, like around the edges of the 12, perhaps. But it was a minor color in the manicure, and probably the bright, orangey red used in the 12 would have been a better choice. It does pop the best, and we’d be most inclined to buy it.
We will never understand how companies can keep making such dumb choices. Companies are made up of a lot of very smart people, and you would think at least one person would say, “Hey guys, we should probably try to be pretty sensitive about creating slavery-inspired nail art.”
Personally, we’d have been most likely to just ditch the whole “Best Picture Nominees as Manicures” idea the moment we realized it would require someone to create 12 Years a Slave-inspired nail art. The idea is just that bad. We love our Frozen and American Hustle beauty tutorials, but you will not see us running a 12 Years a Slave inspired eye shadow lesson any time soon.