There was glamour, there was all-over bling, there was gender equity, and then there was Lupita — all important entities that comprised an Academy Awards red carpet that shook up the status quo.
I'll admit: my expectations were pretty low since this lackluster red carpet season had been resting on the pink tulle train of Rihanna's Grammys quinceañara gown — the only stand-out moment in an awards show season awash with few risks. But like a dark horse, the Oscars strode in to save us from style doldrums, with more fashion, tulle, beads, and insightful red carpet questioning since…well, it's been a minute. Let's have a look, shall we?
LUPITA, BLACK PEARL:
Lupita. Oh, Lupita, Lupita, Lupita. You are a pronoun, a noun, a verb, an adjective, an onomatopoeia, a category unto yourself. You weren't even nominated this year, but somehow you curbed the sophomore slump (see: Gwyneth Paltrow) and stole the night away from the very hopeful ingenues who tried their best…ugh, but fell so, so short when you ascended from your
shell limo in that pearl-encrusted custom Calvin Klein gown. With a sizable nod to the original Black Pearl herself, Josephine Baker, we ask you to never, ever change. Like, out of that dress. Ever.
THE CRIMSON WAVE:
Like the parting of the Red Sea, crimson and sanguine looks flooded the the red-carpet last night. I mean, I don't quite know where Solange's draped layers start and stop, but we all know the girl can wear the heck out of a jumpsuit and a cape; tonight was no different. Rosamund Pike, Dakota Johnson, and Sophie Hunter's thigh-high slits were a stylish ventilation detail, while David Oyelowo was ever the British gentlemen in his three-piece (count 'em) suit.
SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND:
Iced-out to the fullest, leading ladies Lupita Nyong'o, Julianne Moore, Ava DuVernay, and Felicity Jones (among others) were literally shining like diamonds in the sky with their full on blinged-out dresses. Why rent rare, expensive jewelry that comes with an accompanying security detail when you can just pick a dress that's a verifiable sparkler?
LIKE WHITE ON RICE:
While so many of the dresses on the red carpet were as white as the Oscar nominees themselves, each starlet brought their own unique touch to the trend. Lady Gaga glided into the festivities in a Glinda the Good Witch ballgown from Alaïa, replete with crimson (trending!) gloves that conveniently covered up her engagement ring (boo!). Reese Witherspoon was ever the Southern soror sister in an off-the-shoulder Tom Ford gown and gently-waved hair, while Kerry Washington and Zendaya's satin numbers were giving me Jazz Age realness.
Dragging fabric around: Jennifer Lopez, who looked like Peaches 'n' Cream Barbie, incarnate (#noshade) and Marion Cotillard, whose Dior gown kicked up plenty of dust with its trailing train. Our minds are still blown that Rita Ora was nominated for an Academy Award, so we couldn't help but notice that the professional outfit changer and singer (?) waded onto the red carpet in a dress bigger than her actual career last night.
In fact, Lopez was one of a gaggle of ladies who dipped themselves into some shade of sherbet that evening. Zoe Saldana, fresh off twins, looked like a frothy confection; Keira Knightely and baby bump are literally blooming in Valentino; while Oprah looks like the sun — the star that looms largest in this here galaxy.
BUNS OF STEEL:
Leave it to Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike, and Gina Rodriguez to make the granny bun not so geriatric. Just peep Pike's buzzed underside and Rodriguez's throwback pompadour for further proof.
BOBS AND WEAVES:
Wavy, loose, uncomplicated: it seemed liked no one wanted to, like, actually do their hair last night. Gone were the complicated up-dos, bouffants, or ornate braids of years past. Instead: Just barely-done bobs with the slightest of curls. Save for teen queen Zendaya, who pulled an Academy Awards first with faux locks. The girl seems to love herself a wig. Remember her pixie lace front from the Grammys a few weeks ago?
By the throat! Scarlett Johansson and Cate Blanchett were garnished with layers of eye-popping, neck-nuzzling statement necklaces, while Laura Dern wrapped a literal medallion (maybe of her family shield?) around her necklace to cap off her all-over metallic look.
IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR:
Like I've said before, the only thing Hollywood loves more than celebrities are their kids, and that was never more true than at last night's Oscars. Hollywood royalty Melanie Griffith, and her offspring, Dakota Johnson, had a mother-daughter date night, complete with a mother-daughter red-carpet meltdown ("Gosh, Mooooom!"), while the Derns humble-bragged they have 7 Academy Award nominations in the family. Duly noted.
Have I been single for too long or did so many guys just look straight up foine (pronounced: pho-ine) at last night's Academy Awards?! The fellas of Tinseltown cleaned up so nicely — from Miles Teller to Common — with tuxes tailored just so and hair neatly slicked back. The guys even looked like they smelled good. My cup runneth over with #MCM options this week.
Marjon Carlos is a style and culture writer for Fusion who boasts a strong turtleneck game and opinions on the subjects of fashion, gender, race, pop culture, and men's footwear.