The Oscars Red Carpet Returns—Quieter but Absolutely Fierce
No more Zoom, no more stars at home. At the Oscars, Regina King, Carey Mulligan, Viola Davis, Zendaya, Chloé Zhao, and Colman Domingo were all dressed up with somewhere to go.
The real pros of Oscars night 2021 were the fashion team on E!, who for the opening minutes of their show—and then periodically as their three hours on air continued—just had tumbleweed for company on the red carpet. Jacqueline Coley from Rotten Tomatoes, Zanna Roberts Rossi, and Nina Parker showed themselves to be particularly consummate fillers of time, able to keep this unpredictable television truck rolling along.
This was, we were promised, the return of the red carpet. Well, the carpet was there, was red, and celebrities wandered down it. But Giuliana Rancic was beached on another side of a cordon, and so interviewees were conducted as if shouting at someone on the other side of the street.
Still, when the first celebrity, Best Supporting Actor nominee Paul Raci (The Sound of Metal), appeared, it was the night’s first lovely moment; he not only spoke his answers but signed them too with ASL.
The next shocking revelation: Diane Warren—will she finally win her Oscar, twelve times nominated—is looking for a date. Diane Warren! There should be a line of potential suitors pleading for her attention. She was wearing a white Valentino tux and glittery turtleneck.
Tiara Thomas, nominated for co-writing the song “Fight for You” with H.E.R., wrote on Twitter this week about getting new contacts just in time for the Oscars. Those were upstaged, beautifully, by her feathered white pantsuit, plunging corset top, and dangling diamond necklace. Pure radiance.
Borat’s Maria Bakalova also came dripping in ivory, courtesy a Louis Vuitton gown. With a plunging neckline and tutu skirt, the 24 year-old Hollywood newbie looked like a career veteran. Her diamond collar and teardrop earrings from Moussaieff Jewelry capped off the very classic vibe. Fun fact, courtesy of E!: her dress featured 100 meters of tulle. Heavy!
Leslie Odom Jr., with wife Nicolette Robinson in a beautiful black, leg-slit dress, came in gold Brioni.
Emerald Fennell, director of Promising Young Woman, described her hippy-ish Oscars aesthetic to E!’s Giuliana Rancic as “I am Susan, your pottery teacher who has a business opportunity for you which is absolutely not a pyramid scheme.” But make it fashion, of course. The dress was Gucci.
Alan S. Kim, 9-year-old star of Minari, stole the red carpet in Thom Browne tux with shorts and statement socks (one with stripes, one without). He excitedly told us about the bicycle, Fitbit, and iPad he had received as gifts. His co-star Yuh-Jung Youn spoke about how the film was achieved in very little time and with very little money.
Glenn Close, in glittering blue tunic with beading by Armani Privé and trousers and gloves (a nod to Armani's mother who loved gloves), told Rancic that Hollywood was in the middle of “reinventing” itself. Rancic asked how she chose roles. Close said, “First of all, I have to love the writing... and I don’t want to go over territory I’ve done before, psychologically and emotionally.”
Best Original Song nominee Celeste, who wrote “Hear My Voice” for The Trial of the Chicago 7, might win Best Accessory for that heart clutch. She matched it perfectly to her fringed cape top.
This is how you do lowkey metallics. Chloé Zhao, the first woman of color nominated for Best Director with Nomadland, brought a dressed-up neutral palette to the red carpet. She topped it off with braids and sneakers.
Viola Davis, wearing a beautiful white Alexander McQueen dress and Forevermark jewelry, said all the awards season love for Chadwick Boseman “feels right. He was authenticity on steroids.”
Carey Mulligan, nominated for Best Actress for Promising Young Woman, turned herself into a walking, talking statuette with a shimmering gold Valentino gown. Its extra-long, puffed-out skirt also the perfect pandemic bubble. Six feet has never looked so glamorous.
Andra Day came in gold custom Vera Wang Haute, and Tiffany jewels. A welder helped make the gown because it was made of metal.
You want statement sleeves? Marlee Matlin will give you statement sleeves. The presenter wore Vivienne Westwood in collaboration with Tencel.
More red on the red carpet from Amanda Seyfried, who brought it in Armani (and Forevermark jewelry). A very classic couture moment that proved, as the E! hosts kept saying, “Glamour is back!”
Riz Ahmed became a conductor of unapologetic lust from E! host Karamo Brown, in a tux and turtleneck.
Another breakout star of the evening: Jacqueline Coley, Rotten Tomatoes editor, who had the best Oscars trivia and intelligent insights on E!—and conveyed it all in a gorgeous trousered tux.
Vanessa Kirby, nominated for Pieces of a Woman, wore ballet pink Gucci. Very similar to the classic princess dress Gwyneth Paltrow put on to win her Best Actress Oscar back in 1999.
Regina King in custom Louis Vuitton, and Forevermark jewelry. Where to begin? From the angelic periwinkle color to the winged shoulders, this is fantasy all the way. Stylists Wayman Bannerman & Micah McDonald told E!’s Zanna Roberts Rassi that the gown contains 6,200 sequins and 4,000 crystals. Give it every award.
Zendaya arrived in custom Valentino, as one does. It was ab-bearing and highlighter yellow.
Reese Witherspoon also got the crimson red memo—hers was Dior.
Halle Berry debuted a fun pandemic hair switcharoo, which she paired with a chiffon eggplant-hued dress. Just add wind fan.
The definition of stunning: Angela Bassett with those sculptural sleeves and bow back gown. Bonus points for the shocking blue eye shadow.
Laura Dern wore a mock neck dress and a full feathered skirt. Perfect for dancing the night away, if this were a normal year full of afterparties.
H.E.R., a nominee for Best Original Song, absolutely owning it in her purple ensemble. Some on Twitter compared it to the outfit Prince wore to win his Oscar for Purple Rain in 1985.
The easiest job in the world might be dressing Margot Robbie in Chanel. Easy and effortless red carpet style. Colman Domingo wore the hottest and handsomest of pinks.
Laverne Cox nailed it in dramatic Christian Siriano. That tiered skirt!
There was red carpet action on the other side of the pond too. At a London Oscars screening, Lakeith Stanfield looked very ’70s—and very, very good—in custom Saint Laurent.
Olivia Colman, in London, continued the monochrome red trend. She even matched her shoes to the carpet.