The Washington Post

Jessica Chastain: Was her dress a red-carpet success?

Was it artistry — or upholstery? Jessica Chastain, Oscar nominee for her role in “The Help” (she lost to co-star Octavia Spencer) turned heads in a divisive Oscar dress that inspired love-it-or-hate-it opinions. She wore a black and gold embellished Alexander McQueen gown with Brian Atwood shoes and Harry Winston jewelry. The look landed her on many best-dressed lists — and a few lists of the worst looks.

Jessica Chastain arrives before the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Chastain, who sweetly brought her grandmother with her to the ceremony, told the Hollywood Reporter, “There was something about the embroidery of this dress. It felt larger than life — and this is a larger-than-life moment. I always wanted to be an actor. Most little girls dream of their wedding dresses; I grew up dreaming of my Oscar dress.”

Jessica Chastain arrives before the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012. (Chris Pizzello/AP)

The Post’s Ned Martel was even harsher in his red carpet assessment: “Her goth gown featured a mess of appliques that looked like it was licked by flames. Worse than that: Its strapless top gathered up the skin at her shoulders as if she were in a yanked-tight corset.”

Nevertheless, many other fashion critics called the dress one of the best of the evening. It landed on Vogue’s top 10 list, and People’s 15 best-dressed list, with the latter calling the gown “all-out glamour.” Twitter users also voted Chastain best-dressed, according to the AFP.

What did you think of Chastain’s look? Vote for her and other stars in our Oscar red carpet poll.

View Photo Gallery: Stars float down the red carpet in Los Angeles.

More on the Academy Awards:

‘The Artist’ wins best picture; Streep takes home third career Oscar

TV review: Oscar’s wishful thinking

Academy Award winners 2012: Full list led by “The Artist.”

At the Governors Ball, Meryl Streep, Billy Crystal, Melissa McCarthy and more

Oscars 2012: The comprehensive Academy Awards recap

Oscars red carpet Q&A

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.


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