Let's face it, the celebrity fashion show that is the Academy Awards can make the red carpet arrivals at the Golden Globes and Grammys seem like child's play.
And this year, the 77th for the ceremony, the stars didn't disappoint — for the most part, anyway.
Kirsten Dunst was the looker of the night with a new, brighter blond bob and a long, black-lace sleeveless gown. Most of the other ladies chose flattering neutral colors; pretty but boring. Drew Barrymore wore a strapless black satin and sequin number, while Beyoncé wore a simple black strapless velvet dress, and Scarlett Johansson walked the carpet in a black, asymmetrical short-sleeved dress accented with a messy bun and diamond brooches nested in her 'do.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Laura Linney all showed up in champagne strapless dresses, Maggie's broken up by a chunky gold sequin belt, and Linney's with ruffles around the strapless bustline and asymmetrical hem. Meanwhile, Natalie Portman and Halle Berry went for champagne's kissing cousin, khaki. Portman's diamond headband was perched above her olive dress with a plunging neckline that met at her waist with two gold ribbons in the back, and Berry's one-strapped asymmetrical dress was silk, sequined and ruched at the sides.
Navy blue was also all over the carpet: Hilary Swank wore a boat-necked long-sleeved navy backless dress with a mini bustle and a train, while Virginia Madsen was less severe in a strapless mermaid gown. (Swank later picked up an enviable fashion accessory; see "Jamie Foxx, 'Million Dollar Baby,' 'Aviator' Win Big At Oscars.")
Other stars came sporting the more bruised black-and-blue look. Salma Hayek wore a so-perfectly-fitting-it-may-as-well-be-painted-on tank dress with ribbons and beading down the front. Jamie Foxx came in a simple navy suit with a black tie, and Johnny Depp, though a handsome devil no matter what, looked too much like a dinner cruise waiter in a blue bolero suit jacket with black satin lapels and a bowtie with a picture of an anchor on it. He was also sporting gold teeth, which, depending on your taste, may redeem the outfit or just make it worse.
Cate Blanchett provided a brighter splash of color in a canary yellow one-shouldered dress with a diamond brooch on the sleeve and a thick brown satin belt. Penélope Cruz followed suit in a buttery strapless gown. Kate Winslet wore a slinky periwinkle tank dress with diamond brooches on the straps and down her torso. Charlize Theron and Renée Zellweger were fond of tulle, which crept out from above and below their dresses. Theron arrived in a mint strapless ruffled gown, and Zellweger in a scarlet strapless gown with a long train.
When it comes to traditional Oscar attire, the men — P. Diddy and Leonardo DiCaprio — came correct. Puff wore a black velvet tuxedo with satin piping, and Leo looked old Hollywood with side-slicked hair and a plain black suit with a white pocket square.
Don Cheadle, Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Jake Gyllenhaal, with a shorn head, also wore black suits. Again, pretty but boring. Orlando Bloom almost made the club, but he didn't wear a tie. The Van Peebles, actor/directors Mario and Melvin, came as twins in black suits with gunmetal ties. Morgan Freeman and Samuel L. Jackson both wore funereal all-black garb. And Carlos Santana dressed down in a black jacket and Che Guevara T-shirt.
Leave it to Usher to jazz up the men's look as a whole with a white tuxedo and black tie. Spike Lee, however, took that same idea a little too far with a white suit, black shirt, black tie and black fez. At least he had the new Jordans going for him.
For all the latest Oscar news and awards-season fashion photos, check out "Movies on MTV.com: Oscars 2005."
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