The speculation as to what the stars will wear Oscar night often surpasses talk about who will win — at least in some circles. While we can't know for sure who will win on the big night (despite some strong hunches), we already know what some of the nominees and presenters will be wearing.
French actress Juliette Binoche, a Best Actress nominee for Chocolat, will stay true to her country with a dress by designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, who also dressed her for this year's Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Roberts, Crowe Embrace Armani
Best Actress frontrunner Julia Roberts, Gladiator Russell Crowe, and Best Supporting Actor nominee Benicio Del Toro all wore Armani at the Golden Globes this year, and Crowe told Fashion Wire Daily that the Italian designer is dressing him again for the Oscars.
At an Armani benefit concert in Rome last month, the burly Best Actor nominee praised the designer. "His clothes fit men, they're not for the boys. He makes clothes that are classic and for men with deep voices," the he-man star told journalists at the February concert, with (we think) tongue in cheek.
Nothing Like Wearing a Good Suit … or Dressing in Your Car
Another fan of Armani's menswear is singer Marc Anthony, who sported a "badass" gray three-button suit by the designer to perform at the Tribute to Style benefit in Santa Monica, Calif., last weekend. "I don't worry about the badass suit. I let Giorgio Armani worry about the badass suit. I just put it on," he said. "I'm not really into that stuff, but there's nothing like wearing a good suit. When you're in a good suit, the suit walks you, you understand?"
Traffic star Catherine Zeta-Jones, who will present at Sunday's Oscars, showed up at the tribute in a Christian LaCroix dress, but she likely won't be repeating her unorthodox dressing routine this weekend. "I came from a photo shoot with Herb Ritts today," admitted the actress, "so I had to put this on in the car."
Linney, Harden Count on Stylists
First-time nominees Laura Linney and Marcia Gay Harden admitted at the Oscar nominee lunch that they're working with stylists to look their best on the big night. Whatever Linney wears, its cost is sure to exceed the $10,000 salary she was paid for the indie You Can Count on Me.
Harden, who's being dressed by stylist-to-the-stars Jessica Paster, didn't know what she was wearing yet, but admitted, "I love elegance and glamour — how can you go wrong with that?"
Actors Become ‘Walking Billboards’
At the designer- and star-packed Tribute to Style benefit, celebs talked about — what else — the escalating emphasis on fashion at the Oscars.
As a past Oscar nominee, Jennifer Tilly recalls the madness leading up to the red carpet walk. "Basically it's just an opportunity to get a lot of free stuff: free bras, free shoes, free pedicures, free makeup lessons … anything you want," she told Mr. Showbiz. "This year, I think I'm going to wear something I have in my closet because it's exhausting to be so obligated to so many people. Because if it's free … you have to say, 'My shoes are …' and 'My dress is …' and 'My jewelry is …,' so you're like a walking billboard."
Actress Mimi Rogers agrees: "The free stuff, that's always good. I think [looking your best] is most important for the nominees that are going. It's a huge night, let's face it, so you want everything to be perfect. If you're just going to the parties, it's fun to dress up, but there's not quite so much ritual involved."
American Beauty star Thora Birch, who attended last year's ceremony, says, "It's a ritual, all right; the length it takes to prepare for the Oscars is extending every year. Like, two weeks before the Oscars, all the dresses are gone already. It's like, 'Hello, people! We've got two weeks!' I think there's a little more frenzy than the show is due, but you know what? It's fun."
Sela Ward, who's a regular at awards shows thanks to her hit show, Once and Again, says, "Everyone's so obsessed with fashion these days, it's an ordeal to just go out, I'll tell you. It's a lot of work getting dressed to go to these things. But it's fun and it's an exciting time around the Oscars; there's so many events happening, and it's part of the old Hollywood that's gone."
Concentrate on Acting, Not the Clothes
Author Jackie Collins says, "I think it's so hilarious that the whole Oscars has become like a fashion show; they should be concentrating on their acting and not on their clothes. And all these woman are so thin that it's like they turn sideways and you don't see them anymore. I think it's a very bad example for all the girls across America. I think they should be able to see the acting performances and not the clothes. It's not a fashion show, but it's turned into that, and that's kind of a shame."
Model Cindy Crawford, who wore a black lacy Roberto Cavalli dress to the tribute benefit, didn't agree that there's too much fashion in Hollywood, lamenting, "Los Angeles is not the fashion capital. New York is."