There’s really no point in comparing Academy Awards red carpet fashion with any ceremony that comes earlier in awards season. The gowns on offer, and therefore on the beautiful people, are on an entirely different level.
We weren’t short on standout looks this year. Emma Stone’s crimson Giambattista Valli was reminiscent of Nicole Kidman’s 2008 Oscar dress, but we still think she pulled it off handily. Stacy Kiebler in Marchesa was, as many have noted, George Clooney’s living Oscar statuette. Michelle Williams was as classy and adorable as usual in Louis Vuitton by Marc Jacobs. Loved it. “The Help’s” Jessica Chastain struck a regal note (it was almost “Game of Thrones-ish”) in bespoke, hand-embroidered Alexander McQueen. Viola Davis stood out for two reasons — her green Vera Wang gown and her hair since she went wigless. Finally, we have to give much love to presenter Milla Jovovich’s Elie Saab gown and her red carpet presence. There’s a reason this woman is a supermodel.
On the other end of the spectrum, there wasn’t much deliberation involved with this list. All were universally agreed to be total red carpet fails.
We’re shagrined to include some of these ladies because, you know, we love them — but alas — they all belong on the worst-dressed category. First up, Sandra Bullock who proved that not every Marchesa dress is a slam dunk. At least not on her. We loved “The Artist’s” Missi Pyle’s eco-friendly (it was made with free-range silk worms or somesuch), but the design of her Valentina Delfino gown was just too complicated to work. Co-star Berenice Bejo, too, went with a not-at-all flattering mint green lacy Elie Saab number. As one tweeter put it, “Berenice Bejo cannot win an Oscar in that dress.” We’re sorry to have to include “Bridesmaids'” co-star Melissa McCarthy. We’ve seen her rock a red carpet and she just did not do it tonight. Finally, Shailene Woodley should have thought twice before making her Academy Awards red carpet debut wearing what looks like something stolen from Catherine Ross’ closet — in 1973. It’s Valentino Couture and maybe Gwyneth could have pulled it off, but Shailene is not Gwyneth.