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15 Years of the Best Actress Red Carpet Oscar Gowns

Posted on 17 February 2014

Sarah Jessica Parker Red Carpet

I don't always agree with the critics. In fact, I am often a lone voice in the fashion wilderness.  Case in point:  The Chanel dress Sarah Jessica parker wore to the 2010 Academy Awards.  Social media was literally buzzing about the gorgeous gown.  But I thought it looked .. not quite right.  Who am I to argue with Karl Lagerfeld or SJP or Carrie Bradshaw?  But regardless of my lack of credentials, I didn't love the dress.  We can agree to disagree.  So, although you may disagree, and probably will, here are my awards (both good and bad) for the past 15 Academy award best actress winners:

Most Disappointing 

Gwyneth Paltrow in Ralph Lauren. The pink ballgown Gwyneth wore when she won best actress for Shakespeare in Love just didn't fit her quite right.. or something. I know.. everyone adored that dress, and it seems like blasphemy not to, but I think that it was all wrong for her - she has such a willowy frame and would have looked so much more elegant in something that emphasized that. (I also thought that Cate Blanchett should have won for Elizabeth but that's another story).

Most Dated

Hilary Swank wore Randolph Duke when she won the Oscar for Best Actress in Boys Don't Cry.I love Hilary, but the dress just seemed wrong. It wasn't that I hated the dress, it just wasn't very modern - and I don't mean in a cool, retro way, but in a kind of .. , I had this one left over from when I almost got nominated in the early 90's way. 

Most Improved

Meryl Streep in Lanvin. Meryl is perfect as an actress, but the day after awards shows, fashion critics avoid mentioning her dresses because they aren't usually well, worth mentioning.  But the gold Lanvin dress she wore in 2012, (when she won best actress for her ridiculously spot on portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady) finally made people take notice of her fashion as well as her acting talent.

Best Dress Backs

Back to back winners Charlize Theron in Gucci in 2004  and Hilary Swank in Guy Laroche in 2005.

Bravest Choice

Halle Berry in Elie Saab in 2002 and Reese Witherspoon in Vintage Christian Dior in 2006 - I love both Halle and Reese, and they took chances that paid off.  Reese bucked tradition and chose her own vintage Dior gown which I am, of course, a little biased towards.  Halle chose a dress from one of my favorite modern day designers, Elie Saab. The oxblood gown with embroidered lace bodice was not only a brave but brilliant choice.

Best Pregnant Star on the Red Carpet Ever

Natalie Portman in Rodarte in 2011. No one should look that beautiful when pregnant!

Ageless Perfection

Helen Mirren pretty much gets it right every time - but she nailed it with the Christian Lacroix gown she wore when she won best actress for The Queen in 2007. I want to be Helen Mirren.

Great Dress but that Hair..

Nicole Kidman in 2003 in Jean Paul Gaultier. Nicole can shine on the red carpet and often does, but the slicked back hair she wore with this gorgeous Gaultier dress dulled her shimmer.

Top Overall Pick

My favorite of the past 15 years has to be Sandra Bullock in Marchesa when she won the best actress oscar for The Blind Side in 2010. Not only was the dress breathtaking, her hair and make up were absolutely perfect. She owned the night.

 

1999 Gwyneth Paltrow in Ralph Lauren

1999 - Gwyneth Paltrow in Ralph Lauren

 

Hillary Swank in Randolph Duke 2000

2000 - Hillary Swank in Randolph Duke

 

Julia Roberts in Valentino 2001

2001 - Julia Roberts in Valentino

 

Halle Berry Elie Saab

2002 - Halle Berry in Elie Saab

 

2003 Nicole Kidman in Jean Paul Gaultier

2003 - Nicole Kidman in Jean Paul Gaultier

 

Charlize Theron in Gucci

2004 - Charlize Theron in Gucci

 

Hilary Swank in Guy Laroche

2005 - Hilary Swank in Guy Laroche

 

Reese Witherspoon in Vintage Christian Dior

2006 - Reese Witherspoon in Vintage Christian Dior

 

Helen Mirren in Christian Lacroix

2007 - Helen Mirren in Christian Lacroix

 

Marion Cotillart in Jean Paul Gaultier

2008 - Marion Cotillard in Jean Paul Gaultier

 

Kate Winslet in YSL

2009 - Kate Winslet in Yves Saint Laurent

 

Sandra Bullock in Marchesa

2010 Sandra Bullock in Marchesa

 

Natalie Portman in Rodarte

2011 - Natalie Portman in Rodarte

 

Meryl Streep in Lanvin

2012 - Meryl Streep in Lanvin

 

Jennifer Lawrence in Christian Dior

2013 - Jennifer Lawrence in Christian Dior

 

So, do you agree? What awards would you give to these stars, which disappointed the most and which were your favorites? Go ahead - I can take it!

 

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