First off, I just have to say that the Oscars were epic even if it was only because Kathryn Bigelow OWNED James Cameron (aka her ex-hubby) and Avatar in the best example of post-breakup revenge EVER. And I just really dislike Avatar, so that's another plus. As was seeing Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin act like an old married couple.
As for the outfits, I feel like a lot of people weren't there last night. Anne Hathaway? Marion Cotillard? Did I just not see you? There wasn't a whole lot of risk-taking, but there was a lot of safely pretty. Let's discuss.
Zoe Saldana in Givenchy Haute Couture, Amanda Seyfried in Armani Prive, Zoe Kravitz: I remember blogging about Zoe Saldana's dress about a month ago and thinking that SOMEONE needed to wear it to the Oscars. It's a lot of look, but she pulls it off effortlessly. First, I'm so glad someone wore a fun, festive purple instead of off-white or grey or black, and second off, I love that it's somewhat understated from the hips up, and then there's this exuberant explosion of multi-tonal ruffles. It was breathtaking as she walked across the stage, and it's young and fun. Sometimes those calculated risks pay off. Amanda Seyfried got the big girl version of J. Lo's dress. It's a little on the simple side, but she looks flawless, it escapes being bridal from combining the architecture in the bodice and the voluminous skirt, and the statement cuff gives it a little extra personality. She looks radiant and chic (and did I mention that she's amazing on Big Love?). I have to be honest, I don't really understand why Zoe Kravitz is at the Oscars, but I really like her dress. It's a refreshing, on-trend take on the Old Hollywood look, with an adorable bow in the back, and it fits her perfectly.
Elizabeth Banks in Versace, Carey Mulligan in Prada, Sandra Bullock in Marchesa: Elizabeth Banks is so pretty! I mean, she could wear a sack and still look great, but I think this Versace dress is a pretty good choice too. I like that the grey has a hint of blue to it, which works really nicely with her fair coloring, and the contrast between the architectural lines of the bodice and the softly deconstructed skirt is perfect. She looks glamourous and Oscar-appropriate, but still like she's having fun. So last night I decided that I seriously have to see An Education because Carey Mulligan looks beyond adorable in it. I have less positive feelings about her new haircut than I do about her dress, but I absolutely love her Prada gown. This is the young way to do a black gown (ahem, Kristen Stewart). The embellishment is subtle, but adds a ton of visual interest and richness to all that black, and the cut is both very classic, with the sweetheart neckline and a-line skirt, and very on-trend with the asymmetrical hemline. I wish she'd gone for a basic pump to keep all the focus on the dress, but overall it's still a winner. Speaking of winner, Sandra Bullock dressed like an Oscar and she got one. Haha. Ok. I think I like this dress more because it's on her, and she was so darn adorable in The Proposal, than I do because I actually like the dress, but it really does work, and it looked great on stage, the way it caught all the lights. What I love the most though, is her hair. It's so shiny! And the side part with that tiny Veronica Lake curl at the bottom--genius.
Sigourney Weaver in Lanvin, Maggie Gyllenhaal in Dries Van Noten, Cameron Diaz in Oscar de la Renta: Sigourney Weaver was in Laser Cats 5, so she has my undying respect. This Lanvin number hugs her in all the right places, falls perfectly from the waist, and I love that the red hue makes a statement, so the cut is simple and classic. The sparkles at the shoulder dress it up and give it a little extra spunk. Maggie Gyllenhaal is another one of those girls who makes very bold red carpet choices that usually end up crashing and burning or being totally fantastic. I'm inclined to think that this Dries Van Noten is one of the later. It fits her, the cut is very streamlined and clean and lets the bold print speak for itself, and she kept the hair/makeup and accessorizing to a minimum to let the dress shine. It's probably not to everyone's taste, but I think she pulls it off well. I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of Cameron Diaz in general, but Team Rachel Zoe did an amazing job picking this Oscar de la Renta (I definitely remember Brad twittering about this dress two weeks ago, loves him). It's very much a fairytale princess dress, but not too sweet or little girl-ish. The tone-on-tone nature of the heavy embellishment keeps all the sparkle from being too overwhelming, as does the simple cut, and the slightly retro hair and makeup are such a perfect finishing touch. She really does look flawless--it's one of my favorite looks of the night.
Helen Mirren in Badgley Mischka, Rachel McAdams in Elie Saab Couture, Meryl Streep in Chris March: I'm calling Helen Mirren Dame Helen Mirren from now on. She deserves it. This woman is the definition of class and aging gracefully (well, her and Meryl Streep, but still). This dress is reserved, but flattering, subdued, but still sparkly, and the sheer sleeves are genius. They add extra coverage without that 'mother of the bride' feeling that a square neckline and long sleeves often gives. I know Rachel's dress was really polarizing, but I absolutely loved it. This wasn't the best angle for it, and it's still gorgeous. The bodice fits her perfectly (especially from the side), the cut is simple and ethereal, and the washed out floral print adds just a touch of grown-up whimsy. Who doesn't want to spin around in that big of a skirt? Really? And in another example of her unfading classiness, Meryl Streep in Chris March (yes, the hair guy from Project Runway, which makes this a million times better). She looks chic, age appropriate, and powerful, but most of all, really comfortable in her own skin.
Tina Fey in Michael Kors, Vera Farmiga in Marchesa, Jennifer Lopez in Armani Prive: First of all, I love Tina Fey! And I love this dress! Don't hate me. It's Old Hollywood, it's glam, it's black but not boring, and all that. But something about the way it fits her is off. The skirt is doing awkward things to her hips. I don't know, maybe I'm losing my mind (I had a midterm this morning, so that is entirely plausible), but what I really dislike is the hair. It's a lot like Kate Winslet's hair at the Oscars last year, with that overly hair-sprayed, helmeted shape, and it just looks so artificial and old. Wouldn't this be much nicer with some flowing waves? I give Vera Farmiga so many props for having the guts to wear this Marchesa. It is not an easy dress to pull off, and on anyone else it would have ended up in the worst-dressed section. That thing has enough ruffles for a Baroque bedspread, and it's still not wearing her. That said, it's a lot of look, and it kind of looks like a sea anemone. Maybe a little less ruffle in the skirt? Or a belt to anchor it? Something. So basically, J. Lo's dress is a giant caricature of her curves. Look at it. It's ridiculous. It's like the dress is making fun of her butt by exploding on the other side, and it also somehow manages to look like an ocean creature. I also think it's hilarious that this dress, like Amanda Seyfried's, is by Armani Prive, and that they're kinda really similar. Can't you see J. Lo hunting Amanda down on the red carpet and trying to destroy her train for stealing her look? Or something like that, but way less soap opera-ish.
Penelope Cruz in Donna Karan, Miley Cyrus in Jenny Peckham, Anna Kendrick in Elie Saab: So. Penelope Cruz. As an actress, I love her. In this dress, not so much. Whether or not she's pregnant, it is really flattering in the stomach region. However, it also kind of looks like she was rolling around in some really nice sheets, realized she was late for the Oscars, safety-pinned herself together and ran out the door. It's like a less successful version of this Keira Knightley dress, and honestly, she can do better (and did, last year). But she still has Miley Cyrus beat by a mile. From the waist down, I like it. It's soft and sweet and inoffensive. But I feel like the designer ran out of time and just designed a skirt, and the bodice is the top of Miley's Spanx bustier. It's almost as if she stops slouching there's going to be a wardrobe malfunction, and while it's interesting that the dress takes Miley's bad posture into mind, I don't think it's a good thing. I know everyone loved Anna Kendrick's dress, and I agree, it is very lovely. The cut is gorgeous, with just the right amount of structure for all that draping, but the color...if I squint she looks naked. If she was a tad darker or the dress was a little deeper or any combination of the two, I'd love it, but as is I keep wondering if she's wearing clothes.
Diane Kruger in Chanel Haute Couture, Sarah Jessica Parker in Chanel Haute Couture, Kristen Stewart in Monique Lhuillier: I think using bad to describe Diane Kruger's wardrobe choices is relative. She's obviously gorgeous, and has really adventurous taste, which I appreciate. However. The middle of her dress is molting. I could do with the high-neck and 3 sections thing, but it's like her stomach is covered in mangy chicken feathers. SJP had another unfortunate Chanel Haute Couture dress. I don't really understand what's going on with the choker and the totally ill-fitting bodice, or the completely shapeless body, or the bunny tail applique in the back (trust me, it's their). This seems more Carrie Bradshaw on a bad day than SJP to me. Now, I do think Kristen Stewart looks better than usual and I actually like her hair here. That said, I don't like this dress on her at all. Either the bodice doesn't fit or it's just the slouching, and that's a lot of heavy, navy blue ruching. Maybe if there was some sort of crystal embellishment at the waist or if it was in a different color, but it just feels so heavy on her. On someone like Helen Mirren or Meryl Streep I'd love it, but on Kristen it feels like she's going to a really posh funeral
Robert Downey Jr, Charlize Theron in Christian Dior, Deborah Ann Woll: Well. Robert Downey Jr. I think we need to discuss the matching glasses and bow tie, especially since they are both BLUE. Really, sir? Really? And then the sneakers? You aren't seeing Avatar in 3-d. Speaking of 3-d, Charlize Theron has 3-d roses on her boobs. That was an interesting choice. It's alternately very Botticelli's Venus and like her dress is molesting her, and then there's all the ill-fitting satin. For the record, Deborah Ann Woll is GORGEOUS on True Blood. Like really, really gorgeous and kind of amazing. And yet, this dress...oof. I wish she'd put on some makeup and taken her hair down, and down another dress entirely. The dingy grey washes her out, the bodice doesn't fit, the construction of the skirt gives her a stomach she doesn't have, and the skirt looks sheer and has a ridiculously high slit. Bad. Just bad.
All images except Zoe Saldana, Deborah Ann Woll, Charlize Theron, Penelope Cruz, and J. Lo from jezebel.com, all other images from nymag.com.