The hype surrounding Lupita Nyong’o and Jennifer Lawrence was inescapable Sunday night, perhaps stealing some attention from other deserved actresses and what was overall a strong showing on the red carpet.
Margot Robbie, the break-out star from “Wolf of Wall Street,” was nearly unrecognizable upon first glance. The once golden-haired actress debuted new chestnut colored locks which made her pale eyes even more searing. The Australian beauty looked much more like a carbon copy of Sophia Loren than the Brooklyn-accented bombshell she played alongside Leonardo DiCaprio.
Robbie’s black Saint Laurent dress by Heidi Slimane was not as striking as the white and green Gucci she wore to the Golden Globes, but the bow detail was a lovely touch.
Karen O, the lead vocalist of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs known for an eclectic, rocker-chic aesthetic, provided another exquisite shock. Her black satin Camilla Staerk dress somehow felt congruent with her persona and exceptionally glamorous.
Another unexpected stand-out was Lady Gaga, who looks to be morphing into a Donatella Versace doppelganger. Gaga has been the designer’s muse of late, starring in her ads and attending her couture show in January. The frequent provocateur was mellow in a metallic column straight from the collection, a look that may be dramatic for some but restrained in light of a dress of raw meat.
Cate Blanchett and Kate Hudson, of course, were no shrinking violets. The red carpet perennials were muted in their color palettes, which would have stood out amongst the darker hues, though it seemed most had the same eye for off-whites and blushes. And hats off to Hudson for keeping the cape trend on track.
There were few unsuccessful choices. Anna Kendrick’s hemline was a confusing mess when coupled with asymmetric cut-outs on top.
Viola Davis’s teal Escada was gorgeous with her complexion but the drop waist threw proportions off a bit.
Charlize Theron’s sheer illusion straps make the bodice look like two floating points that had been starched to stand straight. However, the Harry Winston jewels she paired with the dress are reported to be worth $15 million which, of course, leaves Theron in a queenly realm of her own.
More on the Academy Awards
Film critic Ann Hornaday: The Oscars go according to plan
TV critic Hank Stuever: Happily wasting too much time at Ellen’s easy-does-it Oscars show
Full recap: Oscars 2014