By Maureen Jenkins
In a year filled with an amazingly diverse group of Academy Award nominees and films, it’s only fitting that looks spotted on the Kodak Theatre red carpet spanned the style gamut, as well. There were starlets in strapless gowns and beautifully bare necks; over-50 actresses in dramatically stunning flesh-tone gowns. And while we won’t call any names, there were those who would have done better to skip the oversized shoulder bows, cropped jackets and overdone dress jewelry and let their lovely gowns speak for themselves.
But here, a peek at those whose red carpet looks earned them four-star reviews tonight.
See photos of these outfits and more in the Sun-Times fashion Oscars photo gallery.
Best solo stroll
Reese Witherspoon in a word? STUNNING. She’s never looked better since ditching husband Ryan Phillippe, and tonight’s royal purple strapless gown — framed by super-sleek straight blond hair — proved yet again that looking fabulous is the best revenge.
Best red carpet comeback appearance
We haven’t seen much of Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow on televised red carpets lately, but she made quite the dramatic comeback tonight in a melon pleated Zac Posen gown.
Best gangster ’do
In “The Departed,” Leonardo DiCaprio played an undercover cop infiltrating the Boston mob, but he strolled the red carpet with slicked-back hair just right for a stylized gangster.
Best vintage-inspired flashback
Although Jennifer Lopez walked the red carpet in a vintage-looking stone-adorned, empire waist gown from Marchesa (she also wore Marchesa to this year’s Golden Globes), the design was new. But her much shorter bobbed hair looked straight out of a 1960s roller set (albeit a glamorous Hollywood-ready one).
Best Impersonation of a Gift-Wrapped Car
Just what was Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman thinking when she chose this gown? The bold red color’s fine, the halter style is fine — but that gargantuan bow on her shoulder makes her look like she should be standing under a Christmas tree rather strolling than a red carpet.
Strongest Resemblance to a Tootsie Roll
Hubby and former Vice President Al Gore looked handsome in a black tux, but wife Tipper should have thought twice before choosing this off-the-shoulder chocolate thing.
Best Appearance by a “Woman of a Certain Age”
And Queen Elizabeth-playing Helen Mirren wears her 61 years fabulously well. Garbed in a striking flesh-toned and cleavage-bearing (as usual for Dame Mirren) Christian Lacroix gown, she proves that although your age suggests AARP, your sense of style can remain timeless.
“Dreamgirls” co-star Keith Robinson hardly was ther most recognized man on the red carpet, but he certainly was one of the dreamiest in a simple three-button Hugo Boss black tux, wide platinum tie and a single earring stud.