2012 Academy Awards Red Carpet, Part 1

The biggest night in film and fashion has come and gone.

Best Dressed
JESSICA CHASTAIN // gown by Alexander McQueen, shoes by Brian Atwood

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty

It was no contest for me – Jessica Chastain ruled the night in her black and gold McQueen gown. I gasped audibly when she first hit the red carpet – I loved it immediately, and I haven’t stopped loving it since. With stunning earrings, perfectly relaxed-but-formal hair and makeup, no necklace, and simple gold bracelets, this look was styled to a T.

NATALIE PORTMAN // gown by Christian Dior, purse by Charlotte Olympia

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

This gown isn’t just vintage – it’s from Christian Dior’s 1954 collection. In a dress that’s almost sixty years old, Natalie Portman looked every bit the modern starlet. The fit is perfect, the color is fantastic, and the polka dot was a bold, surprising choice for the Oscars. And the necklace? Astoundingly beautiful, and the perfect way to make the dress read a little more formal. Natalie’s barely been on the red carpet since Black Swan, but reminded us all that when she pulls out all the stops, it’s hard to remember that there’s anyone else in the room.

Honorable Mention
ELLIE KEMPER // gown by Armani Privé

Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Her bangs are a bit too long, and I wouldn’t have chosen a gold purse (too matchy), but this dress blew my mind. Ellie Kemper’s still a relative newbie on the red carpet, and women of comedy aren’t always known for bold and beautiful styles on the red carpet. But this copper, rust and gold creation was incredible, especially on Ellie’s fair skin and red hair. It’s not the Oscar that’s the statuesque gold trophy that everyone wants to take home at the end of the night – it’s officially Ellie Kemper!

MAYA RUDOLPH // gown by Johanna Johnson

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty

Infinite kudos to stylist Brad Goreski, who is responsible for Maya Rudolph churning out her best red carpet look to date. The woman has never looked this beautiful before. The eggplant color is fantastic on her skin, the fit is amazing, her body looks unstoppably gorgeous, and the shoulder and waist embellishments were lovely details. She tends to mess up the details, but for once, the hair and makeup are great and the jewelry is excellent.

JENNIFER LOPEZ // gown by Zuhair Murad

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

This might surprise you, as I tend to believe that a day on which I do not mock Jennifer Lopez is a day wasted, but this might be my favorite J.Lo look of all time. Yes, her mega-sexy dress may have caused a nip slip on live television, but don’t even try and tell me this wasn’t fantastic. Some say it’s too much for the Oscars (and they have a point, that this is much more of a Grammys dress than the Oscars) but I disagree. First of all – for J.Lo, this is tasteful and toned-down. This is J.Lo tempering herself for the Oscars. You can’t expect her to wear a classic, demure Chanel dress and call it a day. Second, it fit in beautifully with last night’s motif – perhaps because of The Artist‘s ubiquity, last night was a return to old Hollywood glamour. And J.Lo’s 1920s-movie-star-turned-21st-century-diva aesthetic was simply perfect for the proceedings. This is the first time I’ve ever seen her wearing the appropriate amount of jewelry (this bitch doesn’t go grocery shopping without fifteen karats of diamonds on her) and her hair and makeup are lovely. And while those stripes could have been awful on another woman, they hug Jennifer’s body in all the right ways.

ANGELINA JOLIE // gown by Atelier Versace, shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty

Yes, her legs are awesome, and it’s a shock to see Angelina A) look like she’s enjoying herself and B) look like she’s actually putting in the effort to look like a star. It’s still about as basic as a red carpet gown gets – a black gown with no accessories other than black peep-toe pumps doesn’t exactly rev my engines – even if she is bringing the divalicious posing back with a vengeance. Gorgeous, yes – but interesting? Surprising? Remotely intriguing? Not even close, dear readers.

OCTAVIA SPENCER // gown by Tadashi Shoji, purse by Judith Leiber, shoes by Jimmy Choo

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty

A beautiful, flattering cut, but I love Octavia in colors, so I was a little disappointed to see her in ivory and silver. The hair is also not worthy of an Oscar winner, and she’s worn Tadashi Shoji so many times this awards season that it’s become exhausting. But, safe as it may be, you can’t deny that she looks beautiful.

SHAILENE WOODLEY // gown by Valentino

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: when you’re going with a column gown, a long-sleeved gown, or any kind of classic, old-fashioned, very simple silhouette, there is one consideration that reigns supreme: FIT. You cannot pull off this kind of gown unless it fits you perfectly, and clearly, this does not fit Shailene at all. The sleeves are too loose and the gown is too long. This, paired with the fact that the gown is way too matronly for a 20-year-old to begin with, makes Shailene look like a little girl playing in her grandmother’s closet. I think the waistband is very flattering and the cut-outs on the bodice are interesting and innovative, but not much else is working here.

TINA FEY // gown by Carolina Herrera, purse by Roger Vivier, shoes by Stuart Weitzman

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

From the waist-up: Excellent. That twisted, slightly draped strapless bodice with the belted waist is a great silhouette on Tina. But once you hit the giant peplum and the world’s most unreasonably stiff skirt, things start to fall apart. Unless you’re hiding a fanny pack under there, Tina, there’s no reason for such a large peplum.

PENÉLOPE CRUZ // gown by Armani Privé

Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Congratulations on winning Prom Queen! I promise I won’t tell anyone that your dress is so wrinkled because you were fooling around with the Prom King in the bathroom during the party.

MELISSA MCCARTHY // gown by Marina Rinaldi, purse and shoes by Brian Atwood

Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage

The color is disappointing – it’s not that it doesn’t work on her, it’s just not a color I particularly enjoy. The length is a mess, and that hem looks so sad. Her breasts look like seashells because of that draping, and that’s not really a look Melissa McCarthy (or anyone else besides Princess Ariel) can pull off. On the red carpet, the sleeves looked kind of nice, but in photos, they hang there like curtains for her arms, and it doesn’t work for me. The hair was certainly a disappointment, and I’m not sure the placement of those silver embellishments did Melissa any favors.

JUDY GREER // gown by Monique Lhuillier

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty

It’s a pretty cool gown, but it’s not worthy of the Oscars, particularly not when the styling is this half-assed. You might not be an A-lister yet, Judy, but the way to get there is to start dressing the part!

GLENN CLOSE // gown and blazer by Zac Posen, purse by Judith Leiber

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty

She was pooping fabric, and this dress was wearing her.

ANNA FARIS // gown by Diane von Furstenberg

Photo: Steve Grantiz/WireImage

Almost hilariously terrible, from the platinum bob (seriously, who told her that was a good idea?) to the ill-fitting gown. If you’re going to do a glittery black long-sleeved column gown, like everyone else on earth has already done, could you at least find one that fits and doesn’t make you look like you’re trying to sneak into Studio 54?

Worst Dressed
// gown by Marchesa

Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Oh, Sandy. It will never NOT be ridiculous to hear you introduced as “Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock.” I take comfort in the fact that wherever your career takes you, you will always wear something ill-fitting and awkward and kind of ugly. Thanks for staying true to you, Sandra.

Part 2 of the Academy Awards red carpet is now up! Dig in, dear readers!

© Democracy Diva, 2012.
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4 responses to 2012 Academy Awards Red Carpet, Part 1

  1. […] Nothing could beat Jessica Chastain, but Michelle Williams stole my heart in this exquisite coral gown. I sort of want to murder her for the gold platforms and pink purse, which make an otherwise gorgeous gown into a Marilyn Monroe costume. We get the point, honey, but you weren’t winning that Oscar no matter what, not against Meryl’s 17th nomination and Viola Davis’s thought-it-was-a-surefire-win. And she’d look much more beautiful in a warmer, darker blonde, rather than this platinum thing. But now that she’s done working towards an Oscar for Marilyn, hopefully that will change. The pink lipstick needs to go too. […]

  2. Demi

    Jessica looked much more beautiful on camera than in pictures and I agree with you on Penelope’s dress: looks like a freshman going to prom, a bit too young for her.
    I wish shailene would have done something more close to her age and i really disliked angelina’s snooze of a dress.

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