It’s the second-most exciting red carpet of the year, after the Met extravaganze: The night when a dazzling coterie of extreme A-Listers walk the plank of glory or defeat; into the room that will elevate their careers (and salaries) for the rest of time (or at least a respectable couple of years), or the room that will blow apart their dreams to smithereens like that fucken watermelon with the rubber bands. The make-or-break moment at the 91st Academy Awards is as important as choosing a good script: What does a person wear to the filmmaking rapture?
Welcome, yet again, to Jezebel’s annual, updating, real-time look at the ensembles these hopeful, hapless nominees, presenters, and entourages decided was worthy for their moment. I shall do as much justice to the looks as they do to us. As Daenerys Targaryen so fatefully put it, “I’m not going to stop the wheel... I’m going to break the wheel.” Lehgo!
Above, my favorite celebrity roommates Jenifer Lewis and Shangela in complimentary king and queen ruffles. They look fantastic even though Shangela was robbed in the Best Supporting Actress category for A Star Is Born.
Here are three wonderful flips on a tux: Pose’s Billy Porter gave us the best pants/gown combo since Sharon Stone’s halfsies joint; Bryan Tyree Henry goes with a very cool shawl-collared jacket; Elsie Fisher is a little bit mod, a little bit “fuck yo waistcoat, a new teen’s in town.”
Amandla Stenberg’s chandelier gown is a stunner, as is Diane Warren’s crisp white tux and chain neckless. Danielle MacDonald went classic in red and tulle, while Marie Kondo’s blush party gown is definitely sparking joy for me and for her! Note that she did not carry an accessory: CLUTTER.
Are we seeing a lavender trend emerge, with Emilia Clarke and Meagan Good’s drapey pieces? Constance Wu is gleaming in custom Versace, which has what appears to be extremely nice crystal detailing on the neckline; Ashley Graham’s fishtail gown looks a little stiff and starched, but that could just be the angle.
Ceci Dempsey is channeling Favourite energy with this court-ready robe; Maria García Garcia’s lovely rose embellishment is elegant and sweet. Tonya Lewis Lee and Spike Lee are literally popping (with color!) (GROAN), but his Prince-honoring look is surely significant and hopefully he will be able to tell us while accepting an Oscar. Elaine Welteroth looks typically great in a flowing gown that looks like ice crystals, but I can’t help but wonder: where are the signature glasses? Did she get contacts? Is she gonna put the glasses on later? What even is happening! My equilibrium, mon dieu!
Diego Luna’s rather classic standard is a scooch boring next to Questlove’s clean-kicks-and-beads look, and Stephan James’s fly burgundy velvet. (Those BOOTS!) Laura Harrier is quickly becoming a wee style icon and this belted, seashell embroidered gown is not a miss. There’s something playful about its formality that a lot of these staid ass gowns tend to miss out here.
Adam Lambert is apparently singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” to open this shit? And so the opera-length sleeves and orchid corsage are theatrically appropriate, props. Fatima al Remaihi and Michelle Yeoh went for sophisticated detailing, but my absolute reina Yalitza Aparicio is more radiant in simplicity than anything. Let your spirit shine, ma.
One-time Jezebel blogger and breakout movie star Awkwafina is semi-repping for Bohemian Rhapsody via neck, in what I presume to be a Gucci pantsuit [UPDATE: It is DSquared]; Barry Jenkins is giving us “I’ve been through this before, b” with the no-sock breeziness; Marina de Tavira’s layered tiers are fine; Ruth E. Carter, Best Costume Design nominee, is showing out in a real stunner of a queen gown, get her some Game of Thrones money.
I believe it is possible that Linda Cardellini is wearing my fave Giambattista Valli, considering ol’ boy apparently got that shade of tulle in bulk at a Joanne’s close-out, but also it looks lightweight off, so could maybe not be Valli. Either way, at least she was very fuck it. These celebs better not act a fool around Rep. John Lewis, who is very serious at a very serious event; Mark Ronson did bolo detailing on some international playboy shit.
There’s so much to be said for minimalism here; Gabriela Rodriguez, Octavia Spencer, and Regina King (fresh off her Best Supporting Actress win at last night’s Independent Spirit Awards) all kept it simple and elegant, is if to say IT’S ABOUT THE CRAFT, MAN.
Henry Golding is on some Gary Cooper shit, I mean this is unreal; how is this fucken real? James McAvoy just stepped away from the board meeting and will probably doing ecommerce during commercials; Melissa McCarthy is proving she should do a real life superhero comedy next. And, shit, Sandy Powell, what can I say? This is real personal style, she did that, I need to borrow it, etc. etc. Thank you for breaking through the rote.
Gemma Chan! In Valentino! I hope it’s parachute silk but it’d be better if it were latex! Gemma Chan! Gemmaaaa!
Okay, I think tonight is making me a believer in the Spring NEONS trend, but also whomever said hot pink wasn’t a power color was tripping balls. Angela Bassett is giving us every ounce of red carpet juice, and it is suddenly astonishing to me that she hasn’t been booked for more fashion week runways. (Knowing her, though, she’s just said a lot of Nos). Hannah Beachler’s tangerine julius is on 11 very beautiful decibels, and Kasey Musgraves is back on her ultra-feminine shit.
Glenn Close is definitely trying to The Secret her Best Actress win with this gown; after her win at the Independent Spirit Awards last night, she might just get it.
I generally hate ruffles of this ilk but tonight it’s working for me? I mean, Jennifer Hudson is fully K.O.’ing this shit, lord willing they’re also letting her sing. The comedy ladies are doing their thing in a very comedy lady style; Maya Rudolph’s gone ‘70s late-night, Tina Fey did 1980s formal, and Amy Poehler’s posted up in a ‘90s-throwback power suit.
David Oyelowo looks like an Oxford professor in the best way; is it that tux chain? I feel like he’s going to give a really fascinating lecture on the poetics of diasporic English literature of the 19th century. TALLY HO, MY GOOD MAN. Dame Helen Mirren is doing some iridescent magic with this gown, like if Mermaiding went high-end. Leslie Bibb is a wisp ‘o’ the willow, which sometimes you gotta just do.
Allison Janney is giving deconstructed server; Amy Adams in a simple silhouette as ever. Jordan Peele and Chelsea Peretti in black and white and Twilight Zone sunnies. (Who else is excited for Twilight Zone?????)
Ice queens, okurr! Brie Larsen is a svelte diamond murker, and Charlize Theron’s dark nun is really working for me. Javier Bardem and Samuel L. Jackson are svelte, too, in all-black tuxes, which are pretty difficult to fuck up.
The inimitable Lisa Bonet: vibes and incense, but make it couture.
HAHHAHAHHAHAHHA MY HORMONES JUMPED OUT! JASON MOMOA MATCHED HIS SCRUNCHIE TO HIS TUX!
Chadwick Boseman’s long-tail tux and extra-swaggy scarf is worthy of a Wakandan king! Cicely Tyson, though, is really showing these young youth how to do it, just full ostrich feather and a perfect hat because it is Sunday after all. Laura Dern in eggplant.
Emma Stone is wearing one of my fave looks on her in ages, a full Cersei bronze that doesn’t wash her out. Lucy Boynton looks more goth here than she did on the television; Rami Malek is perhaps more understated than usual, which I am going to choose is because he’s really nervous about being nominated for Best Actor and doesn’t want to jinx it. Tessa Thompson is as usual snatched in Chanel, but I prefer her Independent Spirit Awards gown, which was Vaquera and utterly voluminous. Why are the Oscars so conservative, looks-wise? Is it nerves? Seems sad.
Jennifer Lopez is a walking selfie light ring; Pharrell and Helen Lasichanh are always the coolest people at the party; I love the idea of wearing camo and a baby doll dress to the Oscars. Grunge is having another moment, as you know! Sarah Paulson’s cut-out balloon sculpture is great, but I’m d-y-i-n-g about Rachel Weisz’s look BECAUSE I THINK THAT IS LATEX! GIVE ME LATEX ON THE CARPI!!!
HELLO! Danai Gurira is here for her coronation, give her her flowers! Queen Latifah and Serena Williams kept it understated and classy, left the bells and whistles to the nominees. Letitia Wright’s looking like a ballerina in a very delicate pink and airy fabric.
Chris Evans is such a goodboy type! Look at that tux jacket! Adorable. Emily Deschanel and Zooey Deschanel are wearing sweet and twee; Donna Jordan, with her son Michael B., is lovely in that off-the-shoulder number.
Lady Gaga in Marilyn Monroe realness, via McQueen and alien hips.
Olivia Colman in a mock turtleneck everyone! Slay queen, iconic, yass, etc. etc.
SZA TOP BILLING! It’s very DePop throwback but also incredibly fresh and right now. I want her to win!
Can you wait? I can’t wait!