LUPITA NYONG'O

We take a look at the show-stopping gowns that have featured at the Academy Awards over the years, and some of the fashion faux pas!

The Academy Awards, perhaps best known as the Oscars, is the much anticipated celebrity event of the year, attracting Hollywood’s finest in droves to appreciate the hottest film releases. Since 1929, the prestigious Oscar statuette has been presented to countless of the most spectacular films, actors and actresses, not to mention the tireless work of directors, costume designers and visual effects teams behind the scenes. Almost as popular as the awards-presenting is the reveal of the luxurious, majestic and dazzling gowns worn by the highest-paid actresses in the business. We’re going to take a look back at the best and worst of the A-listers designer dresses, who remain memorable to this day for rocking the red-carpet look and who is remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Firstly, this year’s female winners, Cate Blanchett and Lupita Nyong’o, winning Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress for Blue Jasmine and 12 Years a Slave (respectively), wowed the paparazzi in Armani (Blanchett) and Prada (Nyong’o). Cate’s floor-length nude number tricked the eye by blending exactly with her skin tone around the bust, making the dress appear to be almost part of her body. The embellishment of pearl-like beads, sequins and spangles added a bit of sparkle to an otherwise demure outfit. Lupita’s flowing, pale blue silk number stole the show, with a dramatic plunging cleavage and Grecian feel. Her stylist said the gown was inspired by a mixture of Lupita’s heritage, Nairobi, Elizabeth Taylor and the subtle trails of beads on the skirt inspired by ‘champagne bubbles.’

JLThe voluptuous skirt to Lupita’s gown almost paid homage to Jennifer Lawrence’s show-stopping Dior Couture dress in 2013, the same year she won Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook. Although the dress caused her to take a tumble as she walked up the steps to collect her Oscar, it had the spotlight on the night with its pale pink hue and leaf-print finish. Another Best Actress winner, Marion Cotillard, for La Vie En Rose in 2008, donned a fishtail dress with a further oceanic twist—a black mermaid scale pattern over the white figure-hugging material by Jean Paul Gaultier.

Cameron Diaz’ 2010 Oscar de la Renta creation became a staple favourite in the fashion stakes, a glorious strapless tulle gown adorned with golden pailettes, teamed with red lips, natural hair and virtually no jewellery, to let the dress do the talking. Similarly, Catherine Zeta-Jones sizzled in 2013 with a golden fitted outfit which illuminated her trademark curves, created by emerging designer Zuhair Murad.

But not all celebrities get it right, and often pay for it afterwards after the critics have their say. In 2000 Angelina Jolie appeared wearing a classic Versace floor-length black dress, and unfortunately, teamed with long black hair and her porcelain skin, channelled more Morticia Adams than sultry siren. Jennifer Lopez’s 2010 Armani Prive dress was also more miss than hit, with a bizarre side piece making it appear that the dress itself was a result of a fabric shop going out of business and using up what was left. But above all, Bjork’s swan dress of the 2001 awards goes down in history as the most bizarre dress of the Oscars. Depicting a swan’s wings and feathers as the skirt, with the neck draped around Bjork’s own, the bright orange beak barely covered Bjork’s breast and caused a storm with critics. The Marjan Pejoski design even prompted Bjork to pretend to lay an egg- on the red carpet!

Alex Chapman, Correspondent (Fashion)

Image Courtesy:  Disney | ABC Television Group (http://www.flickr.com/photos/disneyabc/12893601723/); By Jenn Deering Davis Uploaded by MyCanon (Jennifer Lawrence) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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