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The Red Carpet at the Oscars: who was the best dressed?

All things sartorial.

Image: Doug Peters/Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment

“WHO ARE YOU wearing?” Ryan Seacrest – probably the luckiest man in Hollywood – has uttered those words over and over in the past few hours, making the Oscars red carpet as much about the designers as the actresses wearing their creations.

The ladies certainly brought their A-game to Beverly Hills tonight with most of them leaving the usually ubiquitous nude and black gowns at home (even sultry Rooney Mara wore white).

Actually, white was a popular choice, as was the one-shoulder dress and the peplum detail. Angelina Jolie did go for black but then, it’s Anglina Jolie. Plus, there was a split, red lips, lighter hair colour and a cracking smile.

Although there was no one knock out dress, there were some major hits in Gwyneth Paltrow’s structured cape and dress, Octavia Spencer’s elegant and sparkly number and Jessica Chastain’s Alexander McQueen, which gets this author’s vote for the night’s best dressed.

Others, however, looked more Debs disaster (we’re looking at you Stacey Keibler and Penelope Cruz) than old-school glamour.

And then there were the “Marmite” dresses – Emma Stone, Michelle Williams and Viola Davis – which will divide us for days to come.

The red carpet shows during awards season are often more fun than the ceremony itself – unless it’s the less formal (read: boozy) Golden Globes. Moments captured by the voyeuristic backstage cameramen, such as P Diddy’s assistant preening him with a lint brush, gave us an insight into the life of a Hollywood A-lister.

Jessica Chastain brought her proud grandmother Marilyn in an awesomely-sized necklace, teamed with a Marina Rinaldi outfit. Both were delightfully charming with Seacrest and we were then totally rooting for Chastain in the supporting actress category (she lost out to co-star Octavia Spencer in the end).

It was a real family affair, actually, as Mara brought her sister and nominee Jonah Hill’s date was his mother. An unlikely nominee, Hill changed it up a little with a black shirt-bow tie combo and slicked-back hair.

Bridesmaids star and Academy Award nominee Melissa McCarthy brought the first tears of the night while being interviewed with her mother. The actress wore custom Marina Rinaldi, a name that was heard quite a bit on the night.

Trying to steal the show (or make a viral video), Sasha Baron Cohen came in full costume as a walking trailer for his latest offering The Dictator. The comedian wasn’t funny in his interview with Seacrest and his emptying of the contents of his “Kim Jong-il” urn onto the presenter was just a lame advert for his new film. Ryan was rightly unimpressed to be used so – it’s the Oscars dude, have some respect.

After two hours of red carpet coverage, we have so many questions…Did Stacey Keibler look too like an Oscar to look good at the Oscars? Was Emma Stone’s dress too similar to Nicole Kidman’s 2007 Balenciaga to be a real hit? When Ryan Seacrest said the fashion choices were subtle and elegant, did he really mean boring? Who did you miss more, Ryan Gosling or Tilda Swinton?

Have your say on who was best dressed in the poll after the slideshow and leave all your fashion thoughts in the comments section below.

We’ll have more photos of the men later but a tux is a tux is a tux, no?

The Red Carpet at the Oscars: who was the best dressed?
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    Gwyneth Paltrow chose a structured Tom Ford gown with matching cape.
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    Emma Stone in Giambattista Valli.
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    Michelle Williams wears Louis Vuitton. She wasn't even sure about its colour but thinks it may be coral. We're going with red-ish or orange-y. Image: AP Photo/Matt Sayles
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    As Michelle has divided the crowd with this one, we've added an extra photo to help make up your mind. It's also just a really sweet image. Image: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
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    Angelina Jolie shows off some leg in this Atelier Versace.
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    Leslie Mann with husband Judd Apatow.
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    Jennifer Lopez in plunge-line Zuhair Murad. Image: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
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    Anna Faris
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    Octavia Spencer stayed loyal to designer Tadashi Shoji. Image: AP Photo/Matt Sayles
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    Penelope Cruz in piles of organza by Armani. Image: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
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    Cameron Diaz was one of the few nudes on show at the ceremony in this sparkly Gucci.
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    Sandra Bullock also wore Marchesha. Another one that is more stunning at the back. Image: AP Photo/Matt Sayles
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    Meryl Streep in gold. Not so subtle.
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    The Descendents' Shailene Woodley, 20, in Valentino Couture. Image: AP Photo/Matt Sayles
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    Tina Fey in custom Carolina Herrera which also featured a peplum detail. The fashion house said it wanted to design for one actress only for the biggest night of the year - and Fey won out. Again, this one is dark navy and not black as it appears.
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    Stacy Keibler (George Clooney's partner) in Marchesha.
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    Vera Wang "did right by me," Viola Davis said of her dress. Deciding to go sans wig, she told E! that her mother did her hair. Image: AP Photo/Matt Sayles
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    She may not have won the Oscar but Jessica Chastain stole the show on the Red Carpet. Image: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
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    Chastain's dress actually looked much nicer on TV than it photographs so here's another image to try and even the score.
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    Berenice Bejo in mint-coloured (and maybe Kate Middleton wedding dress-inspired) Eli Saab. Image: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
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    Natalie Portman glams up a vintage Dio rred and black polka-dot gown with Harry Winston diamonds.
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    Glenn Close stunning in a fishtail, green number complete with short jacket. Image: AP Photo/Matt Sayles
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    Kristen Wiig in J Mendel.
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    Rooney Mara in white. In other words, Rooney Mara was not wearing black. She said she only picked the Givenchy dress this morning. Image: AP Photo/Matt Sayles
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    Esperanza Spalding wins Best Hair of the night in my book.
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    Kate Mara. Image: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
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    Rose Byrne in a loose-fitted Vivienne Westwood. Although it photographs black, it seemingly was navy or some shade of dark blue. It was also backless and very pretty from behind. Image: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
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    Busy Philipps came as Michelle William's date.
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    Maya Rudolph. Image: AP Photo/Matt Sayles
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    More colour from Missi Pyle. Image: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
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    Wendi McLendon-Covey
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    Ellie Kemper in what she described as rust Armani Privé Image: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
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    Jane Seymour - She's 61! Image: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
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    Bridesmaids' Melissa McCarthy in custom Marina Rinaldi, who must have been busy pre-Oscars. Image: AP Photo/Matt Sayles
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    Lea Thompson.
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    For her first Oscars, Milla Jovovich chose a stunning one-shouder Elie Saab.
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    Funny lady Judy Greer. Image: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
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    Modern Family's Sarah Hyland in Alberta Feretti.
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    TV presenter Maria Menounos.
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    Kelly Osbourne was reporting for E! on the night and even her pink hair was subtle enough for the job. Image: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello
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    Nancy O'Dell was the first on the red carpet on the night. Designer unknown.
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    Supporting actress nominee Janet McTeer.
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    Sherri Shepherd
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    Virginia Madsen.

Who was the best-dressed on the night?


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