Gown town: the Oscar frocks
From the crazed-princess look to liquid-gold bling, the dresses were a bit full-on at this year’s Oscars, but the most stylish numbers were the simplest
1 Jessica Chastain
In mint-green at the Golden Globes and cobalt blue at the Baftas, Chastain went back to a blank canvas for the Oscars. Her nude Armani Privé gown could have left her all washed out, especially with her strawberry blonde hair and pale skin, but Chastain hit it out of the park with this classic Hollywood glamour look. A deep red lip was an inspired choice.
2 Kelly Osbourne
The reality TV star and Fashion Police host showed Helen Mirren how the purple rinse is done, letting her hair do all the talking against the black romance of a Tony Ward gown. If it’s wrong to be Team Osbourne, we don’t want to be right.
3 Anne Hathaway
“I found my soulmate,” gushed Hathaway on the red carpet, explaining how lucky she has been in the past few months – marriage, followed by an Oscar nomination for her role as Fantine in Les Miserables. Her powder-pink silk dress by Prada “spoke” to her, which is convenient, as it spoke to us too. It said: nipples.
4 Jane Fonda
Certain women – Jane Fonda, Joan Rivers – get away with whatever the hell they want. This bright yellow Versace number, shoulder pads an’ all, was delightfully Dynasty and could only have been pulled off by the workout queen of the 1980s. More power to her.
5 Naomi Watts
It was another Armani Privé dress for Watts, nominated for her role in (spoiler alert) “white people survive Thai tsunami” blockbuster The Impossible. With one cap sleeve and a cut-out shoulder detail, the embellished gunmetal dress could have gone either way, but on Watts it was exquisite.
6 Zoe Saldana
Saldana is a red-carpet favourite, rarely putting a foot wrong. Although she wore white, there was nothing bridal about Saldana’s Alexis Mabille Couture dress, which was simultaneously simple and detailed, cool and beautiful, show-stopping and understated.
7 Jennifer Hudson
Hudson may be the face of Weightwatchers in the US and the epitome of body transformation, but she was flying the flag for the body-conscious everywhere in a teal Roberto Cavalli body-con, with sleeves and a thigh-high slit, showing just enough skin to be sexy.
8 Catherine Zeta Jones
There is nothing understated about Zeta Jones. She wore what looked like liquid gold, in the form of a slinky, strappy dress by Zuhair Murad. We weren’t the only ones overwhelmed by Zeta Jones’s tribute to the Academy Awards statuette; husband Michael Douglas looked blinded.
9 Jennifer Aniston
Post Brangelina, Aniston is a rare sight on the red carpet, so this was an exciting moment for the Jen-obsessed. But the excitement was short-lived. With her dishevelled hair and a strapless red dress that looked like every other strapless red dress in the world, colour me underwhelmed.
10 Octavia Spencer
Last year’s supporting actress winner showed her loyalty to Tadashi Shoji, making it a double whammy for the Japanese designer, who dressed her for last year’s win in a stunning (and simple) short-sleeved design. This year, they both got a bit carried away with tulle, beading, a full skirt and sickly sweet colour.
11 Jennifer Lawrence
As a face of the brand, Lawrence predictably wore Dior haute couture. From the waist up, this pastel-pink strapless dress was stunning, but below the knee it veered quickly into crazed princess territory. Less is more, Dior.
12 Charlize Theron
Having shaved her head for Fury Road,shorn locks worked on the former model. But Theron’s strapless white Dior let her face down. Maybe there was too much shoulder going on, but it looked as if she hadn’t finished getting ready.
13 Amanda Seyfried
In an embroidered lilac number by British designer Alexander McQueen, Les Miserables star Amanda Seyfried looked cooler than ever. Maybe it was the messy up-do, or perhaps it was the embroidered gown, reminiscent of 18th-century couture, but Seyfried seemed completely at ease and, for a change, her age (27).
14 Reese Witherspoon
In cobalt blue and black Louis Vuitton, Witherspoon seems not to have aged in a decade. Fitted and tailored, hers was a sleek and less girly look than previous years. Her glamorous 1950s waves were perfect, but she has to have been hoping not to be caught next to Chastain’s twin tresses.