The Academy Awards is the final show in a long awards season, where stars celebrate the best in the film industry, while delivering the most glamorous, talked-about style moments on the red carpet. Ever since the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences began awarding artistic achievements in cinema in 1929, guests has worn so many memorable couture creations, the designs have been ingrained into pop culture history.
One can’t think of Cher at the Oscars without picturing her Bob Mackie black cutout gown with spiked headpiece, or recall Halle Berry’s emotional speech when she accepted the Best Actress award for Monster’s Ball without remembering her sheer floral embroidered Elie Saab gown. Who could ever forget Lupita Nyong’o’s entrance at the 2014 Oscars (where she picked up Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave) in her sky-blue Prada gown with flowy skirt that she twirled as she walked down the red carpet.
Rife with sartorial and cinematic milestones, the Oscars never falls short on delivering ample Hollywood glamor. Ahead of this year’s grand event, GRAZIA USA is taking a comprehensive, archival glance at the show’s best fashion moments throughout the years. From Elizabeth Taylor to Zendaya, check out the best Oscars looks of all time.
Audrey Hepburn, 1954
The then up-and-coming actress took home the Oscar for Best Actress in Roman Holiday in a sleeveless floral-print belted Edith Head gown.
Grace Kelly, 1955
The soon-to-be-princess picked up Oscar for Best Actress for her role in The Country Girl wearing a green Edith Head gown with white elbow-length opera gloves.
Elizabeth Taylor, 1961
Grabbing the gold for Best Actress in BUtterfield 8, arm-in-arm with her fourth husband Eddie Fisher, Elizabeth Taylor wore a Christian Dior ballgown with full floral-print skirt and rose-adorned bow at the waist, recently featured in the Brooklyn Museum exhibition Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams.
Rita Moreno, 1962
History making, Puerto Rican actress Rita Moreno became the first Hispanic woman to win an Oscar when she took home the Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Anita in West Side Story, wearing a sleeveless gown with brocade full skirt. (Moreno would later tweak the neckline of the design and gave it another spin down the 2018 Academy Awards red carpet.)
Audrey Hepburn, 1968
Once again stunning in Givenchy, Audrey Hepburn wore an embellished vest with floral appliqués, with a floor-length white skirt to the 40th annual Academy Awards.
Barbra Streisand, 1969
In a shockingly sheer appearance, Barbra Streisand’s flared Arnold Scaasi pajama set shimmered onstage as she accepted the award for Best Actress for her role in Funny Girl.
Diahann Carroll, 1969
Dynasty star Diahann Carroll presented at the 1969 Academy Awards in a shimmering blush-colored gown with a sheer crystal-encrusted cape overlay.
Arm-in arm with then-husband Sonny Bono, Cher rocked an intricately embroidered gold two-piece set concocted by mastermind Bob Mackie, showing off her chiseled abs. (The memorable moment would go on to be recreated by Kim Kardashian.)
Tatum O’Neal, 1974
Tatum O’Neal became the youngest Oscar winner ever in 1974 when she won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Paper Moon at the mere age of 10 sporting a tuxedo and bow tie.
Lauren Hutton, 1975
Lauren Hutton was a vision in her plunging, pleated, rainbow-colored gown by Halston. She teamed it with a fur topper and created a look that’s become a staple of ’70s fashion.
Diane Keaton, 1976
Perfectly channeling her character in Annie Hall, Diane Keaton‘s Richard Tyler pantsuit and polka-dot tie would go on to inform the actor’s enduring androgynous style.
Farrah Fawcett, 1978
Presenting at the 50th Academy Awards, Farrah Fawcett rocked her signature golden feathered locks, to match her slinky golden Stephen Burrows gown.
Raquel Welch, 1979
With a feathered ‘do, a gold layered chocker, and a royal blue sequined Loris Azzaro catsuit, Raquel Welch brought disco vibes to the carpet.
“As you can see, I did receive my Academy booklet on how to dress like a serious actress,” Cher said at the 1986 Oscars of her Bob Mackie showgirl-inspired creation.
Always one to deliver a memorable Oscars moment, Cher won Best Actress for her role in Moonstruck in another Bob Mackie original.
Nicole Kidman, 1997
Attending alongside then-husband Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman shined in her chartreuse embroidered gown from John Galliano’s first haute couture collection for Christian Dior, Spring/Summer 1997.
Courtney Love, 1997
The Courtney Love ditched grunge for a full glam look at the 1996 Oscars, opting for a plunging white Versace gown with statement necklace.
Winona Ryder, 1997
Winona Ryder further epitomized her signature goth-chic persona in 1997 with her sheer beaded Chanel frock.
Continuing to push boundaries in Bob Mackie, Cher rocked an off-the-shoulder sheer beaded confection from the designer, topping it all off with an opulent head-piece and coordinating chocker necklace.
Madonna’s black and charcoal gray tulle Olivier Theyskens gown was equal parts edgy and elegant.
Gwyneth Paltrow, 1999
Winning the Oscar in 1999 for Best Actress for her role in Shakespeare in Love, Gwyneth Paltrow wore a bubblegum pink taffeta Ralph Lauren ballgown with Harry Winston jewels, the latter of which she still has today.
Cate Blanchett, 1999
Nominated for Best Actress for her role in Elizabeth, Cate Blanchett opted for a scoop-neck John Galliano gown with a down-to-there intricately embroidered back.
Sharon Stone, 1998
Borrowing from the boys, Sharon Stone attended the 70th annual Academy Awards in a lavender Vera Wang skirt and her then-husband Phil Bronstein’s white collared shirt.
Celine Dion, 1999
In an unexpected act, Celine Dion reversed her white John Galliano for Dior tuxedo jacket in 1999, causing the look to go down in fashion history.
Lucy Liu, 2000
Lucy Liu shined bright in a bold red stripped Versace gown with sheer accents at the 2000 Academy Awards.
Renée Zellweger, 2001
Walking the red carpet in a sunny yellow chiffon strapless gown by French designer Jean Dessès, Renée Zellweger oozed effortless glamour.
Viewers had a lot of thoughts about Björk’s head-turning Marjan Pejoski swan frock, complete with beaded stockings, and a paper mâché egg purse, but years later, it’s still one of the most talked-about Oscars looks.
Julia Roberts, 2001
Nabbing the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Erin Brockovich, Julia Roberts opted for a black and white vintage Valentino gown for the milestone moment.
Halle Berry, 2002
A landmark moment, Halle Berry won Best Actress for her role in Monster’s Ball, becoming the first (and only) Black woman to take home the prestigious honor, championing designer Elie Saab gown featuring a sheer floral bodice and burgundy skirt and train.
Jennifer Lopez, 2003
Attending arm-in-arm with then fiancé Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez expertly channeled fashion icon Jackie Kennedy in this embroidered mint Valentino gown.
Charlize Theron, 2004
Exemplifying Old Hollywood glamor to grab the Oscar for Best Actress for her transformative role in Monster, Charlize Theron donned a shimmering, low-back, Gucci gown.
Hilary Swank, 2005
Since winning Best Actress for her leading role in Million Dollar Baby, Hilary Swank’s navy backless dress by Guy Laroche exemplified “party-in-the-back” dressing.
Beyoncé’s pristinely sculpted strapless black velvet Versace gown is what red carpet glamour is all about.
Reese Witherspoon, 2006
Winning the Oscar for her role as June Carter in Walk the Line, Reese Witherspoon was the picture of elegance in an embroidered champagne 1957 archival Christian Dior gown.
Michelle Williams, 2006
Nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her part in Brokeback Mountain, Michelle Williams’ golden Vera Wang pleated frock has become a notable fan favorite.
Nicole Kidman, 2007
Kidman brought high levels of glam with her regal red Balenciaga halter gown with oversize bow detail and long train.
Marion Cotillard, 2008
Winning the Best Actress trophy for her role in La Vie En Rose, Marion Cotillard’s ivory scalloped Jean Paul Gaultier mermaid gown deserved a trophy of its own.
Jessica Chastain, 2012
Nominated as Best Supporting Actress for her part in The Help, Jessica Chastain donned a black and gold embroidered Alexander McQueen gown on the red carpet.
Angelina Jolie, 2012
Angelina Jolie rocked the internet when she did the big “leg reveal” pose in her strapless black velvet Versace high-slit gown.
Jennifer Lawrence, 2013
Winning Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook, Jennifer Lawrence famously tripped over her voluminous Christian Dior Couture ivory number while climbing the ceremony steps in 2013.
Lupita Nyong’o, 2014
Lupita Nyong’o’s sky-blue pleated Prada gown with flowing skirt stood out when the then-breakout star took home the golden statue for her part in 12 Years a Slave.
Lupita Nyong’o, 2015
Lupita Nyong’o’s pearl-embroidered custom Calvin Klein gown embellished with 6,000 white Akoya pearls made a fashionable splash on the carpet — and after the show. The design was stolen from her hotel room and was later found.
Brie Larson, 2016
Bringing home her first Oscar as Best Actress for her role in Room, Brie Larson’s elegant marine blue ruffled Gucci gown turned heads on the red carpet.
Emma Stone, 2017
Channeling 1920s flappers, Emma Stone sported a shimmering gold Givenchy Haute Couture fringe dress as she picked up her Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in La La Land.
Taraji P. Henson, 2017
A knockout in navy, Hidden Figures actress Taraji P. Henson wow’d on the 2017 red carpet in a velvet off-the-shoulder custom Alberta Ferretti gown, complete with a thigh-high slit and Nirav Modi jewels.
Viola Davis, 2017
Winning Best Supporting Actress for her poignant and emotional role in Fences, Viola Davis made a bold fashion statement in her bright red Armani Privé gown.
Rita Moreno, 2018
Rewearing her Oscars gown from 1962, the now-EGOT winner Rita Moreno paid homage to her historic win, altering the top into strapless corset, and pairing the look with opera gloves and statement accessories.
Billy Porter, 2019
Rocking a velvet tuxedo-gown by Christian Siriano, Billy Porter revamped gender confines in this red carpet creation.
Gemma Chan, 2019
New on the scene, Gemma Chan stole the show with a memorable hot pink cascading Valentino gown for her debut Academy Awards red carpet.
Lady Gaga, 2019
Nominated for Best Actress for A Star Is Born, and Best Original Song for “Shallow,” Lady Gaga grabbed the gold for the latter, first walking the red carpet in a dramatic Alexander McQueen gown and later changing into a Brandon Maxwell creation, all the while sporting the 128-carat Tiffany & Co. necklace, last worn by Breakfast at Tiffany’s star Audrey Hepburn.
Janelle Monáe, 2020
Janelle Monáe went galactic in her custom Ralph Lauren couture hooded gown, featuring a whopping 168,000 Swarovski crystals.
Always one to make an impressive entrance, Zendaya’s bright neon yellow cutout Valentino gown hardly took away attention from her Bulgari diamonds — worth over $6 million.
Ariana DeBose, 2022
The Best Supporting Actress winner’s styling duo, Zadrian Smith and Sarah Edmiston, teased to “expect the unexpected” with DeBose’s Oscars look — and they weren’t kidding. The West Side Story star stepped out in a bright red Valentino Haute Couture two-piece crop top with high-waisted trousers, plus a dramatic faille cape worn over her arms, that perfectly capped her awards show best dressed streak. To top off the look, she shined in De Beers jewels including a 41-carat diamond necklace and an Omega watch.
Timothée Chalamet, 2022
Rock star vibes were coming from the actor’s sparkly Louis Vuitton lace tuxedo jacket worn sans shirt, which he paired with black pants, boots and Cartier rings, bracelets and necklaces.
Jessica Chastain, 2022
The Eyes of Tammy Faye Best Actress winner made it in time for the carpet, creating a memorable moment in her shimmering V-neck custom Gucci gown with high-shine bronze bodice and lilac sequin skirt with an organza ruffle-trimmed hem. She accessorized with Gucci High Jewelry rings, bracelet and earrings.
Leave it to Zendaya to give fans a sparkly surprise on the carpet, wearing a custom Valentino Haute Couture cropped button-down blouse with a high-shine, sequin-embellished skirt with long train, plus Bulgari jewels.