Let’s be honest — the best reason to watch the Oscars is for the clothes.
Sure, sometimes the host cracks some good jokes and the thank-you speeches can be inspiring (Sandra Bullock for Best Actress last year? I didn’t even want her to win but found myself fighting back tears). But frankly, the show is long. Most of the awards are for things we don’t understand (what’s the difference between sound editing and sound mixing?). Everyone thanks way too many people. And the tributes and performances aren’t that exciting.
Oh, but watching the red carpet arrivals. Now there’s my drama, there’s my entertainment.
Even though the Oscars tends to showcase more conservative fashion tastes, the beauty of the gowns is undeniable. And it’s always interesting to see who made what choices — especially those who are expected to win. No one will ever forget Julia Roberts’ vintage Valentino dress, because she looked stunning and we all got a great, long view of the dress when she accepted her award. Everyone wants to look “classic” and “timeless,” which totally understandable, but that’s why I love it when celebrities take a little bit of risk.
Cate Blanchett in Givenchy Spring 2011 Couture
By far my favorite Oscars gown was Cate Blanchett in Givenchy Couture. In fact, I was hoping someone would wear this dress! The unexpected pop of color, the intricate beading, the cross-back — it’s divine and Cate wears it so well. She has the right amount of attitude and grace to pull of this feminine but structured dress, and her natural makeup and elegant hair add just the right simple touch to let the dress really shine. The understated beauty of this dress is overwhelming.
Mila Kunis in Elie Saab Spring 2011 Couture
This Elie Saab dress is so beautiful. The back-and-forth of the delicate lace and the goddess draping make it severely sexy, but the lilac color keeps it regal. Mila Kunis has been hitting home runs lately on the red carpet, but she needs a little more oomph and confidence to really carry these designer gowns. A couple more awards shows and I’m sure she’ll have it down.
Michelle Williams in Chanel Couture
I love Michelle Williams because she doesn’t do your typical Oscars dress. And she just emanates class. She’s really been liking the sleeved options lately but that doesn’t take away from how breath-taking this Chanel Haute Couture dress is. Even though Natalie Portman was the favorite to win Best Actress (and did indeed take the award home), think about how great Michelle would’ve looked holding the golden man in her hands, giving her thank-you speech, in this dress.
Reese Witherspoon in Armani Privé
I had to throw this in because 1) who doesn’t love Reese Witherspoon? 2) this dress reminds me so much of the aforementioned Julia Roberts vintage Valentino and 3) it also reminds me of Angelina Jolie at the 2009 Oscars because of the green earrings — and let’s face it, that’s a pretty unbeatable combination. This dress is timeless and is a look Reese will be able to look back on for years and think, “Man, I really looked good.”
Favorite Risk Taker
Scarlett Johansson in Dolce and Gabbana
Scarlett Johansson’s dress was different but as a presenter it’s just the right amount of fun and pretty. Newly single after a split from husband Ryan Reynolds, Scarlett’s fuchsia lace frock is playful and goes great with her shorter ‘do.
All That Glitters…
Halle Berry in Marchesa, Gwyneth Paltrow in Calvin Klein, Mandy Moore in Monique Lhuillier and Hilary Swank in Gucci Premiere
I am the ultimate girl when it comes to anything shiny and sparkly. But for some reason, I was underwhelmed by the shimmery dresses on the Oscars red carpet — and this year, there were a lot! All four of these dresses are beautiful but none of them really stand out to me.
Halle Berry’s dress, recognizably Marchesa with the romantic beading and draped tulle, is a vision but Halle’s short hair and heavy peep-toe pumps just seem too strong for such an effervescent dress. Gwyneth’s Calvin Klein is also a stunner but she looks the way she normally does at any event, just with a shinier dress. I would’ve liked to see her wear something more playful or change up her sleek hair. And Mandy Moore is such a pretty girl but the Monique Lhuillier she wore was a touch too close to her skin tone and her center-parted updo made her look years older than the youthful woman she is. Finally, Hilary Swank’s Gucci — a dress I would KILL to wear — was undeniably gorgeous but would have been more appropriate on a nominee, and I would’ve enjoyed seeing Hilary in a something more soft and draped, to give her a touch of sophisticated femininity.
Interestingly, none of the women (as far as I could tell) who wore glittery gowns took home the gold, even the ones who were nominated (like Hailee Steinfeld and Michelle Williams).
Red on Red
Anne Hathaway in Vintage Valentino Couture, Jennifer Lawrence in Calvin Klein Collection, Penelope Cruz in L'Wren Scott and Sandra Bullock in Vera Wang
Another trend on this year’s red carpet was the color itself. Red is a classic hue and provides a nice pop, but Jennifer Lawrence in Calvin Klein Collection (look at that killer bod and voluminous hair) was the only one who really wowed me. The simplicity of her dress was a departure from typical Oscars fashion and really made her stand out.
Otherwise… Anne Hathaway’s Valentino wasn’t her best look of the night (more on her later) and Sandra Bullock’s Vera Wang was pretty but seemed severe with her hair pulled back the way it was. Penelope Cruz looked gorgeous as usual, in a dress very different than what she typically wears to the Oscars — she prefers full-skirted, dramatic princess gowns — but it was an appropriate choice since she was accompanying beau Javier Bardem who was nominated for Best Actor.
And… Anne Hathaway’s One-Woman Fashion Show
Anne Hathaway in Tom Ford, Armani Prive, Oscar de la Renta, Vivienne Westwood, Givenchy and Valentino
I was definitely excited when I found out Anne Hathaway was hosting the Oscars because I knew Rachel Zoe would pull out all the stops — and she didn’t disappoint (although Anne and James Franco as hosts did). I cannot wait to watch the gown-picking process on next season’s Rachel Zoe Project.
It’s hard to pick a favorite but the strapless Valentino she wore (while presenting, not for the red carpet arrivals) is probably the best in my opinion. It lets Anne shine through as a vibrant, young woman and fits her body perfectly. I also love the styling with her hair in the loose updo. Overall, the only dress I didn’t really enjoy was the Vivienne Westwood, but it adds to the variety of her night’s looks.