Kidman, J. Lo Show Up Starlets; Hudson Misses Mark On Oscar Red Carpet

Stylish Helen Mirren also shows newcomers how it's done.

LOS ANGELES — All the delicious red-carpet scrutiny (and mockery) that keeps tabloids and blogs afloat is child’s play compared to the fashion frenzy of Oscar night. The 79th annual Academy Awards on Sunday (February 25) was no exception.

The stars paraded their looks in front of adoring fans and merciless armchair commentators, but we’re here to give it to you straight. Mostly.

(Go to “Marty’s Party: Scorsese, ‘Departed’ (And Effie Too) Get Oscar Gold” for more event coverage; see snaps of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Black and Jennifer Hudson at the big show right here ; and check out red-carpet pics of Beyoncé, J. Lo and others right here .)

Nicole Kidman was striking on the red carpet with a gown to match. On the red halter dress, an oversize bow draped around her neck and cascaded down her back. Reese Witherspoon also made a bold statement in a strapless indigo dress with scalloped layers leading to a train. Jessica Biel tried to get in on the eye-catching action in her fuchsia halter gown with a skinny black belt, but somehow looked more Hot Topic than red-carpet chic.

Rachel Weisz wore a simple gold satin strapless gown with a sweet, jeweled bow on the bodice, while Helen Mirren showed up all of the little starlets in her gold lace three-quarter-sleeve dress offset by a smart, silver bob.

Maggie Gyllenhaal looked natty in a navy-and-black gown with an asymmetrical, cross-your-heart neckline with a shiny black cummerbund. The bottom of the dress was lined with feathers, which matched the black feathers in her hair. Portia de Rossi also adeptly combined navy and black in a satin halter dress with a braided necklace that trailed all the way down her back leading to a fringed hemline.

Beyoncé wore an ornate mint-green gown with a jeweled asymmetrical neckline, while Kate Winslet, also in mint, wore a more elegant Grecian silhouette.

Several of the actresses opted for gauzy layers. Cate Blanchett wore a black beaded asymmetrical dress, while Kirsten Dunst arrived in a busy silver short-sleeve dress with feather trim, and Gwenyth Paltrow walked the carpet in a sheer salmon-color gown with pleating detail.

Jennifer Lopez and Penélope Cruz both combined daring dresses with the same muted blush tone. Lopez’s empire-waist gown was accented by a jeweled belt and a boat neck with layers of chunky jewels. Cruz’s strapless gown had a detailed bodice and a full, flowing organza skirt.

Now, for the misses.

Cameron Diaz took an admirable fashion risk but ultimately ended up looking more like an envelope than an A-list actress in her white, fold-over, off-the-shoulder gown. The rumpled bottom was hiked up in the front to reveal her ankles, while the back resolved into a disarrayed train. The highlight of her ensemble was her jade drop earrings.

And while we’ve all enjoyed Jennifer Hudson’s feel-good success story, the Dreamgirl’s red-carpet look was more of a nightmare. She inexplicably wore a chintzy gold lamé short-sleeve shrug with an oversize collar over a simple brown dress.

And what about the men, you ask? We know it can be hard for the guys to make their style statements heard on such a female-focused night of fashion, but even so, it felt like many of the guys phoned this one in. In a sea of standard tuxes, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg’s polished looks, and Gael García Bernal and Sacha Baron Cohen’s artful shagginess stood out. Djimon Hounsou switched it up with a bellhop-chic brown satin-trimmed suit and a brown tie. As for the rest of the guys, better luck next year.

From the awards ceremony to the star-studded afterparties, join MTV as we head backstage and hit the red carpets for Hollywood’s biggest night. Check out photos of the hottest Oscar action, watch exclusive celebrity interviews and read the latest buzz, all starting Sunday (February 25) on Movies.MTV.com.

See everything we’ve got on Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Hudson.

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