It was a long, hard journey. But finally, we’ve made it to the good stuff.
Angelina Jolie in Atelier Versace
I almost left Angelina off of the list because I was annoyed by her brazen posing. Every time she stopped to hold still, she pushed Brad Pitt aside to give the photogs some leg action. But when Donatella gives you a gown with a slit, she expects you to work it, so I forgive her.
I love the neckline on this gown. I love how the skirt is full and lightly flowy but still has structure.
Penelope Cruz in Armani Prive
It’s always nice when Penelope comes to play. I love the neckline, the color is different but gorgeous and the pleating on the bodice, especially with such an ethereal fabric, is really quite wonderful. She looks like she’s floating.
My only complaint was the hair. She was clearly trying to channel Grace Kelly with a pinned do, but it doesn’t quite get there. Probably because it’s coated in three inches of hairspray.
Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji
Let me tell you what’s really great about this gown: 1) It fits her beautifully and 2) You’ll be able to buy it in stores (probably without the train) in a couple of months. Why more actresses don’t wear a gown that someone might actually be able to buy is beyond me. Clearly, you don’t need couture to look wonderful.
Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton
I went back and forth on this one. Was the peplum too long? Was the brooch too much or not enough? Was the layering overkill?
Then, I saw this photo and thought, “If that isn’t a red carpet gown, I don’t know what is.” The pink clutch was such an unexpected move, but it totally works with the bold grapefruity-coral color of the gown.
Kate Mara in Jack Guisso Couture
Rooney Mara brought her older sister Kate as her guest, and she got shown up in the dress department big time. The pale lavender is lovely. But what really makes this gown work for me is the sheer off the shoulder, it’s so sexy, but in a delicate way.
Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford
I loathe Gwyneth Paltrow. Loathe. So it takes some kind of dress to land her on my Best Dressed list, and this impeccably-structured Tom Ford is it.
I also love the cuff bracelet, understated hairdo, perfectly chosen makeup and huge cocktail ring are flawless. Damn you, Paltrow, damn you.
Emma Stone in Giambattista Valli
This dress was the right mix of wearability and drama. The neckline brings the bravado, and the rest of the silhouette keeps it from being too much. She never misses.
People keep saying this dress is too much like a Balenciaga Nicole Kidman wore a few years back, but I disagree. That dress had a column shape and was backless. It was also true red while this is more of a dark raspberry. The only thing similar is the bow, so it’s a bit hypocritical for fashion commentators who have a different name for every sub-shade of green to focus on one detail and pronounce the dresses identical.
Milla Jovovich in Elie Saab
I never thought I would be adding the star of Resident Evil 184 to this list, but the gown is just breathtaking. And while the dress would be lovely on almost anyone, Milla’s statuesque figure, flawless skin and delicate air make it pure perfection. There isn’t a flaw anywhere.
And the best dress of the evening award goes to….
Jessica Chastain in Alexander McQueen
If you said to me, “The dress is black velvet with gold braiding and a sweetheart neckline, but you’re going to love it.” I would have said you were crazy, but this dress proves me wrong. God save McQueen.
Chastain has been a B- player at best on this season’s red carpets, but this dress has rescued her from obscurity. Against all odds, the look is somehow light and airy. The hair is flawless and elegant. And the makeup is just the right mix of done up and undone. Ridiculously gorgeous.