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2016 Oscar Fashion

Last night's Oscars were, as always, a mixed bag. The controversy over the lack of diversity of nominees was at the forefront, with host Chris Rock making some poignant points, often followed by taking his jokes a step too far, and many pre-recorded segments making the racial issue a punchline. Leo finally won his first Oscar, and Spotlight won best picture at a time when we really need to remember how important a free and daring press is.

The Oscar presentation itself featured pop-up facts about the presenters, bizarre camera movements, scrolling "Thanks to" names on screen for every winner, coralling nominees of some categories into a box seat/dugout situation, and personalizing the presentation of some awards to fit the theme. (For the Best Costume awards, dress forms and bolts of fabric were brought out onto stage. Thanks Academy, but we actually know what costumes are.) It all came off as pretty dumbed down. But clearly we're here to talk about the dresses (as none of the gents were dressed well enough to impress me, though I did enjoy Mark Ruffalo's blue jacket, as well as his face). Below are my favorite looks from the evening, and as always, they may be polarizing. My friends all loved Charlize Theron's red gown, but I thought it was too 90s and her hair was too 80s. Rachel McAdam's gown was incredibly flattering and a beautiful color, but again, so 90s (specifically Ralph Lauren in the 90s), and with a back bordering on butt crack. I don't understand the bridal/formal trend of showing your butt crack, personally, but it is very much a thing. And Heidi Klum's purple one-armed shitshow of a gown made Garden Party Barbie look like the very image of subtlety.

But enough of the mediocre, let's get to the good stuff.

Saoirse Ronan sparkled in this dark green sequined gown by Calvin Klein Collection. While simple in concept, the neckline and fit are timeless, and the curved sequin pattern adds a lovely movement to the otherwise sleek gown. Her wavy loose hair and smokey eyes are refreshingly subtle compared to the many severe formal up-dos that surrounded her.

You don't see many printed looks at the Oscars, but Isla Fisher's soft Marchesa gown works due to the subtle color palette and the simple, romantic, off-the-shoulder design, but the silver belt ties the look together while defining her waist. Her playful ponytail keeps the look from being too stuffy.

Cate Blanchett can do whatever the hell she wants. I'll admit on first glance I found this Armani Prive gown to be too much, too figure skater, too large-scale. But then it grew on me, like that outspoken girl you thought was annoying who's actually refreshingly genuine, or that guy who buys you drinks at a bar until you're drunk enough to think he's probably decent. The fit and structure of the gown are impeccable, the flowers are large but beautifully detailed, and the color suits her complexion. This dress would likely look horrible on most people. But it's Cate Blanchett, and it's fashion as art, so I'm in.

I've never been a huge Lady Gaga fan but last night she looked amazing on the red carpet. Her Brandon Maxwell ensemble was more or less a formal skort, but the pleats and proportions make this skort a piece of sculpture. She is managing to make a statement without hitting me over the head with it (coughMEATDRESScough). Her hair is classic Hollywood, and come to think of it, I can totally see badass classic actresses like Katherine Hepburn and Myrna Loy fighting over this formal pant ensemble. I wish she'd kept this on for her performance, but I imagine she needed a little more freedom of movement for that emotional piece, so she opted for her Elvis jumpsuit. My only issue here is that she looks like she could use a little more bodice structure or a slightly higher neckline.

It was hard to pick a favorite between this yellow Louis Vuitton gown worn by Alicia Vikander and Lady Gaga's above look, but I'm a sucker for sparkle, yellow, harem hems, and high-low hems, and this checks all of those boxes. The pretty gown is modernized with chunky silver beading and silver and lucite heels, and looks amazing on her tanned skin. The dress color and hair has caused a lot of comparisons to Disney's Belle, but I guess looking like a Disney princess never really bothered me. The photo doesn't entirely do justice to the way it moved and sparkled. She won Best Supporting Actress and apparently makes out with Fassbender, but I'm sure being my pick for best dressed of the evening is really what makes her life worthwhile.

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