The finish line is in sight! A-listers have glammed up for the Golden Globes, mellowed out for the SAGs, and pulled out almost all the stops for the Grammys (albeit mostly from the comfort of their homes). But the mother of all award shows will always be the Oscars, and it’s but a few short days away.
The sartorial brainstorming has begun for who’s going to be wearing what on Sunday night: Will Cynthia Erivo arrive in Valentino Haute Couture? Will we get another Vanessa Kirby in Gucci moment for the record books? Is it Oscar de la Renta for Mank’s Amanda Seyfried? All we can do is wait and see.
In an effort to help pass the time between now and Sunday night, we’re taking a trip down memory lane and reminiscing on the best red carpets of Oscars past. See which celebrities made the cut by clicking through the throwback looks ahead.
Audrey Hepburn, 1954
It never took much to make the late Audrey Hepburn look glamorous, but in this Givenchy gown, Hepburn, glowing from winning an Oscar for Roman Holiday, is nothing short of perfection.
Audrey Hepburn in Givenchy.Photo: NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images.
Grace Kelly, 1955
Designed by arguably the most famous costumier in history, Edith Head, Grace Kelly’s Oscars look was, like most Grace Kelly looks, an absolute winner.
Grace Kelly in Edith Head. Photo: Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.
Arm-in-arm with Michael Jackson and dripping in Old Hollywood glamour, there’s nothing we’d rather see Madonna wearing to the 63rd Annual Academy Awards than this Bob Mackie ensemble.
Madonna in Bob Mackie.Photo: Ron Galella/WireImage/Getty Images.
Winona Ryder, 1994
Who doesn’t love a Gatsby-esque gown at the Oscars? Photo: Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images.
Elizabeth Hurley, 1995
Head-to-toe white? Sweetheart neckline? Floor-length sequins? Check! Check! Check!
Elizabeth Hurley in Versace.Photo: Jim Smeal/WireImage/Getty Images.
Winona Ryder, 1996
While we’re used to seeing ’90s-era Winona Ryder donning all-black ensembles, it was an unexpected surprise to see her donning this champagne-colored vintage gown.
Winona Ryder in a vintage champagne gown. Photo: Jim Smeal/WireImage/Getty Images.
Courtney Love, 1997
The queen of grunge got all dolled up by Versace for the 1997 Academy Awards — and we support it 100%.
Courtney Love in Versace. Photo: Jim Smeal/WireImage/Getty Images.
Sharon Stone, 1998
We would normally advise against wearing Gap at the Oscars — but when it’s combined with Vera Wang and draped on Sharon Stone, it’s hard not to be convinced that the casual brand right where it belongs.
Sharon Stone in Gap and Vera Wang.Photo: Mychal Watts/WireImage/Getty Images.
Celine Dion, 1999
A suit on the red carpet is hardly a nuanced idea in 2021. But, in 1999, and worn backward of all things, well, let’s just say our fashion minds were blown upon seeing Celine Dion in this John Galliano set.
Celine Dion in John Galliano.Photo: SGranitz/WireImage/Getty Images.
Gwyneth Paltrow, 1999
Pretty In Pink might have starred Molly Ringwald, but Gwyneth Paltrow (that year’s Best Actress winner for Shakespeare in Love) looked the part in this bubblegum pink number by Ralph Lauren.
Gwyneth Paltrow in Ralph Lauren. Photo: Frank Trapper/Corbis/Getty Images.
Queen Latifah, 2000
Blue is definitely Queen Latifah’s color.
Queen Latifah in a blue dress. Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images.
Renée Zellweger, 2001
A long way from donning PJs all day and micro-minis at work in her role as Bridget Jones, Renée Zellweger classed up for the red carpet in a vintage yellow frock by Jean Dresses.
Renée Zellweger in a vintage dress by Jean Dresses.Photo: Chris Weeks/Getty Images.
Halle Berry, 2002
To become the first Black woman to win Best Actress, Halle Berry eliminated her competition — both on the red carpet and the stage — in this Elie Saab gown.
Halle Berry in Elie Saab.Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images.
Charlize Theron, 2004
Is Charlize Theron ever not glowing?
Charlize Theron in Dior.Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images.
Beyoncé Knowles, 2005
There to perform not one, not two, but three songs, Beyoncé went with a black velvet number that was made for her. Thanks, Atelier Versace!
Beyonce Knowles in Atelier Versace. Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images.
Michelle William, 2006
Accompanying her then-boyfriend, the late Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams was a shining ray of light in this yellow number by Vera Wang.
Michelle Williams in Vera Wang.Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.
Nicole Kidman, 2007
Nicole Kidman in Balenciaga would hardly be our first choice in 2021, but after seeing the Oscar-winning Australian actress in this red hot gown, we promise to never doubt the combination again.
Nicole Kidman in Balenciaga.Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.
Anne Hathaway, 2009
Is it just us, or does Anne Hathaway look like an actual Oscar in this fitted Armani Privé dress?
Anne Hathaway in Armani Privé.Photo: John Shearer/WireImage/Getty Images.
Cate Blanchett, 2011
In this lavender Haute Couture gown by Givenchy, Cate Blanchett wasn’t just an award-winning actress — she’s a damn fashion icon.
Cate Blanchett in Givenchy Haute Couture.
Michelle Williams, 2012
Wearing red on the red carpet isn’t for the faint of heart. Nonetheless, Michelle Williams, nominated for her role as Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn, made it look like the easiest task in the world, thanks to one hell of a pixie cut and 300 hours of work in the Louis Vuitton Paris atelier.
Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton.Photo: Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images.
Angelina Jolie, 2012
No one does a high slit quite like Mrs. Smith herself, Angelina Jolie, who generated one of the greatest Oscar memes ever with this pose.
Angelina Jolie in Atelier Versace. Photo: Donato Sardella/WireImage/Getty Images.
Jennifer Lawrence, 2013
En route to accept her Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook, Jennifer Lawrence had all eyes on her in this pastel-colored Dior gown. It was pretty chill, even for her.
Jennifer Lawrence in Dior. Photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images.
Lupita Nyong’o, 2014
Lupita Nyong’o — who won Best Supporting Actress for her role in 12 Years a Slave — lit up the sky in this baby blue Prada gown.
Lupita Nyong’o in Prada.Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images.
For an Oscars newbie, Zendaya looked anything but out of place in this Vivienne Westwood stunner of a gown.
Zendaya in Vivienne Westwood.Photo: Dan MacMedan/WireImage/Getty Images.
Sienna Miller, 2015
For his red carpet debut designing for Oscar de la Renta, Peter Copping made quite the impression with this bow-embellished, square neck gown on Sienna Miller.
Sienna Miller in Oscar de la Renta.Photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images.
Olivia Wilde, 2016
Olivia Wilde going backless in Valentino Haute Couture? We’ll take it.
Olivia Wilde in Valentino Haute Couture.Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images.
Taraji P. Henson, 2017
Taraji P. Henson blew us back to the 1950s in this Alberta Ferretti Old Hollywood-esque velvet gown. And that necklace? Whew, we’re getting excited just thinking about it.
Taraji P. Henson in Alberta Ferretti. Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.
Naomie Harris, 2017
Of the four Moonlight stars dressed by Raf Simons for Calvin Klein, this white sequin frock on Naomie Harris took home the prize (for best-dressed) in our book.
Naomie Harris in Raf Simons for Calvin Klein.Photo: George Pimentel/FilmMagic/Getty Images.
Saoirse Ronan, 2018
A long way from dress shopping at a Sacramento thrift shop! This bubblegum pink frock on Lady Bird lead actress Saoirse Ronan is one for the record books.
Saoirse Ronan in Calvin Klein By Appointment.Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images.
Margot Robbie, 2018
Margot Robbie was a breath of fresh air in this showstopping white gown courtesy of Chanel.
Margot Robbie in Chanel.Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.
Gemma Chan, 2019
Hot pink came out running at the 91st Annual Academy Awards. But if you ask us, Gemma Chan won the marathon in this neon, tiered Versace dress.
Gemma Chan in Versace. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.
Cynthia Erivo, 2020
From the extra-high slit to the asymmetric neckline, this custom Versace gown includes everything that’s good in the world.
Cynthia Erivo in custom Versace.Photo: Rick Rowell/Getty Images.
Scarlett Johansson, 2020
It’s the peek-a-boo corset for us.
Scarlett Johansson in Oscar de la Renta. Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images.
Beanie Feldstein, 2020
We’ll never grow tired of Beanie Feldstein wearing Miu Miu on the red carpet.
Beanie Feldstein in custom Miu Miu. Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images.
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