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Posted at 08:28 PM ET, 02/26/2012

Rooney Mara, Viola Davis, Michelle Williams and other Oscar best actress nominees on the red carpet

The best actress slate made a splash on the Oscar red carpet, choosing a slew of French designers and throwing fashion watchers some unexpected surprises.

( Oscars 2012: live blog )

Rooney Mara eschewed her go-to black for an ethereal ivory Givency gown, which she admitted to Ryan Seacrest she didn’t choose until Sunday morning.


Actress Rooney Mara arrives on the red carpet. (VALERIE MACON - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

The color of Michelle Williams ruffled Louis Vuitton gown—hotly contested on Twitter—is in fact coral (not red, as she clarified to Ryan Seacrest). Reports Katherine Boyle:

“Coral peplums is a smart move for Michelle Williams, wearing Louis Vuitton. She looked a bit underwhelming at the Golden Globes in Jason Wu. It shows she’s there to win. She’ll look radiant accepting a prize for playing an iconic figure. Since the film, she’s been trying hard to differentiate herself from the role, and in this outfit, she demonstrates that she can be glamorous and retro without evoking Marilyn. The Mia Farrow pixie helps.”


Actress Michelle Williams arrives at the 84th Annual Academy Awards. (Jason Merritt - GETTY IMAGES)

Viola Davis, not only wowed in an emerald Vera Wang, but showed off her natural hair and a dazzling pair of Lorraine Schwartz earrings. Read more .


Actress Viola Davis arrives at the 84th Annual Academy Awards . (Jason Merritt - GETTY IMAGES)

Academy Awards golden girl Meryl Streep arrived gilded from head to toe in a dress by Lanvin.


Actress Meryl Streep arrives at the 84th Annual Academy Awards . (Jason Merritt - GETTY IMAGES)

A serious look for a serious actress: Glenn Close struck a pose in Zac Posen.


Actress Glenn Close arrives at the 84th Annual Academy Awards. (Jason Merritt - GETTY IMAGES)

Do you think the nominees’ sartorial selections lived up the hype? Share your impressions in the comments below and check back later tonight for our list of best dressed.

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By Marie Elizabeth Oliver  |  08:28 PM ET, 02/26/2012

Categories:  Oscars | Tags:  Awards Season

 
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