It was the night all red carpet junkies (oh yeah, and movie lovers) have been waiting for … Oscar night! Hollywood doesn’t get much glitzier than this, or the gowns more glamorous. As the final event in our awards season style pool, the stakes for our contenders were high. Some of them shined, some sparkled, some … were there too (I’m looking at you, Nicole!). Let’s take a look, shall we?

I called it! Natalie Portman wore Rodarte – a vibrant plum-coloured dress that was figure-flattering (finally) and absolutely gorgeous on her. This was one of my favourite colours on the red carpet last night. I also loved those stunning drop earrings and the “old Hollywood” side-swept hair. And, lest I forget – congrats on the Oscar win!

Natalie also had a strong showing at the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday. Her Givenchy empire waist dress was visually arresting but pretty, and most importantly (again) flattering. Loved the bright yellow belt and delicate lace detailing around the neckline.
Nicole Kidman‘s Oscar pick did not thrill me, although I liked the architectural detail around the waist and delicate embroidery. However, the Dior dress seemed a little ill-fitting and loose in places, which unfortunately made Nicole look like she wrapped herself in an expensive bed-sheet. While I normally love red shoes, I question the pairing here with this particular dress.

Nicole’s dress at the Independent Spirit Awards was a bit of a bore, even though it heavily featured red lace. (not exactly a staid choice). It was a L’wren Scott design, and while certainly a nice silhouette, it was also one we’ve come to expect from Nicole on the red carpet. Yawn!

On the other hand, at the Oscars, Amy Adams rocked a sparkly dark blue L’wren Scott gown with heart-stopping emerald and diamond Cartier jewelry ($1.35 million worth!). She looked fantastic and I love the pop of green on the cuff bracelet – it complements the dress without competing with it – though I’m ambivalent about the necklace (and wish she’d gone with emerald earrings instead, given the neckline of the dress).
Meanwhile, Anne Hathaway‘s red carpet look was something of a let-down for me. The tomato-red shade is not my personal favourite (though I loved it  on Sandra Bullock), and think that I would have loved the dress more had it been a more intense ruby-red instead. Head-on and from the back, the  Valentino Couture dress looked nice, but from certain side angles, the back pouf looked a little bit like a satiny tumor. Overall, I was not bowled over by this dress, although I did like some of Anne’s telecast picks – especially the sharp tuxedo she wore for her (solo) musical number (and those stunning, studded Brian Atwood heels).

Mila Kunis, in my opinion, just KILLED it last night! Her lavender Elie Saab was absolutely stunning, and she was simply glowing. Loved the soft up-do, the make-up, everything. My favourite look of the night!!

Michelle Williams’s Chanel Haute Couture dress was, for me, her best pick of this awards season, but I don’t think it was a particularly outstanding gown on this Oscar red carpet. Certainly not on par with her memorable mustard yellow Vera Wang from a few years ago. I wish Michelle had taken a colour risk again, but there is no denying that she looked classically stylish and lovely.

Best of the Night

Here are some of my picks for best-dressed on the Oscar red carpet:

Next to Mila Kunis, my other favourite look was sported by none other than the fabulous Dame Helen Mirren. I hate to harp on the age thing, because it’s such a meaningless thing in the scheme of things (and given her accomplishments), BUT … this woman is in her 60s. Let that sink in. She looks incredible, period.

Hailee Steinfeld in Marchesa also looked beautiful. I loved the delicate, sheer overlay, and I think the length of the dress was age-appropriate. While this is certainly a silhouette we’ve seen plenty of times before, there is no denying that it’s a very, very pretty dress.

Not surprisingly, the night’s biggest risk-taker was Cate Blanchett in Givenchy. I’m pretty sure that only the divine Cate could pull off such a conceptual gown, and still rule the red carpet effortlessly. The look, from head (and hair) to toe, was flawless.
Gwyneth Paltrow looked very Oscar-appropriate in a liquid gold Calvin Klein. I was not a fan of the  washed-out make-up, but I did appreciate the overall vibe she was working last night.

The ombre effect on the feathered train of Hilary Swank‘s Gucci Premiere dress took her look from merely “nice” (and not particularly original) to “stunning” (and unexpected).

As always on the red carpet, there were a number of dresses that, while no disasters, were something of a disappointment for me. Scarlett Johansson‘s Dolce and Gabbana gown was one of them. The plum colour seemed faded on the red carpet, and though I love lace, this particular pattern struck me as old-fashioned. The scooped-out back reminded me of a popular bridal silhouette. I thought this was an odd  (and rather dowdy) choice for Scarlett.

Another dress that missed the mark, as far as I’m concerned, was Halle Berry‘s sparkly Marchesa. It’s hard to say that Hell can ever look terrible, but the random bits of tulle clinging to this dress made it look like she walked by a cotton-candy machine in the middle of a wind-storm.

Worst of the Night

Let’s admit it; sometimes, the worst can be the most fun – especially when it’s really bad. Apart from Christian Bale‘s beard, there were no major trainwrecks on the Oscar red carpet, but there were a number of dresses that I heartily disliked. Ironically for a vintage ’50s piece, Marisa Tomei‘s gown had an “80s goth prom” vibe to me. This is one occasion when I could have done without the (funereal) tulle.

Penelope Cruz looked, as always, incredible, but her L’wren Scott dress screamed “Ice Capades” to me – not quite on par with some of Penelope’s past red carpet show-stoppers.

Melissa Leo wore a Marc Bouwer dress which,  on TV, unfortunately reminded me of a ’70s mosaic-topped table that my grandma used to have. The dress looked stiff and rather ill-fitting, a poor choice to follow up Melissa’s lovely Golden Globes gown. But, hey, she got her Oscar!

Oscar Parties: Best and worst

Great style must run in the Roberts family, because Julia’s niece Emma looked spectacular in a silver Jenny Packham dress at Elton John’s annual Oscar party. It’s a grown-up gown, but Emma pulls it off beautifully.

Meanwhile, Claire Danes must have decided to forgo style for comfort at the same event, showing up in a bathrobe. A very expensive, Chanel bathrobe but, still. 

I couldn’t not mention the Julien MacDonald dress worn by Heidi Klum to the Elton John bash. It goes without saying that Heidi is a beautiful woman … but sadly, in this dress, one dressed up like a disco ball.

Over at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, the usually lovely Emma Stone wore a tragic Chanel “mullet” gown (cocktail dress in the front, folded towel in the back). Her look was not helped by the straggly-looking hair. Ooof!

Your turn – what did you think of this year’s Oscars’ fashions?

4 Comments on The awards season style pool: OSCARS!!!

  1. I’ve been sadly disappointed by the whole season. When the best-dressed star on the Oscar’s red carpet is a 14-year old, the stylists of Hollywood have some explaining to do.

  2. I liked Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. I loved all of Anne Hathaway’s looks. I thought Amy Adams’ necklace was too much with her dress and would have preferred earrings. Scarlett Johansson should have brushed her hair. I adore and want Hailee Steinfeld’s dress. I liked Nicole Kidman’s red shoes – I thought they were fun. I did NOT like Gwyneth Paltrow’s look – on TV she looked orange in her dress – it is less noticeable in pictures.

    Cate Blanchett took a risk, and while I don’t entirely love her choice, I commend her for picking something different. I think maybe the problem with the red carpet is that people are so afraid of ending up on the worst dressed list that they don’t want to try and wear something out of the norm.

  3. @ Cat – I agree, it was an underwhelming red carpet overall. And it’s probably because, as Laura said, people are afraid of taking risks these days. It’s not like there aren’t gorgeous dresses pushed out on the runways constantly. Or maybe Hollywood needs some new stylists.

    With that said, here are my rankings for the Oscars:

    Mila Kunis +5
    Natalie Portman +3 (+1 bonus for Independent Spirit awards)
    Amy Adams +3
    Michelle Williams +2
    Anne Hathaway +2
    Nicole Kidman 0

    I’ll post the overall rankings soon, though I have a feeling that Mila is going to come out on top.

  4. Okay, here goes:

    Natalie Portman: 11 points over 4 events
    Nicole Kidman: 11 points over 4 events
    Amy Adams: 17 points over 5 events
    Anne Hathaway: 4 points over 2 events
    Mila Kunis: 15 points over 3 events
    Michelle Williams: 2 points over 3 events (sad face)

    Averaging it all out, for fairness’ sake, here are the final rankings in order:

    Mila Kunis (5)
    Amy Adams (3.4)
    Natalie Portman (2.75) tie
    Nicole Kidman (2.75) tie
    Anne Hathaway (2)
    Michelle Williams (<1)