Holy god, I cannot express how thrilled I am to see fancy clothes again in the wild, slash on my television. Pomp, bureaucracy, and mediocrity of the Oscars system notwithstanding let’s just take a little visual joy where we can get it. Steven Soderbergh is a producer of tonight’s festivities and so there is a mild chance at least something will be a little good-weird, but the anticipation of people expressing themselves nattily in public after a year at home is at a fever pitch. Let’s dive right in; as ever, this post will be updated in realtime, as attendees hit the step-and-repeat.
Above, Minari Best Actor nominee Steven Yeun and Joana Pak have procured some wonderfully fine-material masks for the occasion, and below... Yeun is looking like a goddamn James Bond.
Colman Domingo and Travon Free are already fulfilling my every wish for tonight: loads of personalize swagger and statement looks that bring a little much-needed hope to this shit. (Edit: the liner of Free’s jacket is a list of Black victims killed by police.) Domingo’s rhinestoned shoulders? Pure king shit.
Black and gold’s a win, too, particularly if this whole “roaring ‘20s” thing they’re promising comes to pass. Best Supporting Actor and Best Song nominee Leslie Odom Jr. is coming through like Oscar herself, and his wife, the actor Nicolette Robinson (right), is queenly in voluminous taffeta. Valerie Chung, with Best Director and Screenwriter nominee Isaac Lee Chung, is giving us old-Hollywood glamour with aplomb, honey.
PRISTINE. Diane Warren always does a tuxedo variation but this is the best I’ve seen, her mockneck all iced out like a bottle of Cristal; Mia Neal had the same impulse, and I hope we see more formal racerback crop tops in our futures. Tiara Thomas is an early contender for best dressed of the night; the ostrich detailing on her oversized tux jacket and the scoopneck—vest?—is such a contemporary look on menswear and it is pure luxury.
Here we’re going a bit more classic, but with a twist: Glenn Close is full boss status in what appears to be a kurta? and satin gloves; Marlee Matlin is going Iron Throne ca. 1965; Youn Yuh-jung’s classic and easygoing silhouette is bumped up a notch with extremely functional cargo pockets. As you know, I am a huge fan of pockets on formal gowns!
I’m not gonna lie, I expected the god Daniel Kaluuya to be a bit more flamboyant tonight, although I do appreciate the simple, crisp tailoring and flouting of the neck-squishing bowtie in lieu of a simple chain. Best Original Song nominee Celeste Waite is doing the damn thing in what appears to be fresh-off-the-runway Gucci—if I told you what I’d do for one of those aorta clutches I’d probably be kicked off the internet—and the entire look is very Alice in Wonderland Queen of Hearts. Fantastic. Also fantastic: the best-dressed child on the planet, Alan S. Kim, doing such strong baby swag I almost can’t stand it! Clearly he has an impeccable fashion teacher in Minari producer Christina Oh.
Love a good floral story. Set decorator Elizabeth Keenan is invoking all the plants everyone has supposedly grown in the pandemic; Best Original Score nominee Jon Batiste is giving us a pop of carnation; Best Director nominee Emerald Fennell is a vision in 1970 garden party chiffon—or at least maybe that’s what it’s evoking in me because I just rewatched the entirety of Mad Men. Betty Francis realness, though.
Viola Davis, everyone. Laser cut! Flawless draping! Simple, beautiful accessorizing! I cannot find a fault!
WHEW, Best Actress nominee Carey Mulligan got the roaring ‘20s memo. This bandeau top in sumptuous doubloon gold is like she found herself at the bottom of the ocean in a lost-at-sea treasure chest. She’s like, a Gatsby tablecloth, and I mean that as a compliment.
All the white this evening is giving me Suffrage solidarity and also a combination of mourning and optimism, appropriate. Maria Bakalova’s tulle is regal, as is Jena Friedman’s column gown. Best Director nominee Chloe Zhao, though, with Nomadland actor Charlene Swankie, is serving the exact personal style statement I wanted from her: true to herself, unfussy, extremely artistic, and mindful of her own goddamn comfort. More women in trainers on the red carpet!
Oh, Best Actress Andra Day also is out here absolutely stunning and looking like a gilded goddess or the queen of the Sand Snakes. I beg whatever godly set she’s repping to bless me with the energy to take on the summer with this level of confidence and beauty.
H.E.R. is, as ever, serving up Prince-level purple mystery in crystal-encrusted sheer. What I like most about this look is that despite its intricacy and beauty, it is actually just stealth pajamas. Always a win!
Regina King, who should have been a Best Director nominee, and Aldis Hodge, are looking like expensive ice. Questlove is also impeccable in a matching navy mock-neck (or Nehru collar? Can’t tell) and jacket, but what I’m most interested in is where he procured his aspirational golden Crocs? Crocs, if you’re reading this, the Jezebel staff would like a word. Riz Ahmed in satin cummerbund is smartly taking backseat to the gorgeously simple mint-blue gown of Fatima Farheen Mirza, New York Times bestselling novelist, person with great taste in footwear, and Ahmed’s wife.
Power-reds are emerging as another trend tonight, with Amanda Seyfried in intricate tulle and the god Angela Bassett reminding everyone that she is a gift by wrapping herself up in a giant-ass bow. I love when fashion is literal! Rita Moreno, also a god, is showing out in a full-coord burgundy gown, velvet jacket, and stone necklace; I bet she feels anxiety when she sees the youth mixing Nike and Reebok and Adidas, too.
None of these gowns—on Vanessa Kirby, Reese Witherspoon, and Halle Berry—are changing my life, but I would like to point out Berry’s excellently severe fringed bob, and wonder whether we’re all about to go with our most extreme haircuts this summer out of sheer beauty boredom? I’m going to guess maybe.
Of course my slay queen Zendaya managed to find a gust of wind like average models find their light, and come through in a neon yellow chiffon with a perfectly timed hair floof like baby goddamn Beyoncé. Get it, slay queen Zendaya!
I believe we have found our best-dressed man in Lakeith Stanfield. Lakeith... thank you.
More glamour! Olivia Coleman is just here for the ride, man. Margot Robbie’s Chanel is extremely Chanel but she offset it with the same hairstyle I’ve been wearing for like 400 days. And Laura Dern’s art gallerist on the top, ostrich party on the bottom? If I were her stylist I would have pulled this exact shit, it’s perfect for her.