The keyword for Oscar fashion on the red carpet Sunday night was “strapless” — most actresses went without sleeves. Those that wore colors chose gowns that were either muted, or outrageously bold, with bright shades of red or green. Others chose stark white, like Gwyneth Paltrow. There were few black gowns to be seen, and those that did wore sequins, or daring styles, like Angelina Jolie, who sported an Atelier Versace gown with a thigh-high slit. Angelina worked every inch of her dress as she took to the stage to present the award for Best Adapted Screenplay – pausing for several seconds to display her leg to the audience. “Angie’s Right Leg” quickly became a twitter trend. Two of the winners of the that award, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash of “The Descendants,” jumped on the opportunity to mimic the provocative pose as they accepted the Oscar.
Hair-wise, it was anything goes. Many actresses went au naturel with their hair down, like Jessica Chastain and Kristen Wiig. Others went with the off-side ponytail, or hair over one shoulder, like Maya Rudolph, George Clooney’s girlfriend Stacey Keibler and Emma Stone. Still others went short and sassy, like Viola Davis who wore her hair reddish, curly and close-cropped — and looked fabulous.
Here’s a rundown of who wore what:
Kristin Wiig sported a Jay Mendel nude-colored dress with tissue layers and Neil Lane jewels.
Michelle Williams wowed in a coral Louis Vuitton strapless number with ruffled bodice and very little jewelry
Jessica Chastain wore an Alexander McQueen gown in black with gold brocade all the way down the front — many felt it was the most ravishing gown of the evening. The $2 million in Harry Winston jewels didn’t hurt either.
Tina Fey went bare shouldered with traditional deep purple satin Carolina Herrara, made exclusively for her. Platinum Bulgari earrings completed the look.
Jennifer Lopez wore a plunging silver cut-out gown with Lorraine Schwartz earrings, which looked like they were five to ten carats each.
Natalie Portman was another actress who chose a sleeveless gown, in a bold red. The dress was full cut and she wore a diamond necklace and drop diamond earrings.
Gwyneth Paltrow looked stunning and chic in an all-white Tom Ford fitted gown with a cape on her shoulders. Her hair was upswept; she wore a wide diamond cuff on her wrist and a huge diamond ring, but no earrings. Truly a breathtaking look.
Sandra Bullock wore a Marchesa gown that seemed too much of a dress for her with a white top and black bottom with a train. The waist was brocade and hung loosely, rather than fitting snugly. It was elegant but did nothing to define her figure.
Penelope Cruz was one of the few in blue — a smoke-blue Giorgio Armani with a fitted bodice and long flowing train.
Cameron Diaz looked wonderful in an off-white skin-tight strapless gown with ruching and a fishtail bottom. Her hair was blunt cut, short and platinum.
The Artist’s Berenice Bejo wore an Elie Saab mint-colored gown; her hair was short and red.
Maya Rudolph wore a plum-colored Johanna Jonson dress with Neil Lane jewels; her hair cascaded over one shoulder.
Viola Davis looked strong and sexy in a strapless, custom Vera Wang emerald green corseted gown with a floral crystal applique and a chiffon pleated skirt. Viola, as expected, strolled the red carpet without her wig. The actress had commented at a pre-Oscar dinner that her husband Julius Tennon encouraged her to take it off for the Academy Awards, saying ”If you want to wear it for your career, that’s fine, but in your life wear your hair. Step into who you are! It’s a powerful statement.” On the red carpet Viola thanked Wang for her emerald dress and her mother for styling her natural hair.
Rooney Mara stunned in white Givenchy with thick straps and plunging round neckline, fitted bodice and a train made of illet layers. In stark contrast, her black hair was cut with severe heavy bangs straight across her forehead.
Meryl Streep glammed it up with a gold lame gown and upswept hair.
Emma Stone stood out in a sleeveless fire-engine red Jean Baptista Valdi halter dress with a huge red bow tied at the neck. It was nearly as big as her head.
Young Descendents star Shailene Woodley was all covered up in a long-sleeved cream Valentino Haute Couture gown with circular cutouts in the bodice and a wide band at the waist — she looked like a multi-tiered, skinny wedding cake.
Two curvy actresses sported very different looks: Melissa McCarthy wore a blush-colored empire-waisted Marino Rimaldi dress with a jeweled belt and jeweled collar and three-quarter length sleeves, but some thought it should have been more form-fitting. By contrast, Octavia Spencer sported a beaded, shirred white Tadaschi Soshi gown that hugged and accentuated her curves perfectly.
And the men…
George Clooney was dapper as always in a classic Armani tux. His girlfriend Stacey Kiebler was wearing an off-the-shoulder gold column draped gown by Marchesa with huge Lorraine Schwartz earrings.
Brad Pitt rocked a traditional tux and bow-tie but he’s still sporting long, straggly hair.
Host Billy Crystal went with a white vest and tux with tails!
Jonah Hill wore a black shirt and tie with his black tux, as did as did Christian Bale.