The 14 Oscars Musical Performances With The Best Style

Sure, many of the Oscars most-anticipated awards are doled out for exemplary acting, but don't forget, it's a night of musical performances, too. Gold statuettes of little bald men are awarded to Best Original Score AND Best Original Song winners, and often, there's time in the ceremony for the nominees to take the stage. As we gear up for Sunday night and the potential return of Pharrell's giant hat *fingers crossed*, we're looking back at some of the best performance outfits in Academy Awards history.

MADONNA IN 1991

Madonna

Madonna performs at the 1991 Academy Awards.Photo: YouTube

Of course, we have to kick this off with Madonna. Arguably THE best Oscars onstage outfit of all time (IMHO), Madge channeled Marilyn Monroe for her performance of "Sooner or Later" from the Dick Tracy soundtrack.

Madonna

Madonna performs at the 1991 Academy Awards.Photo: YouTube

She OWNED the stage in a slinky strapless white gown, a white fur stole, glamorous over-the-elbow gloves, and platinum blonde waves.

CELINE DION IN 1998

Celine Dion

Celine Dion performs at the 1998 Academy Awards.Photo: Getty Images

For her performance of the Titanic banger, "My Heart Will Go On," Celine Dion covered up in an über-modest black, floor-length column dress with long sleeves and a turtleneck, directing all focus to her prominent accessory: the movie's infamous "Heart of the Ocean" blue diamond necklace.

MARIAH CAREY AND WHITNEY HOUSTON IN 1999

Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston

Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston perform at the 1999 Academy Awards.Photo: Getty Images

What's better than one diva? Two! And that's exactly what we got when Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston hit the stage in matching silky white gowns to perform The Prince of Egypt's "When You Believe."

BJORK IN 2001

Bjork

Bjork performs at the 2001 Academy Awards.Photo: Getty Images

Also in white, but not quite as classic a take, Bjork gave a riveting performance of "I've Seen It All" from Dancer in the Dark, wearing the same Marjan Pejoski swan dress that turned so many heads on the red carpet. Her outfit may be what most people remember from her appearance, but more than 10 years later, her beautiful performance still holds up and is definitely worth revisiting.

THREE 6 MAFIA IN 2002

Three 6 Mafia

Three 6 Mafia performs at the 2002 Academy Awards.Photo: Getty Images

Much like Bjork, you can't talk about memorable musical performances at the Oscars in any capacity without Three 6 Mafia. Until 2002, "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp" and "Academy Awards" were two phrases you'd never expect to be uttered in the same breath, but that is exactly what happened. Not just that, the rap group from Memphis wore JEANS and Big & Tall tees and hoodies and flat-brim fitted caps to the red carpet event of the year.

Three 6 Mafia

Three 6 Mafia performs at the 2002 Academy Awards.Photo: Getty Images

AND they won the Oscar for it. *drops mic*

ISAAC HAYES IN 1972

Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes performs at the 1972 Academy Awards.Photo: Oscars

But if you were scandalized by Three 6 Mafia's casual wear, you're obviously not familiar with this little number Isaac Hayes wore for the 1972 Academy Awards. That year, Hayes won Best Original Song for his Shaft theme and performed it at the ceremony. This gold chain cage jacket with NOTHING underneath (which, BTW, totally reminds me of Jeremy Scott x Adidas jacket from last year) was what he wore. In 1972. That's one bad mother—shut yo' mouth!

MICHAEL JACKSON IN 1973

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson performs at the 1973 Academy Awards.Photo: YouTube

Less shocking? Michael Jackson circa Jackson 5 in spread collars, flares, and a vest covered in grommets and gold, star-shaped studs to sing "Ben." Michael delivers a pitch-perfect performance of the sweet song, but even still, I'll never forget that it's about a killer rat. Never.

JON BON JOVI IN 1991

Jon Bon Jovi

Jon Bon Jovi performs at the 1991 Academy Awards.Photo: YouTube

Sometimes a great performance look rests heavily on beauty and grooming (as opposed to just flashy garments). Bon Jovi's 1991 performance of "Blaze of Glory" is one such time. Sure, Jon's billowy white shirt and black satin vest with shimmery embroidered rose details are impressive, but the obvious star of this look is his big Tina Turner hair. Plus, this pales in comparison to what he arrived wearing: an alternate-universe combination of Steven Tyler and Willy Wonka.

ADELE IN 2013

Adele

Adele performs at the 2013 Academy Awards.Photo: Getty Images

Adele blew the lid off the Academy Awards last year with "Skyfall." A voice as powerful as hers needs no bells or whistles, and this classic shift dripping with embellishments was the perfect balance of simple and dramatic to stand up against the song's sweeping orchestral lines and Adele's warm, room-enveloping voice.

ANNIE LENNOX IN 2004

Annie Lennox

Annie Lennox performs at the 2004 Academy Awards.Photo: Getty Images

Also batting for Team Simple is Annie Lennox with this timeless Stella McCartney number. A departure from her angular, androgynous '80s wares, Lennox went soft, satin, and platinum for her live rendition of "Into the West."

FLORENCE WELCH IN 2011

Florence Welch

Florence Welch performs at the 2011 Academy Awards.Photo: Getty Images

In 2011, Florence Welch also went the way of matching her hair to her outfit. She was head-to-toe burnt orange in this asymmetrical Roksanda Ilincic gown.

BEYONCE IN 2005

Beyonce

Beyonce performs at the 2005 Academy Awards.Photo: Getty Images

Aaaaand then there's Beyonce. Did you know that at Beyonce's very first Academy Awards, she was invited to sing three of the five Best Original Song nominees? She sang "Look to Your Path" (in FRENCH!), "Believe" with Josh Groban, and "Learn to Be Lonely" from The Phantom of the Opera, changing her clothes, makeup, and hair for each performance, after arriving in another stunning red carpet ensemble.

JENNIFER HUDSON, ANIKA NONI ROSE, AND BEYONCE IN 2007

Dreamgirls

Jennifer Hudson, Anika Noni Rose, and Beyonce perform at the 2007 Academy Awards.Photo: Getty Images

Late the following year, Bey, Jennifer Hudson, and Anika Noni Rose starred in the film adaptation of Dreamgirls. The trio graced the Oscars stage for a rousing medley of the songs from the movie musical. Befitting the film's Supremes steez, the three ladies coordinated in red (but not entirely matching) floor-length gowns.

BEYONCE (YET AGAIN) IN 2009

Beyonce

Beyonce performs at the 2009 Academy Awards.Photo: Getty Images

Two years after THAT, Beyonce came back for a third time, playing leading lady to Hugh Jackman for a massive Baz Luhrmann-compiled musical medley number. She wore a glittering red bodysuit with mock coattails and a fringed loincloth situation with a top hat, long gloves, and heels.

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