The most important annual event in film, and quite possibly in fashion, highlighted a return to couture this year. From muted colors to bold reds - the favorite choices of Sunday night's Academy Awards attendees - stars opted for dresses reminiscent of classic Hollywood glamour, with a hint of Black Swan feathered creativity and inspiration.
The Twitterverse went wild over Jennifer Hudson's tangerine-red Versace gown, not just for its beauty but mostly because of the way it wrapped and accentuated her brand-new slim and toned physique. She was one of several actresses lighting up the red carpet with bright and bold reds.
Best-actress nominee Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) was the first to arrive in front of L.A.'s Kodak Theatre in red, a formfitting, slinky dress by Calvin Klein. Other actresses rocking red were Sandra Bullock, show host Anne Hathaway, and new mother Penélope Cruz.
Nude, champagne-colored hues also dominated the evening. But these muted gowns were anything but boring.
Former Academy Award winners and style icons Halle Berry (in Marchesa) and Hilary Swank (in Gucci) accented their gowns with feathers, sequins, and top-tier detailing. Precocious and fashion-conscious best-supporting-actress nominee Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) also selected this theme, but with a youthful, age-appropriate Marchesa as she flaunted a sweet, champagne-pink dress that she helped design.
Others opting for light over dark were Michelle Williams and Mandy Moore.
Tweethearts were not so kind and receptive to Cate Blanchett's lilac Givenchy gown, which was selected by Hollywood stylist and pal Rachel Zoe. Although the star took a designer risk that had fashion-industry insiders tripping over their stilettos, the average eye did not see the unique quality and thoughtfulness of Blanchett's overall look.
Helena Bonham Carter? Well, she didn't disappoint. Nesty do, black dress designed by costume designer. And a Union Jack tattoo.