Sunday night was Hollywood’s annual prom night, where nominees, presenters, and Tinseltown bigwigs paraded the red carpet in their very finest. The Oscars take red carpet fashion to a loftier place, where haute couture is not only seen but expected. This year’s ceremony saw a preponderance of white, black, and red gowns, more often than not rendered in simple, chic silhouettes. The carpet was host to some high highs, style wise, and one or two oddballs (what the heck was going on with Angelina Jolie’s leg?). Here, some of the best looks of the night!
1. Gwyneth Paltrow:
Love her or hate her, Miss Paltrow really raised the bar on the red carpet. Her clean, simple, stark white Tom Ford gown, accessorized brilliantly with one cuff and a minimalist cape, was unusual and classic at the same time. With clean hair and makeup, Gwyneth was a minimalist vision. The cape worn over the gown during the pre-show has received some criticism for being so out-of-the-box, but this was no Jennifer Hudson snakeskin bolero situation–this was high elegance.
2. Emma Stone:
The charming, hilarious redhead we all know and love from Superbad, Easy A, and The Help dazzled in a raspberry-colored stunner by Giambattista Valli. A simple column accented by a voluminous, impossibly fluffy bow at the neck set off Stone’s Titian coloring and moved beautifully with every step, including the goofy little dance she performed onstage while presenting alongside Ben Stiller. Stone paired the gown with a small jeweled box clutch, pared down hair, and low-key jewelry, letting the dress shine.
3. Jessica Chastain:
Known for being inconsistent with her choices on the red carpet, the Help actress proved her style chops in a black-and-gold number by Alexander McQueen with a nipped-waist and full, dramatic skirt. Chastain’s golden red hair was complemented by the gold in the dress, styled in a soft half-up do (a far cry from the stiff blonde wig she wore in The Help). A real red-carpet turnaround.
4. Stacy Keibler:
The actress, model, and former pro-wrestler had the attention and envy of everyone watching this year’s ceremony. Gliding atop the red carpet on the arm of George Clooney, nominated for his role in The Descendants, Keibler wore an absolutely stunning gown that walked the Marchesa runway just a few weeks ago. Sculptural and yet fluid, the metallic gold column flowed effortlessly over her body in a way that only a great gown can. Keibler was the embodiment of glamour and elegance in this creation. Expertly styled with subtle gold jewelry and soft hair, Keibler wore with a supreme confidence that truly made the dress alive.
5. Viola Davis:
The Best Actress nominee, clad in a brilliant green gown by Vera Wang and sporting a gorgeous short haircut, stunned red carpet spectators. While there were a few pops of color dotting the runway (Emma Stone, Natalie Portman), the overall palette was dominated by white, black, and navy. Davis’s gorgeous emerald certainly popped among this mostly homogeneous background. This was Viola’s night, and she wanted everyone to know it.
6. Octavia Spencer:
This Best Supporting Actress winner proved that simple elegance is never boring. In a sleek, glimmering column of opalescent white by Tadashi Shoji with a simple rounded neckline and opulent beading, Spencer projected beauty and elegance from every angle. And come on, how adorable was it when she tearfully said “I’m freaking out!” atop the winner’s podium?
7. Rooney Mara:
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo star has become a real red carpet presence in the last few months, turning out look after head turning look. Mara tends to favor architectural, stark silhouettes in one color, set off by her precise raven-dark bob and angular features. Mara’s Oscar gown was no different–a pearly white Givenchy creation that was part straight-jacket, part couture, worn with red lips and little else. Though certainly not wearing the most accessible gown of the evening, Mara was chic, head-turning, and mega-stylish.