Red Carpet Report: Oscar Night

It's my first Oscar night in LA, and I've come to realize that the ceremony is to this city what the Super Bowl is to...well, everywhere else in the country. People throw parties in their honor, bars and restaurants erect big screens on which to watch the red carpet procession, there were more column inches devoted to 'Who's Going to Win' speculation last week than to the presidential race.

With all that buildup, my expectations were high - so maybe that's why I was disappointed? For one thing, where was everyone? I've never really followed the big awards ceremonies before, so am not sure if this is normal, but was quite surprised to see how few of the big-name celebrities actually turned up. No Brangelina, no Tomkat, no Reese or Kiera or Sienna or ANYONE, really, except for the obvious nominees (and, randomly, Miley Cyrus, Heidi Klum and Jessica Alba).

More than that, though, I was disappointed by the extremely safe (read, boring) dresses on the red carpet. Black and neutral and red and strapless and floor length - I mean, I have a feeling that most of it was out of respect for the writers, which would make more sense if the strike were still on - but it's not! The writers got what they wanted! And yes, I totally understand everyone did suffer for quite a few weeks, but I don't necessarily think a splash of color here and there is massively disrespectful. Or maybe I'm just massively insensitive...
Anyway, I still feel as though it's my duty as an honorary Angeleno and fashion writer to give you my top five looks of the night - although I will preface it by saying that none of them would have made my list if they'd appeared on the red carpet, say, last year:

1. Penelope Cruz in Chanel Couture
I love navy for evening, so was stoked to see so much of it on the red carpet this year. Penelope definitely did it best with this gorge gown by Chanel - I think it's a color that can look slightly dowdy on a dress that's too austere, and the draping and feather details were just enough to infuse it with a bit of glamour.

2. Anne Hathaway in Marchesa
Red is definitely Anne's color - she was absolutely glowing in this draped red Marchesa. She's got my vote for most improved from last year (remember the big black bow debacle?).

3. Renee Zellweger in Carolina Herrera
To me, Renee is the one actress who consistantly looks sophisticated and glamorous at every high-wattage event she attends. I can't remember one occasion where I was unimpressed with her look, and tonight was no different. The silver starburst pattern on her dress shrieks Old Hollywood glamour - it looks like it could be a very well-preserved vintage piece from the 40s.

4. Marion Clotillard in Jean Paul Gaultier Couture
Am pleasantly surprised at how well Gaultier's mermaid motif translated on this made-to-measure gown. Most certainly a best-actress-worthy look.

5. Heidi Klum in John Galliano
Apparently, Heidi's been getting her inspiration from Project Runway's Chris March - the exaggerated neckline of her Galliano gown is more than a little reminiscent of Chris' fine art challenge dress, as well as its inspiration earlier in the season. Not that it makes it any less chic, of course.

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