Saturday, February 26, 2011

17 Best Oscar Gowns Ever

Preparing for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards -...Image by via Flickr

From Denny: Oscar night is coming! Check out the truly best Oscar gowns seen on the red carpet over the years. Stunning stuff from some of Hollywood's most glamorous actresses. And learn a little Hollywood trivia while you are at it.

Photo by Kevin Mazur/Wire Image

Sandra Bullock, 2010

Check out this awesome gold columned gown inspired by the gold column of the Oscar statue for which she won Best Actress.  Bullock portrayed real-life mom Leigh Anne Tuohy in "The Blind Side." Adored with metallic floral embroidery - which is difficult to work with - and some beautiful vintage beading as well, this was designed by Marchesa.

Photo by John Shearer/Wire Image

Anne Hathaway, 2009

Talk about a knockout.  This Armani Prive strapless gown was a poured swirling column of sweet silver.  The dress was designed with a diagonal pattern of sparkling Austrian Swarovski crystals.  That means she was literally sitting on glass. What beautiful glass! :)

Helen Mirren, 2007

This is a cool Oscar dress story.  Mirren told Oprah the dress was "... all made for me, so I didn't have to have any underwear. It fitted me like two angels' hands. I cried when I put it on. It's a work of art."  Done in a pale gold this Christian Lacroix helped Mirren take home the Best Actress award for her performance in "The Queen."

Hillary Swank, 2005

Check out risk taker Hillary Swank.  All eyes were on her on the red carpet when she strutted her fashion from designer Guy Laroche.  She took home her second Oscar.

Photo by Steve Granitz/Wire Image

Kate Hudson, 2003

Looking like a queen and the wallet to pay for this dress made of real 14-carat gold, Kate Hudson was stunning.  Her designer, Donatella Versace, sewed lace embroidery in all the right places and provided a small dramatic train with delicate cap sleeves.

Photo by Steve Granitz/Wire Image

Halle Berry, 2003

Halle was such a big hit last year with this designer, Elie Saab, that Halle wore another of her gowns this year too.  Gorgeous in gold, one-shouldered with a beaded top and embroidered tulle skirt.

Halle Berry, 2002

Halle had everyone in the country buzzing about this sheer sexy elegant dress from Elie Saab.  Halle won Best Actress in "Monster's Ball."  This burgundy number was figure-hugging with a controversial peek-a-boo top that revealed her nipples in a shadowy sheer manner.  Of course, photographers were busy blowing up closeups to show just how sheer this dress was at the time and the photos sent the country talking.  The fashion critics loved the dress anyway and so did most of the public.

Photo by Jeff Kravitz

Julia Roberts, 2001

Julia won Best Actress for her portrayal of real-life Erin Brockovich fighting Big Business corruption and public health safety.  This dress was a departure, for the first time, of wearing a new dress.  Instead, Julia opted for a vintage dress, a classic in black and white.  The designer was Valentino.  The dress was a black column with tulle overlay along with white piping details.  Valentino was pleased to see her in his dress, the ultimate compliment, and commented how it was the highlight of his career.

Catherine Zeta Jones, 1999

Catherine won for her breakout role in "Zorro."  This stunning actress is known for her smoldering energy.  She was also a gymnast so her fitness level is right up there with Olympic athletes.  Jones said of the brilliant red gown, "It's an event dress. When I saw it, it was like what I used to dream about wearing."

Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/Wire Image

Gwyneth Paltrow, 1999

Another daughter of famous acting parents, Gwyneth is considered an All-American actress. So, she appropriately chose and All-American designer that year, Ralph Lauren who was gaining tremendously in popularity worldwide at the time.

Gwyneth won the Best Actress award for her role in "Shakespeare in Love." This fairytale bubble gum pink dress got some harsh criticism as it did rave reviews. Well, pink is a color most women love. This dress inspired pink dresses on store racks all across the country after debuting on the red carpet. Sounds like it enjoyed more hits than misses.

Photo by Steve Granitz/Wire Image

Nicole Kidman, 1997

At the Academy Awards this year most of America only knew Nicole Kidman as "Tom Cruise's wife." She was yet to become a household name. Since then Australian actors like her have made huge headway into the American awareness and popularity.

Nicole is tall and willowy, a natural strawberry blonde, wearing this chartreuse Dior gown designed by John Galliano to perfection. The dress is strapless and littered with floral embroidery. This dress was a wonderful contrasting standout and departure this year. Most of the dresses were pastels or primary colors.

Photo by Ron Galella/Wire Image

Mia Farrow, 1979

Mia Farrow was known for her edginess, quirkiness, sweet attitude, almost innocent little girl quality and a whole lot of talent all rolled into one person. At the 51st Annual Academy Awards she wore this white halter gown studded with a glittery flame design.

Photo by Fotos International/Getty Images

Anjelica Huston, 1976

Tall and stately Anjelica Huston, daughter of a famous Hollywood actor father, John Huston, stood out all on her own this night. By her side was the popular actor Jack Nicholson who was up for an award that night.

Very 70's was this fish-scale pattern dress in the age of "What's your zodiac sign?" and the trumpeting of The Age of Aquarius about to arrive. Water themes were in vogue. Fast forward another three decades later and French actress Marion Cotillard walks the same red carpet in a sleeveless gown with a similar fish-scale print too.

Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage

Shirley MacLaine, 1975

Shirley MacLaine was known for her dancing as much as her acting. She came to stardom at the young age of seventeen. Here at the 47th Annual Academy Awards she wears the true star quality glamorous, shimmering, sparkling dress that showed off her curves and height. Some dresses are just classics that pass the test of time and this fabulous dress fits that reputation just like the actress.

She hosted the awards with Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra - two of the famous Rat Pack - and comedian Bob Hope, famous for his USO tours, taking shows to the American troops during war time.

Photo by Darlene Hammon/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Elizabeth Taylor, 1961

This is the year the famous well-loved actress won Best Actress in "Butterfield 8." Elizabeth Taylor is a small woman, only five feet tall, even small for the day, until today when most actresses average a good five feet, eight inches or more.

Taylor was known for her over the top flamboyance, especially over-sized, sometimes gaudy, expensive jewelry. This dress was a yellow sleeveless bodice with a white ball gown very full skirt sporting a floral pattern. Taylor was also known for her very tiny waist as much as for her violet colored eyes with long dark lashes. Her waist was cinched by a black satin sash adorned with a red rose pin. The sixties fashions were an era of 50's femininity streamlining and transitioning into feminine modernity.

Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Grace Kelly, 1955

Grace Kelly was definitely known and revered as a movie star's movie star. In 1955 was the year of the 27th Annual Academy Awards. She won Best Actress for her role in "The Country Girl."

The famous Hollywood dress designer of the day was the flamboyant Edith Head and this satin dress was no exception. Grace Kelly came from money and certainly knew her way around the aristocratic circles of the time. Whatever she wore drew headlines because she could carry it off so well.

Her parents were both Olympic swimmers and so the entire family was athletic at a time when many young women were not. Grace's fitness level made it possible for her to practically gloat across the room like a dancer whenever she made her entrance. No wonder Monaco's Prince Rainier III fell in love with her at first sight.

Her career was not long, just a few years. She had a relationship with Cary Grant but decided upon marriage with Prince Rainier and became Princess Grace of Monaco.

Photo by Ralph Morse/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Audrey Hepburn, 1954

Designer Hubert de Givenchy was under the impression he had a very important appointment with the legendary actress Katherine Hepburn. He sure was shocked when that was not the case. In her place the person who did show up for an Oscar fitting was the then young and totally unknown Audrey Hepburn - and in a simple unheard of t-shirt and sandals. Back then, young women always dressed up to go out, wearing hats and gloves. It was considered a faux pas to show up this informally like you were going out in your own back yard. Times sure have changed!

In spite of the mistaken identity, the Parisian couturier and the actress hit it off and became life long close friends. In fact, Givenchy ended up dressing Audrey on and off the screen for most of her life.

This year at the 26th Annual Academy Awards, Audrey won Best Actress for her role of Princess Ann in "Roman Holiday." Givenchy fashioned a white floral gown. It was strapless and belted and was the first time audiences saw Audrey in a Givenchy fashion.

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