Every year the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute throws its gala. And every year, oodles of celebrities use their invitations to said gala as an excuse to wear over-the-top, extravagant ensembles to the event.

View Photo Gallery: Celebrities arrived on the red carpet for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute gala in New York.

As is always true at any red-carpet soiree where famous people are forced to dress pretty for the camera, some people do it better than others. So let’s take a look at which celebs wore the best, worst and weirdest gowns to the Met ball, from the perspective of someone who is writing this assessment while still wearing her pajamas.

The Best

Cate Blanchett

I mean, come on. Cate Blanchett doesn’t even make this a fair fight. I’d like to see Blanchett try hard someday not to look elegant and sophisticated and sublime. Because even if she gave it her best effort — even if she wore an aluminum garbage can with a huge butt bow attached to it — we’d all still say, “Cate Blanchett looks gorgeous, doesn’t she?” Because she does. Always.

(Charles Sykes/AP)

Emma Stone

Admittedly, Emma Stone looks like a frightened Raggedy Ann doll in this picture. But she’s such a cute frightened Raggedy Ann doll.

(Charles Sykes/AP)

Sarah Jessica Parker

I could not make that dress work. You could not make that dress work. No one we know personally could make that dress work. Sarah Jessica Parker, however, can make that dress work.

(Charles Sykes/AP)

Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake

This is what elegance looks like, people. Can’t wait to see the wedding photos.

(Evan Agostini/AP)

Lea Michele

Lea Michele, striking a clearly contrived pose on a red carpet? I can’t believe it! Whatever. I can’t even tease her for doing that because she looks too hot. Also, she totally embarrassed herself in front of Whoopi Goldberg last week, so we should be nice to her.

(Evan Agostini/AP)

Marion Cotillard

Of all the people who donned sheer fabrics at the Met ball, Cotillard did it best. This is slightly daring but still chic and beautiful.

(Charles Sykes/AP)

Nina Dobrev

This striking gown ensured the “Vampire Diaries” star would be prominently photographed. (Overheard after this photo was taken: “Um, okay. Now how do I walk?”)

(Charles Sykes/AP)

Emily Blunt and John Krasinski

Love Blunt’s choice of blush pink. I also love the way her husband Krasinski is gazing at her.

(Evan Agostini/AP)

The worst


I know, I know. Dissing Beyoncé’s look at her first splashy event post-partum seems horrible. Indeed, it might even be blasphemoncé.

I do give her props for wearing such a revealing number as a new mama. I just didn’t think this one was particularly attractive or flattering.

(Evan Agostini/AP)

Gwyneth Paltrow

Paltrow definitely has the legs to pull this off. But the dress seems kind of boring and unflattering, especially for a star who usually looks pretty flawless.

(Evan Agostini/AP)

Cameron Diaz

Does Diaz look happy in this? No, Diaz does not. And she shouldn’t. Her bod was done a disservice by this mother-of-the-bride meets Marilyn McCoo-on-“Solid Gold” mash-up.

(Charles Sykes/AP)

Scarlett Johansson

Black Widow? Try disappointed Cinderella. The beaded bodice of Johansson’s gown is pretty, but the droopy shoulders just make the whole thing look, well droopy.

(Charles Sykes/AP)

Christina Ricci

Ricci is petite. Some might even say wee. All that nude-toned sash-ery really overwhelms her tiny frame, and what otherwise was a a simple but chic look for her.

(Evan Agostini/AP)

Kristen Wiig

I actually like this dress. But for some reason, it doesn’t seem quite right for Wiig. Is it possible that she and Zooey Deschanel engaged in a dress swap?

(Charles Sykes/AP)

The weird

Mary-Kate Olsen

Oh, look, it’s one of the stars from the “Twilight” movies . . . oh, wait, no! It’s an Olsen twin dressed up like a member of the Volturi.

(Charles Sykes/AP)

Kristen Stewart

Now here is an actual “Twilight” star. Stewart was clearly aiming for her usual rock-and-roll, edgy look. But instead she wound up with what appears to be one of Julia Roberts’s costume leftovers from “Pretty Woman.”

(Evan Agostini/AP)

Elizabeth Banks

Is this dress weirder or less weird than the ensembles Effie Trinket normally wears? Let’s see . . . here’s her Met Ball dress . . .

(Charles Sykes/AP)

And here’s Effie Trinket.


Verdict: Banks’s hair and makeup at the Met Ball is far less weird than Effie’s. But the dresses are a tie.

Florence Welch

She came dressed as a multi-tiered doily. Unconventional choice.

(Charles Sykes/AP)

Marc Jacobs

So, just to clarify: This guy designs apparel and accessories? And people spend a lot of money on that apparel and those accessories? Okay. Just making sure.

(Charles Sykes/AP)

And, last of all, Lana Del Rey

This dress isn’t among the best, the worst or the weirdest. I share this photograph mainly because I am entranced by the dramatic expression on Lana Del Rey’s face. “Mr. DeMille,” it says, “I’ve experienced my mega-screw-up on ‘Saturday Night Live.’ And now I’m ready for my close-up.”

(Charles Sykes/AP)