Oscars 2014: Whose Dresses Did We Adore and Whose Did We Loathe?

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Plunging necklines, sleeveless gowns and sparkles were the theme of the night. Muted colors were everywhere. Beige beauties burst out on the red carpet in finery. Others not so much. They meant to, but things just went amiss. Still it was one of the most glorious and glamorous Oscar celebrations in years. The room was one big breathing heart of talent. Matthew McConaughey said it best, “It’s full of energy and full of nerves.”

The stars’ fashion choices weren’t nervy at all this year. But maybe that’s a good thing. There were no flops. Thankfully, no swan-clad Bjorks or Celine Dions wearing white backward suits. It was classic Hollywood all the way. The winner of the evening in every way was a glee-filled Lupita Nyong’o, who seemed to spread her aura of joy. It was a time to acknowledge excellence and bask in the magic of movies.

Now here are my best- and worst-dressed picks.

Best Dressed

Lupita Nyong’o wins the contest. She looked ethereal in a baby blue pleated Prada gown with a low V-neck. With her skinny frame she could’ve easily looked overpowered, but instead she was light as a butterfly by keeping her accessories simple. Her gold-and-diamond headband was crafted by Fred Leighton. Prada designed the gorgeous gown just for her. She told reporters, “I had a hand in it.” She looked so perfect, floating on air, flashing bright white teeth in a gorgeous smile. “Blue reminds me of my hometown in Nairobi,” she said. It was her birthday the day before. When she commented on the planning of the dress she said, “We were inspired by champagne bubbles because this is cause for celebration, don’t you think?”

Charlize Theron wins spot number two. She looked like a modern-day, statuesque “Madame X,” the socialite in the iconic painting by John Singer Sargent. With short and parted blond hair she was breathtaking in her simple yet stylized black Dior dress. See-through straps added drama to the plunging, curvy neckline. She wore a $15 million necklace of clustered diamonds by Harry Winston. The contrast of her simple black dress against the short blond hair and extravagant necklace created a classy look with a modern edge. She gets an A+.

Amy Adams is third. With porcelain skin and auburn hair, she chose a formfitting navy blue sleeveless Gucci Couture gown. Adams said she was channeling Kim Novak in “Vertigo.” The dress rocked a classy cut in the center, a lapelish foldover at the breast line and a long train in the back. I loved her tight updo that accentuated her flawless features and her tear-drop earrings. Adams told a reporter she’d put her hair up because of the rain. “It reacts to humidity.” What a happy accident! It looked fab. The jewelry included the $35,000 earrings made of lapis, turquoise, diamonds and 18-carat gold, and a $1.4 million 18-karat yellow gold diamond bracelet. It was a grand choice of fashion for the night of her best actress Oscar nomination for “American Hustle.”

Sandra Bullock sported a navy blue Alexander McQueen dress that fit her just right. Her long hair was swept to one side with bouncing curls cascading on her shoulder. The dress was strapless with a long Old Hollywood-style train and a nice crisscross touch at the waist. I’d say she looked way better than any of her previous walks along the red carpet. She looked like a classic Hollywood stunner. And although she didn’t win best actress for “Gravity,” the film pulled in seven Oscars.

Jennifer Lawrence is last on the list of best dressed. She looked amazing in her red curve-hugging strapless Christian Dior gown. She wore a $2 million 100-carat diamond necklace from Neil Lane, which she let drape down her back instead of the usual front for neck baubles. It worked well. But, whoops, she tripped again. This year it was on the red carpet, though, instead of 2013’s walk up the Oscar steps. Lawrence, who’d been favored to win best supporting actress for “American Hustle,” joked around after the ceremonies with winner Nyong’o and pretended to try to steal her little gold man.

Worst Dressed 

Anna Kendrick wins the prize for positively worst dressed. Yuck. She wore a J. Mendel dress with an asymmetrical top, cutouts, mesh net, a strap and a thick sash. It was exhausting. Way too busy. It was like five outfits in one and none of them worked. I’d like to find something positive to say, so the thigh-high slit was nice and her face looked pretty.

Cate Blanchett gets a thumbs-down from me. Votes are split on her getup. I love her but hated the beige Giorgio Armani gown she chose. I loathed the white thingies hanging all over it. They were large disc sequins that looked like flaking scales of a skin disease. The shmata looked heavy, too. Her long dangly chandelier earrings were overpowering. She has such a stunning face, milky skin, chiseled features — why detract from it? Oy, I hope she goes with something simple next time.

Sally Hawkins from “Blue Jasmine” blew it with oversize drooping sleeves on her prissy high-collared, embroidered Valentino. The beige dress looked like it was crying about its limp little train.

Angelina Jolie picked the wrong getup. It was a beige Elie Saab dress with a cinched waist that made beige fabric billow out above and below. It would be the type of waist you’d choose to hide a thick middle, and Angelina has the opposite. She’s so thin she’s almost concave. I wished she’d picked a simple formfitting gown that was any color other than beige. What was with all the damn beige? That dress made one of the most slender women in Hollywood look frumpy and top heavy. But what difference does it make? She’s Angelina Jolie and gorgeous no matter what she wears.

Jared Leto was the cater water for the night. Well, not really. But the white jacket and red tie made him look like hotel help, except for his long, stringy hair. Unless he’s supposed to be looking homeless for a current movie role, he should cut it. It should’ve also been one color. Instead, it looked like dry, frizzy, limp ombré. Nevertheless, I’m still thrilled he won the Oscar for best supporting actor. He deserved it.

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