We expected more sleek dresses at the 2017 Academy Awards based on current runway trends, but this turned out to be a very princess-y red carpet. Still, I feel like we loved more gowns than we hated, which is a surprising twist. Below, Nicole and I run down our picks for the best and worst dressed at this year’s Oscars:
Jen: It takes a lot for me to get excited about a simple black strapless dress, but Kirsten Dunst cuts such a striking silhouette on the red carpet in this hourglass Dior it’s hard not to single her out. (I love that we both texted each other “boobs!” as soon as we saw her. Much like we did when we first saw Brie Larson.) Stunning.
Nicole: I love her bold lipstick and the elegant and whimsical choker. The dress was incredibly flattering. Love.
Nicole: When I saw Viola Davis, my first reaction was that Armani Privé had made a clear bet on who they thought would win best supporting actress (as they treated her so much better than Kidman — see below). It runs counter to the princess trend and is sleek, elegant and exquisite. Viola has had a great 2017 awards season and this is a gorgeous finale.
Jen: Yup, she was far and away my fave of the night in this red stunner. As soon as I saw her I tweeted that I forgave her for submitting in the wrong category AND for the HTGAWM finale. That’s how good this dress is.
Jen: Hailee Steinfeld’s Ralph + Russo dress photographs a bit bridal but I was in love with how it moved when she walked down the red carpet. The metallic underlays add a bit of edge to it. I love that she experimented – she usually dresses too old for her age but this is fun and frothy.
Nicole: Are you friggin’ kidding me? She’s wearing gold foil pasties! The dress is otherwise okay, but I just couldn’t get over the obviousness of the top.
Nicole: God, Scarlett Johansson is so beautifully cool. The dress is great but combined with her hair and the belt she radiates IDGAF.
Jen: This belted Alia is the perfect dress for a presenter. Cool, edgy but not scene-stealing.
Jen: I usually don’t love Elie Saab gowns, but Janelle Monae can wear a weird, clashing patterned sheer oddity and make it art. It doesn’t photograph as well but when she first stepped onto the red carpet, she was so regal and commanding that it took my breath away.
Nicole: She’s so iconically cool. The headband was lovely but not cutesy. Her skirt was a bit much (is that feathers?) but the top was gorgeous.
Nicole: Taraji P Henson owns this red carpet. Her midnight blue velvet Alberta Ferretti is Cookie-meets-elegance. The slit is beautiful and she’s so perfectly herself in that dress.
Jen: Leave it to Taraji P. Henson to have me gushing about a velvet dress (which no one else could ever make me do). We don’t deserve her.
Jen: The two greatest mysteries in Hollywood: why does Felicity Jones keep getting cast in absolutely everything, and why she’s allergic to colour? Tom + Lorezno aptly called this drab Dior “the colour of old bras”. It’s also hitting her at a weird, unflattering place at her waist.
Nicole: No jewelry? No belt to pull it together and give her a waistline? Maybe a hint of lipstick? Work with me here, Felicity.
Nicole: Dakota Johnson is a mess in this matronly gold Gucci… gown? My living room erupted in laughter at her comment: “I’m wearing Cartier. From a museum.” Basic. Also, what on earth is happening to her forehead? Explain this to me.
Jen: I assumed that Dakota Johnson was going to wear Gucci and I was going to be disappointed, and she didn’t let me down. She really leaned into the badness with this one though, thanks to the wrinkles, puckered seams (just say no to sateen, famous people!), and terribly flat hair.
Jen: Jessica Biel’s body is banging so good for her I guess, but man I do not love this sparkly body con KaufmanFranco topped with a weird-ass Tiffany necklace. I hate the low bun too, even though I know Nicole is going to tell me it’s very on-trend.
Nicole: The low bun is on trend but hers looks terrible. The dress is a mess and her theatrical husband is THE worst. Also, WTF is happening with her makeup? The critics in my living room would all like to know how she hit the red carpet in a failed cat eye.
Nicole: When I saw Nicole Kidman’s Armani Privé dress, my first thought was “Wait, no parrots?” I prayed that when she turned around there would be baby doll heads stapled to the train or something but alas, just a simple nude dress. Zzzzzzz.
Jen: Agreed! My greatest wish for this red carpet (besides Emma Stone not wearing sparkles) was that Nicole Kidman would keep up the weird witch lady style thing she’s been rocking lately. Instead, she bores us with this pale halter.
Jen: I know this is a contrary opinion (at least, it sure seems like it judging by Twitter’s reaction to this dress), but I was a little disappointed by Ruth Negga’s custom Valentino. I like the crown and the red eyeshadow, but I find the neckline to be a bit dowdy. It doesn’t help that Ginnifer Goodwin is wearing basically the same dress.
Nicole: The neckline killed it for me. I expect weirder and cooler from her. This was neither.
Nicole: Oh, Emma Stone. I feel like this is the same Givenchy dress I’ve seen over and over all through this season. She took no risks. It’s not a fail so much as a disappointment.
Jen: I mean, this is fine and I actually don’t hate the fringe detail or the dark lip but I’m not blown away. Same with Michelle Williams for me. They both look lovely but are not the bold statements I was hoping they would be.