It’s Friday afternoon in Los Angeles, during the brief lull between the Golden Globes and the Critics Choice Awards, and Jenny Slate is detailing her red carpet preparations. “Right now, I’m eating an everything bagel in my car. Super glamorous!” the actor says by phone, as an electronic trill announces that she’s shifted into park.
A facial with Natura Bissé notwithstanding (“A gigantic luxury—I’m very happy about that”), this is not the moment for the laid-back pampering one might expect for a woman tied to two celebrated movies. Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, a Critics Choice nominee for best animated film, is the product of her decade-long collaboration with co-creator Dean Fleischer Camp, with Slate voicing the winsome one-inch-tall protagonist. She also turns up in awards-season darling Everything Everywhere All at Once, playing an athleisure-clad regular at the laundromat. Maybe, in an alternate reality, Slate is sipping kombucha after yoga and a lymphatic massage. “But right now, I am the mother of a two-year-old who has jet lag,” she says, recalling daughter Ida’s 4 a.m. request for yogurt following the Globes. “It feels like I’m just folding the awards into my life,” she says. A master of her multiverse: “It definitely does all fit.”
Slate has a soft spot for the Critics Choice Awards. In 2015, she took home the event’s prize for best actress in a comedy, for her role in the oops-pregnancy movie Obvious Child; five years later, her debut comedy special, Stage Fright, earned a nomination as well. “It’s the actual critics who have watched everything, who write in depth about all of these projects, and it is immensely important to be honored by them,” says Slate, who earmarked a dress by Olivier Theyskens for this weekend’s ceremony. It’s one of the designer’s couture-level exercises in sustainability, composed entirely of fabric swatches—in this case, gold and metallic olive and snippets of magenta—that he has accumulated over the years. “I love a turtleneck, always have, and while it’s very tight on the body, it also still somehow shows restraint,” she says. “To me, it feels like maybe my most powerful look yet.”
The team getting Slate ready on Sunday evening serve as longtime confidants: makeup artist Kirin Bhatty and hairstylist Nikki Providence above the neck, stylist Monty Jackson below. “He’s seen me very naked one million times,” Slate says with a laugh. “He really works not just with my figure and what I think is stylish, but also with my emotions.” It’s a cherished quality, given that the stakes of the occasion are higher than another fancy night out. “When you’re [dressing for] your own birthday party, you don’t really think about whether the entire internet is going to tell you that you looked either very good or very bad or somewhere in between.”