best and worst dressed oscars 2011

I do realize we have important world events happening right now.  Hosni Mubarak is no longer the president of Egypt, Muammar Gaddafi is about to be overthrown in Libya, and there’s been a terrible earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.  It seems more than a little trivial to talk about a handful of Hollywood celebrities strutting down a red carpet before they all give each other awards, but it is what it is.  Watching the red carpet before the Oscars is my version of the Superbowl.  Highlights, close-ups, stills, and replays are the best part of Oscar night.  Seriously, it’s the end of awards show season and everyone loves to bring out the crazy.

I was underwhelmed by the dresses on the red carpet at the Oscars last night.  Underwhelmed.  So now, without further adieu, my unbridled opinion of the dresses.  Take it for what it is.

Best Dressed Oscar Dresses:

best dressed

I didn’t have a ton of favorites, but I did love Jennifer Hudson and Hilary Swank.  Part of me hates that Jennifer Hudson got famous and lost a ton of weight, I thought she was lovely the way she was, but she does look hot, I won’t lie.  She nailed her dress at the Oscars, even though it was boob central, that color and cut were phenomenal on her.

Hilary Swank nailed her dress; I especially love the gradation of color on the feathers at the bottom.  Nicely done ladies.

best dressed oscars

Michelle Williams is kind of adorable, isn’t she?  Although her interview with Ryan Seacrest left a little wanting {AHEM.  Ryan, oh Ryan}, I really thought she looked beautiful.  The dress was a little boxy for her petite little frame, but I liked the texture and the length, a lot.  Would it have killed her to add some color though?

Scarlett Johanssen’s dress was gorgeous.  The color, the length, and the beautiful oval cutout in the back.  Loved it.

reese witherspoon  oscars 2011

Reese Witherspoon: amazing.  Maybe it’s because she was wearing what was basically my prom dress circa 1994-1995, but I loved it.  She looked a little bit 1960’s hottie, and I think she very perkily rocked the red carpet.  Her new little diamond accessory engagement ring didn’t hurt.  Go Reese, I adore you.

sharon stone oscars

Thank you Sharon Stone.  Thank you, thank you. She brings the crazy like nobody else’s business and I was so excited to see her looking particularly Sharon last night.  Her dress was a disaster but her makeup artist did a phenomenal job.

mila kunis

Now let’s talk about Mila Kunis.  I think she’s gorgeous.  Talented.  Her dress was marvelous on the runway, but in practicality I hated it.  Boobs, hello!  Hello Mila boobs! Also, the scowling on the red carpet was a little much.  Sweetie, be grateful to be at the Oscars, don’t scowl.

Marisa Tomei: Marisa, honey.  Her dress is almost what my sister wore to her wedding in 1989.  I didn’t like it in white, I hate it in navy.

halle berry

I need your help with Halle Berry and Penelope Cruz, I really do.

Halle’s dress had a very ethereal quality to it, and Halle couldn’t look bad if she tried.  Her dress though, well, it sort of looked like someone took some leftover tulle and a staple gun to her dress right before she jumped out of the limo.  And again, the lack of color is KILLING ME HERE.

Penelope, now, she had a baby like five minutes ago and I wish I could be so lucky to look like she does in a dress.  I mean, she looked amazing.  Her boobs, {again with the boobs ladies!} were totally out of control though.  I was waiting for a nip-slip, but I assume her stylist had that under control with a whole lot of double stick tape.  She rocked the dress, but the Dynasty flavor of the glitter down the front was not so much my favorite.  Thanks for wearing a color though Penelope, you made my night!

cate blanchett

I saved the best for last.  Cate Blanchett.  I love her, truly.  I think she’s amazing, talented, gracious, lovely, graceful, and beautiful.  She can hardly make a wrong move.  Her dress was concerning though, very concerning.

Modular, beady, oddly shaped, weirdly colored.  It was hit and miss in my twitter stream last night: people loved it or hated it.  I was in the hate pile.

That’s my wrap-up friends, but I want to know what you think.  Any you loved, hated, or just don’t care about?  Spill.

Images from In Style.



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Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. Jamie S :

    Overall kind of blah.

    LOVED Michelle William’s hair and make up – I want to look just like her someday.

    I hated Scarlett’s dress, well hated it for the Oscar’s, would have been great for an after party. Also didn’t like Nicole Kidman’s – like her better in color.

    Loved Helen Mirren – proof that you can age gracefully.

    That Hailey Steinfeld looked adorable – as she has all awards season.

  2. Kelly :

    Hah, I loved Cate, Mila, Sandra and Gwyneth. Amy Adams though? BAD. Why the necklace ON TOP of the glittery dress?

  3. Allison :

    Oh, Cate. What a gorgeous woman, but that dress… hideous. Which was so disappointing because she almost always looks fabulous. That yellow gown with the deep red belt the year she won the Oscar, that black gown with the amazing gold column down the back… she so often rocks it. But this was atrocious. I could barely believe my eyes. We literally gasped in dismay at my party. I trust she’ll do better next year.

    Also in the hideous column goes Nicole Kidman, but I think she spends a lot of time there.

    Penelope Cruz is one of the most gorgeous women (and her husband is dreamy) but it looked like she had put on about 15 pounds since her last fitting for that gown. It just needed to be let out in several places. Otherwise, I loved it.

    Also loving Gwyneth Paltrow’s sleek, shiny number, Helen Mirren’s gunmetal gray (sweet fancy Moses, is that woman capable of looking bad?), Natalie Portman’s purple, perfect-pregnancy-curve-accentuating gown, and Hailee Steinfeld’s lovely capper to an awards season spent looking both gorgeous and age appropriate.

    I think my favorite of the night was the creamy yellow number Anne Hathaway wore to open the show. Those ropes of crystals forming the bodice? Yes, please.

  4. Southernchic :

    Sadly, I did not like Jennifer Hudson’s dress. The color was nice but the fit around the bust line killed it for me. Something about the dress just looked cheap.

    Loved Michelle Williams, Sandra Bullock, Mila and Gwenyth. Their looks were chic and simple.

  5. Jenni :

    I agree about the Mila Boobs. It was like peekaboo pasties. Not great. And, if the shoulders had just been a little softer, I think Cate Blanchett’s dress would have been perfection (although my husband took a look and said it was like she had spilled Nerds all over herself).

    I also agree about Jennifer Hudson. The “I’m thin now and thin is better,” business kind of bugs me. She was always lovely and always looked happy and smiley so, while I commend her effort, it’s not like she wasn’t beautiful before.

  6. Marisa :

    I didn’t watch the Oscars. I much prefer to let you bloggers do the recaps for me. Much faster that way. (Thank you.) :)

    1. Jennifer Hudson. OK, I’m going to be completely cheeky here. I know when you lose a ton of weight, it does weird things to your skin and body shape. But do those boobs look a tad high to anyone else? The flatness I expect from the weight loss, but they just look oddly high. . .

    2. Halle Berry. You were right on with the staple gun. Yep.

    3. Penelope Cruz. I can go either way with this. I could request that she wear something a little less form-fitting to hide those post-partum rolls, or I could congratulate her for having the courage to let ’em show. I’m leaning toward the latter, cuz that’s a rockin dress.

    4. Cate Blanchett. That’s not a dress. It’s a skirt with a cardboard cutout bodice. What’s up with that?

    5. Anne Hathaway. I’m biased because I love her. I didn’t see every dress she wore last night, but the ones I did see were tasteful, fairly modest, and elegant. That chick is wise beyond her years. . . and/or has a sage stylist.

  7. Kristen :

    So funny – as soon as Reese walked out I said to my husband, “That was my prom dress in ’93.”

  8. Kacie :

    i think i’m the ONLY person on the planet, apart from Cate herself, that totally loved her dress…
    forgive me :)

  9. Kacey :

    Jennifer Hudson’s awkward cleavage ruined the whole look for me. Which is too bad because I actually love that color on her.

  10. Kimm :

    I loved Mila’s dress. I think it was beautiful on her. I also loved a majority of Anne’s looks last night (except that pleather looking blue one at the end of the show. Yikes.) I need to get my hands on her gorgeous shoes she wore during her Hugh Jackman number. Sandra Bullock looked stunning. Nicole Kidman was leading my diaster train last night, ugh. I didn’t care for Scarlett’s dress either, I didn’t feel it was red carpet worthy, not for the Oscar’s at least. I have to agree with you that I was rather underwhelmed with the fashion.
    Can we please just mention the men for a second? Christian Bale looked like a homeless man with that ridiculous beard. Would it kill these guys to get a haircut/shave for big events like this. A beautiful suit was ruined by unruly hair. Russell Brand looks like he hadn’t showered in days.

  11. Julie Summerhays :

    Too much droopy boob for Jennifer Hudson for me and her hair seemed way too “done”. I loved the color though and I think she’s just proud to show off her hot bod now (besides those boobs)! I actually didn’t mind Cate’s dress – it was super funky, but the hair – she looked really old to me for some reason with that cut. My fav was Mila – I just loved the color and everything – sorry…..

  12. Barb @ getupandplay :

    I agree that J Hud’s cleavage was out of control and I didn’t care for the fabric of the dress- it didn’t look good on camera. And Mila’s dress was too revealing- it looked like lingerie! I was kind of over the sparkles just for sparkles sake- many of the dresses last night would have looked way better without them! Reese Witherspoon looked pretty but I kept thinking that she was just ripping off Julia Roberts’ look from the year that she won her oscar (black and white, big bouffant hair…) And I have to disagree with you, I think Scarlett Johannson’s dress was one of the worst. But I do agree with you on Marisa Tomei- it’s just too dark and ill-fitting. (Man, I have some strong opinions here apparently!)

    I LOVED Natalie Portman’s dress- it was the best one she’s worn all awards season. I like Cate Blanchett’s dress, it was structural and interesting! Sandra Bullock looked amazing, although I didn’t like her hair. Hailee Steinfeldt was the best dressed in my opinion- perfect! I loved Amy Adams’ dress- why did she have to ruin it with that necklace???

  13. Megan :

    I am so not fashion-y at all, but I have to say that the scarlet gown Anne Hathaway wore on the red carpet was absolutely delicious. All that sumptuous rippling fabric!

    P.S. Helena Bonham Carter scares me.

  14. Marianne :

    Gwyneth was my favourite of the night. Not a dress for hiding sins, so I couldn’t take my eyes off her ‘sinless’ figure. LOVED IT!!

  15. Holly :

    My sister and I go through the couture collections every year pre-Oscars and pick out the dresses we would wear if we ever got invited (never going to happen, but a girl can dream). My sister chose a lovely gold Elie Saab. And I chose Cate Blanchett’s Givenchy dress. I couldn’t believe it when I saw her wearing it. So obviously I think it was gorgeous. To each their own I guess, because I was not a fan of Reese or Scarlett.

  16. Vanessa :

    Oh Gwen Paltrows was my FAV by far. But you were right overall…bleh. Do you ever watch Rachel Zoe? I loved her episodes going over all the work it takes for these dresses, really had no idea.

  17. Jenny :

    I want to know where Penelope Cruz fit the nursing pads in that dress…

  18. Anne :

    I couldn’t love Reese Witherspoon any more–she is so glamourous!
    I LOVE that multiple people also had that prom dress in the mid-90s. Except that mine was shorter in the front than in the back (hangs head in shame).
    I liked Cate Blanchett’s dress. No one but her could have worn it–weird, but oddly beautiful.

  19. Angie :

    My favorite by far was ScarJo’s dress. It was the only one that caused me to say, “Oooo! Pretty!”. And Cate Blanchett, though beautiful, looked like Penelope Cruz’s baby pooped all over the back of her dress. Ugh.

  20. Elizabeth Finney :

    You know, someone – was it InStyle? – said that Cate Blanchett’s dress was great, so I’m so relieved to see that someone else thinks, What? Just REALLY unattractive to me. Maybe it’s one of those dresses that’s better when you’re actually there – remember the year that Gwyneth wore that black Goth awfulness and all I could think was, It must have looked good to her when she put it on and just NOT. PHOTOGRAPH. WELL. I really liked Helen Mirren’s dress too. She almost always does such a good job.

  21. Katrina Babic :

    Sharon Stone’s hair looks like the bride of Frankenstein… put a white streak in it and BAM! I am with you on Cate’s dress… hated it!

  22. Marianne Firth :

    Loved almost every one of Anne Hathaway’s looks for the night. The first cream/bejeweled number and that navy, sparkly one? Out of control gorgeous. Thanks for the recap, sometimes I get a bit too snarky after reading Go Fug Yourself for all my Oscar coverage. You give a nice balance.

  23. Debbie Cranberry Fries :

    I think my favorite was Reese Witherspooon though she’s been a favorite of mine forever so I’m sure that was swayed some. She’s just so darn adorable.

  24. Sofia :

    I think I am one of the few that LOVED Cate’s dress!! I would change te shoulder pads (?) but besides that I loved it!