Now the Oscars are over, it's time for us to do our final round-up of the best (and worst) frocks on the red carpet. Though there were no serious fashion faux-pas this year, there were a few strange gowns, some very unflattering shapes and some odd colour choices. Here's what team CQ thought were the ten best dresses (for various reasons). All images are clickable if you want to see bigger versions.
1. Reese Witherspoon in Nina Ricci
Reese barely ever gets it wrong, and ex-Rochas designer Olivier Theyskens (now at Nina Ricci) is definitely serving her well at the moment. The dress is classic without being too boring, and I felt very proud to see Reese turning up in one of my predicted colours, especially as it suits her so well. She shows that tiered dresses don't have to turn you into a toilet-roll cover, and works the long, straight and simple hairstyle much better than some of her over-ironed rivals.
See who else we loved over the cut...
2. Penelope Cruz in Versace
Penelope's dress seems to have split the vote, but she gets our respect for going for all-out drama. If you can't do feathers, frills and volume at the Oscars, when can you? The colour is bang-on for the season and works with her skintone, the detail on the top half is amazing, and she's kept everything else simple - including the hair - which works with such a showstopping gown.
3. Cate Blanchett in Armani Prive
Everyone suspected Cate would turn up in Armani, and she didn't disappoint in this platinum coloured column. With everyone predicting white and gold to be big on the red carpet this year, it was nice to see her go for something else, though it was risky with her pale skin. Still, if anyone can pull off strange colour choices, it's Cate, and we salute her bravery. As she said of her choice of gown this year, "it chose me!"
4. Nicole Kidman in Balenciaga
I'm not sure what it is with Oscar-attending Aussie actresses and the need to look like alabaster ice queens, but Nicole (and Cate) have the look down to a tee. Though I'm definitely in league withthe Fug Girls in terms of wishing Nicole would go back to her redhead roots, Kim thought her dress was showstopping. The bow is a possible deal-breaker, but Nicole gets 4th place for showing Charlize Theron how it's done. The way the bow falls into a train at the back was a nice change from all the fishtails.
5. Helen Mirren in Christian Lacroix
The first Brit in our list (see, we're not patriotic at all) looked resplendant in her Lacroix gown. Helen Mirren's stylists obviously know what they're doing and work with her assets (come on, I'm 23 and my boobs aren't as good as hers) while hiding the bits she's not so keen on (she likes to keep the tops of her arms covered). The frock was fab, the shoes were gorgeous, and the softer hair really suits her. I can't believe this is the same woman who used to be in Prime Suspect.
6. Jennifer Lopez in Marchesa
One of Isabelle's favourite gowns of the night, Jennifer's dreamy Marchesa number is a far cry from the OTT Versace she used to wear. Obviously happy to leave the revealing, hip-hugging numbers and super-huge hair to Beyonce now, JLo is all grown up. We love the old Hollywood bobbed hair, and the empire line dress accentuates the back and shoulders instead of the bum and tum. Call me a gossip, but I can't help but wonder, has her style just evolved or is she hiding a bump?
7. Rachel Weisz in Vera Wang
Strapless satin is such a tired old look, but Vera Wang managed to revamp it with some clever detail on this oyster coloured frock. What saves this from being dull is the amazing textured detail on the train, and the subtle (yes, subtle, Anne Hathaway) bow on the bust. Rachel Weisz almost always goes for subtle chic, choosing classic shapes with small details that break them up. It's a look that works, and we love her for it.
8. Emily Blunt in Calvin Klein
This dress didn't really grab my attention until I saw it on stage. Under the harsh Kodak Theatre lighting, it became clear why this was a brilliant choice. What I thought at first glance, during the rushed red carpet coverage, was a satin dress turned out to actually be a complete sparkle fest in a beautiful indigo blue. It helps that Blunt is stunning without even trying, and this dress bought out her eyes and made the most of her figure.
9. Gwyneth Paltrow in Zac Posen
This is a controversial choice, I know, but after seeing Gwyneth turn up to the Oscars in so many odd looking dresses that do nothing for her figure, it's nice to see her finally pick something that shows off how amazing her body is. The detail reminds me of those string art kits you could get as a kid, criss-crossing over her toned shoulders and tiny waist. However, the look is not without its faults. She still hasn't found a decent bra (will she never learn) and the hair is too long and flat for my liking, but it's still a vast improvement on previous years, and it's nice to be able to put Gwyneth in the 'best' category for once.
10. Kate Winslet in Valentino
If this dress were a different colour - perhaps burgundy or emerald green - Kate would probably be very near the top of the list. Though it's simple, the shape of the dress is gorgeous and the one-shoulder look was a big Oscars trend. Sadly, the colour just didn't grab me or any of the other CQ ladies. Beyonce went for the same strange washed-out mint, and it seems odd that two women would go for such an underwhelming, bridesmaidy colour. I really wanted la Winslet to wow us like she has done in the past, but it wasn't quite there for me. Very pretty, but she could do better.
[all photos courtesy of Getty Images]
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