The Super Bowl of pretty dresses happened last night, and as usual the big event went into overtime. It's annoying when you're in your pajamas on your couch, so one can only imagine how bad it is for the ladies in Spanx we are watching on television.
For the third award show in a row, Comcast's hi-def E! Channel (644 at our house) was not working at all, so some of the screen grabs are extra terrible, coming as they did from that old-fashioned, non-high definition E! Channel. You're welcome in advance for your mid-day headache.
As for the fashion on last night's red carpet, it was truly a treat; the high point of the award season. Almost everyone brought their A-game (plus a few million bucks worth of jewelry), and the vibe of the night was Old Hollywood Glamour. Everyone did a riff on vintage -- even the guys.
In a sea of black tuxedos, several men made an effort to stand out by opting for a white or off-white dinner jacket. Ryan Seacrest wore an off-white jacket as he interviewed celebs on the red carpet, while Matthew McConaughey looked extra-sharp in his white jacket with a contrasting black vest while accepting his Best Actor statue; McConaughey's co-star, Jared Leto, also went with white, with a red satin bow-tie to break up the expanse of white shirt and jacket.
Honorable Mention: Ellen DeGeneres and Kevin Spacey. DeGeneres' suits were outstanding all evening (particularly the all-white), and Spacey really knows how to work that Bobby Darin thing, and he kept it up last night in a midnight blue, two-button tux with black lapels.
Speaking of Blue
Midnight blue had a moment last night (Sandra Bullock radiant in Alexander McQueen, Amy Adams was sleek and sculptural in a purple-tinged, navy Gucci Premier gown) but no one had the blues like LUPITA, baby. Her ice-blue, custom Prada gown stopped the show; on the red carpet, Lupita said the color "reminded [her] of Nairobi," and that's how she chose the crown jewel of her award season dresses.
And speaking of crown jewels, Lupita's delicate, diamond headband proved she could do no wrong; paired with edgy earrings, Nyong'o played Hollywood's Biggest Night perfectly from head to toe.
Nude--But Not Naked
Nude dresses don't always -- or even often -- work on television, or in still photos, but because they tend to stun in person, they are always present on the red carpet. Sarah Paulson took a whack at a sparkling nude Elie Saab couture number, and while it worked better than some of her other award season looks, it wasn't a "wow" on the screen. Two, more successful efforts came from Cate Blanchett in Armani Privé and her Blue Jasmine co-star Sally Hawkins, who wore what was most certainly a very heavy, beaded Valentino gown. Blanchett played the gown choice well; she doesn't care about red carpet interviews (she famously hates them) where the dress looks kind of "blah," but when she hit the stage in that Armani to accept her Leading Actress award, she and the dress were alight.
Heavy beading and liquid metal are the two most important ingredients for a vintage (or vintage-inspired) award show gown. Kate Hudson could have stepped out of 1930s Hollywood (or American Hustle) in her timeless Atelier Versace. (Love all the capes this year, Hollywood. Keep it up.) Her mom, Goldie Hawn, also rocked a liquid gold Versace. Want to talk about timeless? Goldie Hawn's face looks amazing.
Jennifer Garner put the cherry on top of her award season fashion choices with a silver Oscar de la Renta. The tiered-fringe skirt looked incredible when she walked across the stage to present.
Standouts: For Better or Worse
Some gowns defy classification. Consider Meryl Streep's romantic, one-shouldered Lanvin: an age-appropriate gown should make you look (and feel) younger, and Streep obviously feels amazing in her white-on-black ensemble. Sure, it could be the record-breaking eighteen acting noms... but it's probably the dress.
June Squibb celebrated her nomination -- and 84th birthday -- in a sparkling green Tadashi Shoji. Not a Golden Girls reference in sight. Fantastic.
Pharrell. Why he chose a tuxedo with shorts, rather than long pants, is anyone's guess. The shorts made me sad, which is kind of ironic, since Pharrell was there solely to make us HAPPY.
Bette Midler's performance dress was visually interesting and extremely flattering. She killed it on the red carpet, as well, in a red-and-white Reem Acra.
Anna Kendrick wore a visually-interesting J. Mendel; spectacular from some angles (the back is particularly lovely), and potentially odd from others.
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Sandra Bullock was a close second, and mother-daughter pair Kate Hudson/Goldie Hawn really killed it. For once, most of my favorite dresses were from non-nominees; in addition to Hudson/Hawn, I have Meryl Streep, Jennifer Garner, and Chrissy Tiegen listed as the favorites on my scorecard.
Who did you think was best-dressed at last night's Academy Award ceremony?