HOLLYWOOD veterans and newcomers shone on the red carpet at the 85th annual Academy Awards on Sunday night while the usual best-dressed suspects looked like their stylists had gone on strike.
Fifty shades of white and deep autumnal hues of magenta, ruby and navy made an appearance via Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Garner and Amanda Seyfried, and were offset by the odd flash of bright coral thanks to Jennifer Aniston and Sally Field. Meanwhile metallic, lace and brocade textures together with form-fitting gowns and fishtail hemlines were as omnipresent as the size-0 waistlines.
A number of ill-fitting gowns appeared to have skipped their final fitting with a seamstress before sashaying down the red carpet. The most noticeable were seen hanging off Reese Witherspoon, in an azure and black Louis Vuitton number, Kristen Stewart, who accessorised her Reem Acra brocade and tulle gown with crutches, and Jessica Chastain, in a copper-tone embellished Giorgio Armani gown.
Donatella Versace pulled some surprises out of the garment bag with Jane Fonda and Halle Berry choosing to break the Oscars ballgown mould in bold-coloured, form-fitting structured gowns. Versace is not a name one would associate with restraint but the dresses had just the right amount of sparkle and sex appeal.
Angelina Jolie's right leg, the social media sartorial star of the 2012 awards, was upstaged by best supporting actress winner Anne Hathaway's pointy, Prada-covered nipples. The Twitter account @AnnesNipples gained a quick following after tweeting ''we have a life of our own. Angelina's leg was sooo [sic] last year.'' The Les Miserables star reportedly made a last-minute wardrobe switch and passed on wearing something from her close friend Valentino, opting instead for a pale pink Prada column gown with an open back and severe darts.
The Australian mafia upped the ante this year with Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman and Jacki Weaver all packing glittery heat. Watts, a regular recipient of the Academy's critical attention, cemented her place on the best-dressed list with a custom-made gunmetal grey sequinned Armani Prive gown. Nicole Kidman knows how to run the awards season race. Even though the Paperboy star missed out on a golden statue, she finished with a gold medal for her black and gold figure-hugging L'Wren Scott gown.
For her 2011 Oscars debut, Jacki Weaver accessorised her Collette Dinnigan gown with Paspaley pearls. Fast-forward two years and the Silver Linings Playbook star has evolved into a haute couture-wearing butterfly thanks to a flattering burgundy dress by US-born, Lebanese-based designer Rami Kadi which she accessorised with more than $2 million worth of jewels.
As the Academy's youngest nominee, nine-year-old Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhane Wallis stole the hearts of the fashion and film critics alike with her puppy purse which she styled with her Armani Junior gown. ''I've never seen a prettier dress in my whole life,'' she said.