Most of the awards ceremonies went without a red carpet last year, for the understandable reason that there wouldn’t be any guests to walk there.
But then came the Sunday Oscars – the height of awards season; the biggest night on the entertainment calendar – where nominees were encouraged to show up in person if they could, rather than logging in virtually.
The resulting red carpet gave us elegance, flamboyance and an explosion of color. Here are 13 of the biggest and best looks from this year’s Oscars.
1. Regina King? Queen regina
The star, who directed One Night In Miami and won an Oscar in a supporting role herself just two years ago, wore a custom pale blue Louis Vuitton dress with dazzling pleats and daring shoulders in the style of the 1980s.
In the absence of a ceremony host, King then hosted the first part of the ceremony, presenting both categories of storylines.
2. Paul and Liz Raci are goals as a couple
Sound of Metal star Paul Raci was in high spirits as she walked the red carpet with his wife Liz Hanley Raci, who also stars as the 73-year-old actor’s agent.
“My wife has been my agent for 20 years now and she’s out there fighting for me,” the nominated actor told People magazine. “My wife Liz, she will be there with me and she is my heart.”
Raised as the hearing son of two deaf parents, Raci is fluent in sign language and he both spoke and signed his responses while answering questions from reporters on the red carpet.
3. Fennell turned Los Angeles into the Emerald City
British director Emerald Fennell photographed Promising Young Woman while she was seven months pregnant. The film, which won five Oscar nominations, was shot just 23 days ago in 2019.
Two years later, Fennell found herself on the red carpet at Sunday’s Oscars – this time pregnant with her second child.
Fennell looked gorgeous in a voluminous Gucci floral dress, which was pink in places, but mostly green (perhaps a reference to her own first name).
4. There were touching tributes to Kobe Bryant
Martin Desmond Roe and Travon Free won the award for Best Live Short Film for their film Two Distant Strangers. Their stylish red carpet outfits were accompanied by a touching and subtle tribute to the late Kobe Bryant.
The basketball player and his daughter Gianna were two of nine people who died in a tragic helicopter crash last January. Gianna Bryant, who was only 13, was a prodigiously talented basketball player like her father.
Roe and Free sported jeweled Dolce & Gabbana lapel pins with the numbers 24 and 2 – which were Bryant and his daughter’s jersey numbers.
Shortly after Bryant’s death, the Los Angeles Lakers withdrew the number 24 as a sign of respect for the star, who himself won an Oscar in 2018 for Dear Basketball, an animated short he wrote and directed.
5. Maria Bakalova knows how to strengthen social distancing
Maria, you have to see her.
Borat star Subsequent Moviefilm has discovered the easiest way to stick to the two-yard rule: wear a six-yard-wide dress.
In fact, the Louis Vuitton dress she wore featured 100 yards of tulle – a lightweight mesh fabric – paired with a deep V-neckline adorned with diamonds.
The Best Supporting Actress contestant looked amazing as she walked the red carpet, and frankly we’re just happy she finally got the chance to show a more glamorous side.
His role in Borat was the opposite – it involved everything from interviewing Rudy Giuliani in a hotel room to participating in a lot of disgusting scenes (you’ll know if you’ve seen it). If anyone has earned a red carpet appearance this year, it’s Maria.
6. The nominees for best actress set a gold standard
Viola Davis (center) looked stunning in an Alexander McQueen gown designed by Sarah Burton, while her co-nominees Andra Day (left) and Carey Mulligan (right) both opted for gold dresses with high slits, designed by Vera Wang and Valentino respectively.
We don’t know if the two were trying to improve their chances at the Oscars by dressing like one of the statuettes, or if it was one of those tough times where you accidentally wear the same outfit as your colleague at the office, but we applaud them in both cases.
7. Alan Kim is the winner of the awards season
The nine-year-old isn’t just one of Minari’s stars, we’re going to go ahead and say he’s the star of every Oscar.
Kim provided one of the first viral moments of the night, when he was filmed dancing on the red carpet.
He wore a stylish Thom Browne suit with shorts (it’s pretty hot in Los Angeles this time of year) and striped socks, effortlessly showing some of his acting seniors how it’s done.
And it’s nice to see that he hasn’t quite reached that age where he’s too embarrassed to be photographed with his mom.
8. Celeste is the queen of our hearts
The British singer was nominated for Best Original Song for Hear My Voice, from The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Celeste walked the red carpet holding a red heart-shaped anatomical handbag, supplied by Gucci (rather than a real human).
9. Men had different attitudes towards colorful outfits.
Two of Britain’s main interim nominees – Daniel Kaluuya and Riz Ahmed – played pretty directly with their outfits – opting for crisp black and navy tuxedos.
One Night In Miami star Leslie Odom Jr took a slightly more colorful approach, wearing a gold Brioni suit, complemented by Cartier jewelry.
10. The grand style travels across the Atlantic
Two years ago, Glenn Close and Olivia Colman faced off in the Best Actress category, with Colman ultimately winning for The Favorite. This year, they faced each other again, for Best Supporting Actress.
But while they could be nominated in the same category, they were not actually on the same continent.
Close was pictured wearing an Armani blue dress in Los Angeles, while Olivia Colman wore a long-sleeved scarlet gown at the Academy’s Academy Awards in the UK at BFI in London.
11. Crip Camp owned the red carpet
Also on the red carpet, the stars and producers of Crip Camp, nominated for best feature documentary.
Along with Sound of Metal and Falling Through, Crip Camp was one of many nominees this year for their portrayal of disability.
Co-directors Nicole Newnham (fourth from right) and Jim LeBrecht (third from right) wore a beautiful cream dress and a tailored navy Gucci ensemble, respectively.
After tweeting a photo from the Los Angeles red carpet, one user replied, “As a disabled teenager, this is the coolest thing I have ever seen.”
And or the very first time, this year’s Oscars stage had a ramp, to make sure wheelchair users had no problem getting on stage.
12. Chloe and Swankie co-starred
Best director winner Chloe Zhao was truly the queen of this year’s Oscars, but that didn’t mean she intended to hog the limelight. Instead, she walked the red carpet with Swankie, one of the stars of her movie, Nomadland.
Like many people who appear in the film, Charlene Swankie was an unprofessional actress when she was hired to appear in the film, who was praised for her portrayal of the nomadic lifestyle.
13. We are not worthy of Laura Dern
As last year’s winner, Laura Dern returned this year to present the category of Best Supporting Actor.
Her lovely Oscar de la Renta dress sent three simultaneous messages:
1. Laura Dern is one of the best dressed women in Hollywood.
2. Laura Dern will not be cold at the after party.
3. Bjork’s swan dress from the 2001 Oscars was way ahead of its time than we thought.