Worst. Oscar. Dresses. Ever.

Charlize Theron Oscars 2006
Okay, does everyone agree with me that these were the worst dresses ever worn at the Oscars? C'mon, people! It's like you weren't even TRYING.

Look at this one, for instance. Charlize Theron is so beautiful, most days, that it takes an army of makeup artists and serious prosthetics to make her look *ordinary*. But in this dress she looks as if the one role she really wanted last year was that of Zaphod Beeblebrox. (Matt Dillon was pissed to be seated behind her, he couldn't see a damn thing.) And origami, I might add, while a beautiful and worthwhile art form, should be limited to paper. Those big foldy X's across the front make her look like a railroad crossing sign. Or some kind of cryptic pirate "Here Be Treasure" X. (I'm sure none of you will be surprised that this is Galliano for Dior.) And she couldn't get her roots touched up for the big night?

Of course, at least you could tell Ms. Theron was there. A large group of other gown-wearers decided that it was "pretend to be invisible and/or naked" night, and trotted out the whitey-beigey-nude skin-tone dresses. Reese, Uma, Jennifer Garner, Naomi Watts … it didn't work, guys! We can still see you! I'm not even linking to your pictures, the dresses were so boring.

The black-dress brigade was okay. was the best of the lot, which is no mean feat when you're seven months pregnant. (Although I suppose it's easier when you can call Narcisco Rodriguez and say "hey, I have this thing, would you mind whipping me up a little something? Ta ever so …") did not need a train; needed quite a bit of double-sided tape.

And then, of course, were the colors. I loved the yellow of I just wasn't sure it should have been worn by her. But the cut was adorable. was in a very fitting electrified-corpse blue; too bad the cut of the dress was pure "Prom Night 1988"–perhaps that was part of the horror theme? Works for me. … I love that color green. Unfortunately, when you wear it in a dress that is styled like a theater curtain over your hips, it loses nearly all of its charm. All it wanted was a drop-down banner that said "Coming Attractions!" was definitely channeling Slave-Girl Leia. And not in the good way, if there is in fact any good way to do that. (And if there is a good way to do that, please don't tell me. Tell Maggie. Not that it will do her any good NOW, but maybe she'll pass the message along in case Chloe Sevigny gets any ideas.)

The folks who were trying looked pretty good — dress was super-cute, and it had pockets! (Carolina Herrera, of course.) Too bad she was mugging like crazy. I know it gets boring making the same "I'm so glad to be here!" face a gazillion times, but that doesn't mean you get to amuse yourself by practicing your "manic" and "hysterical giggling" faces. was a little too matronly (one-shoulder, heavy jewels, dark color), but at least it was pretty. The best dress of the night, though, had to be That color! That alone did it.

(By the way, am I the only one who has a "if I ever go to the Oscars" dress planned in her head? Mine would have a huge portrait collar around a sweetheart neckline, and be form-fitting to the knees, then bell out (to balance the collar). I just go back and forth on the color. It would have to be something odd, of course. Because the only way I'd ever be there would be for something odd, like being the subject of the Best Documentary Feature, so I'd have to do a weird color just to get photographed at all! Please spill your own personal imaginary Oscar dresses in the comments, okay?)

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0 thoughts on “Worst. Oscar. Dresses. Ever.

  1. I loved the yellow of Michelle Williams’s dress; I just wasn’t sure it should have been worn by her.I’ll resolve your indecision: NO. The answer is NO, that color should not have been worn by her.–Lydia

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  2. Oh you wanted to know what I would to wear to the Oscars (registered trademark symbol here)? I’ve always wanted to see a knitted dress at the Oscars. You know knitting is the hottest thing on the planet besides Patrick Dempsey on Grey’s Anatomy and we have YET to see a knitted dress at the Oscars? I mean, come on, you’ve got all these Hollywood celebs (Catherine Zeta Jones, Sarah Jessica Parker, etc.) knitting scarves and whatnot and NO ONE can knit up an Academy Award(another trademark symbol) to save their life? Pleeease!Anyway I would opt for a particular 1930s Minerva’s knitting pattern – a fitted drapey sleeveless, cowl neck long gown knitted in a silver metallic yarn. Now my knitting skills are in the evolutionary category right now, so if I needed this particular gown in a pinch, someone else would have to make it. And I would wear the gown with a pair of silvery vintage 1930s tango-style platform pumps. But the hair would be funked out – not 1930s.

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  3. I actually loved Michelle Williams’ dress, both by itself and on her. I thought she looked radiant and not many people can wear that color. I thought there was something weird about Salma Hayek’s dress – what was it doing to her left breast? Poor thing, it really didn’t look too comfortable. Made her look lopsided.Agreed on all other counts, though, except I thought Keira Knightley really could have done a better job on both hair and makeup. And I’ve never liked assymetrical-strap dresses, so hers and Naomi Watts’ were out for me right away.I actually loved Reese Witherspoon’s. Vintage 1955 Dior, found in a Paris thrift store! Love it. And I think its originality and silver beading made up for the nude-tone background color.

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  4. Tired of the nude, and wished that more of the black dresses had done something interesting.However, I thought Jennifer Garner’s delight made her outfit almost irrelevant. With a grin like that, she coulda worn a sack and I’d have said she looked great.As for my Oscar dress, I already own it. It’s a gradated white through charcoal halter dress, cut on the bias in block arranged to contrast the shading, and with a flaring skirt slit high up the left thigh–the slit is invisible at rest, but the skirt flares out in motion.No way I get to the big party without hanging on someone’s arm, though.

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  5. I have to say, I loved Reese’s dress. It looked more pink than flesh to me. My co-workers and I all agree it was the best dress of the evening.Other than that, I almost totally agree. At the Oscar-watching party I was at last night, even the guys were making catty remarks about Charlize’s dress. Also, we all agreed that the color of Salma Hayek’s dress was outstanding, but the straps were too tight and the asymmetric cut made it look like her breasts were being tugged to the left.But hmmm… I think Maggie Gyllenhall’s dress, while ugly, has pockets…

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  6. I thought of you multiple times–every time they said a dress had pockets!! Sandra Bullock and Amy Adams both did, and it looks like Maggie G. did also!

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  7. I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of the ball gown–too much fabric to trip over, flashbacks to prom, and my mental association with mad brides sobbing, “it’s MY DAY!!” Plus then it’s harder for others to see what great shoes you’re wearing. I think I’d go with a classic Dress-a-Day-approved 50’s cocktail dress: knee-length full skirt, nipped waist, cap sleeves, with a square neck for a little cleavage but plenty of stability. In hot pink or kelly green. Not terribly original, but very girly and very ME.

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  8. Ha ha. I kept looking at Charlize’s dress and telling me stuff “it’s ok. it’s couture.” But I guess it really isn’t. If it’s not her skin color that’s odd, it will definitely be her clothes. My oscar dress will be something like Kirsten Dunst’s dress for the oscars in 2002. of the few times her dress compliments her body.

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  9. Either the “Titanic” dress (in the movie, it’s black lace over red, but I’d do silver lace over black), or an incredibly elegant high-buttoned dress from Janet Arnold v.2. Can’t find a picture online: it’s a late-Edwardian silhouette reception dress done in a lightweight wool. The other possibility would be the Gallenga gown, done in a drop-dead drapy brocade or burnout velvet, with the buttons moved up to the natural waist.Why, yes, I *have* given this some thought.

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  10. Ugh…Charlize theron. The dress didn’t fit her correctly, and then that thing was attacking her shoulder. And Naomi Watts…did Kong attack her on the way to the show??I did like Uma’s dress, she could pull of the color, only because she has such a luminous quality herself. And where was Rachel Weisz hiding that baby? The girl barely looked pregnant!Finally, Jessica Alba…she is taking the Hollywood thin thing just a little too far, and her dress only amplified that.As for my dream Oscar gown, I am torn…of course it would have to be elegant and timeless, but quirky enough to suit me. There’s a Todd Oldham dyed velvet dress from the mid ’90’s that I would love to get my hands on, and would probably wear. Or I would do an all out pseudo-costume thing. Like all out 1920’s, fingerwaved hair, drop waist dress, lots of beads….something that is all out detail oriented.Of course, I keep telling myself that I will be going to the Oscars many times, and so I will get to choose many dresses 😉

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  11. I’m with Raven; I’d match my outfit for the reason, frex, if it’s the Scifi screenplay that gets nominated, I’d go in vintage silver on black, all deco diamonds in silver bugle beads with medusa braids.On the other hand, if it’s the low-budget indie psychological thriller that gets the Academy nod, I’d be in a brown satin floor length skirt with a gold lace long sleeved bodice and gold filigree combs in my upswept hair. I could have that one ready for next year, in fact.Now all I have to do is write the screenplays, right?

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  12. Oh my word- Michelle Williams’ dress was HORRIBLE! The color, the design, everything. Between her dress and her flaming red lips she stuck out like a sore thumb.ITA about all of the ‘nude’ dresses- enough already! Especially Naomi Watts’ dress. Nude colored feathers- blech! However, I did love what Jennifer Garner was wearing. Did anyone else notice how Sandra Bullock’s dress was very similar to one she wore a few years back when Hugh Grant was her date?

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  13. I think a lot of the designers were attempting 50’s style structural drama, like like this, but after years of designing slip dresses, they haven’t got the knack. Assuming we’re in the realm of total fantasy, and I got to grow 6 inches, lose 20 lbs and be an honest 20-years younger, I’d SO wear that red dress I linked, and to hell with the person behind me!If I were required to go to the Oscars as my real self, but I had aquired some wealth from the project that got me there, I’d get a dress from Chado Ralph Rucci so that even if I wasn’t the best looking woman on the red carpet, I could take comfort in the fact that my dress, its silk woven by Buddhist’s nuns from the silken webs of virgin spiders and sewn on solid gold machines, cost as much as the adjusted gross of at least three of the Best Picture nominees. (Of course I’d wear underwear with my version — but wouldn’t those ginormous pockets be useful? I’d smuggle some popcorn into the auditorium!)Assuming I had to go as my entirely short, round, middle-aged, poor self, I’d borrow money and go looking for some Jackie-era vintage, which is entirely suitable for a short, round, etc. Something like this (look at that color! Pah! on pale dresses!)or this (Sleeves! Yeaaa!)or this this (I’m a sucker for bronze dresses).Um, yes, I have spent WAYYYY too much time thinking about this.The dresses WERE boring, although I quite liked Kiera’s, and I absolutely lust after that vintage Bulgari necklace. The necklace was too old for her, but just right for me, and would look just fabulous with this little number.By the way, if you go to Vogue’s website, Style.com you can see pictures accompanied by designer attribution. Handy when picking out your own dress, y’know?

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  14. Oh heck, the Frock.com uses frames and I didn’t link properly. The first link in the second paragraph of the message above should be to the bottom midriff-band dress, the second should be to the long-sleeved purple number. The link in the fourth paragraph should be to the red chiffon Arwenish frock.

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  15. OOoh, Jonquil! The one with the tucks? That was made with braid for Jennie Jerome in the movie about the Churchills (that Janet Arnold said was “a good example of someone using the pattern without copying it slavishly”)? Erm, yes, I have those books also.It would be Chado Ralph Rucci for me if I had money, and I’d make it myself if I didn’t; it would probably involve princess lines, lace, and brocade. Of course, if someone called and said it would be tomorrow night, and I had to pull the dress out of my wardrobe, it would be one I’ve already made, which has a very high neck, lined in a soft black knit, because while the lines are very simple (plain high neck, sleeveless with slightly scooped-out shoulders, very very fitted princess lines flowing out into a very full skirt), the fabric is what makes it outstanding: it’s a metallic sequinned knit in a golden snakeskin pattern. I had people stopping me on the street in New York to tell me how beautiful it was; I figure it would do in a pinch.

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  16. I really liked Reese Witherspoon’s whole look. Very channeling-Grace-Kelly, and not a slave to trends, in a very good way.Michelle William’s dress-color was great! To tell the truth, even though it may not have been her best color, I felt like she looked better in it than Renee Zellweger did in that strapless lemon-yellow thingy she became famous for several years ago. Rachel Weiss & Jennifer Garner were easily two of the loveliest women of the whole evening, and primarily because they just radiated…I don’t know…light? Happiness? Whatever it was, it worked.My dream dress? Boy, my tastes are all over the map. Maybe something Elie Saab, like this white one or this black one (I love flowers!). But then I also like these slightly less-standard looks from Carolina Herrera, Kenzo and Christian Lacroix.

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  17. The consensus at the Oscar party I attended was that Michelle Williams’s dress was Cheeto-colored.What did you think of that one guy (Larry McMurtry? I forget) with the jeans-and-tux combination?

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  18. In my fantasies, I’d wear a 1930’s bias cut dress with a train in a slinky silk, ivory or maybe ice blue.On my real body (rather voluptuous), I think I’d go for a remake of my wedding dress – dupioni silk, full ballgown skirt, fitted bodice with a square neckline and elbow-length sleeves. My wedding dress was ivory/gold, but I think I’d make the Oscar dress in cobalt blue (to highlight my eyes!).

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  19. As for me was, everyone looked the same. It reminded me that no matter how global, Hollywood is still a small town. The make-up was very subdud (except Will Farrell) No necklaces, chandelier earrings and as a rule the dresses were not colorful.There were exceptions, but on the whole very uninspiring. It reminded me of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, …We are all individuals… not.

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  20. I guess BIG was the theme this year. Honestly, the first time I saw a photo of J-Lo in her dress I thought she was wearing panniers. “Wow,” I thought. “Bad choice.”I’m surprised how little I like most of these dresses. I’m usually all for drama and uber-femininity. I guess it’s just that none of these look very comfortable for either walking or sitting in a theatre for hours.I would want something bright, easy to move in, and very feminine for my Oscar debut, but honestly, as long as it flattered my figure I wouldn’t care too much about details.

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  21. I agree with Cari totaly except I never went to any proms. Iam into the vintage thing. I would do the Raven thing too the 20’s look. I love hair finger waved, T strapped shoes. I loved Reese’s dress. Some of dresses I liked most of them I did not care for. Dh is more into the Oscars then Iam. I was playing on the computer and half watching.

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  22. I actually could be at the Oscars next year as a subject of a documentary, though I’m probably too low on the totem pole to be at the ceremony, even if the movie gets nominated.That hasn’t stopped me from contemplating a possible dress. Of the existing ones, it would have to be a black print, skinny-strapped gown I borrowed from my sister for my nephew’s bar mitzvah 2 years ago. I’m about 10 pounds too heavy to wear the hot pink, strapless gown I wore to her wedding in 1987.In the dreamiest of dream worlds, a (any!) designer would make me something (anything!).

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  23. Oooh, all these dresses sound excellent!Jerry — what? There were men other than George Clooney and Jon Stewart at the Oscars?

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  24. If I had to Oscars and pick something out of my closet, I would wear a sleeveless floral ankle-length gown that has an underslip of turquoise (I guess you would call it a modified slip dress with an interesting neckline) that I bought from Daily Planet when they were closing a few years back for probably under $50 (I wish Daily Planet was still around!).If I had to buy something and had a little time, I would be tempted to get a Princess skirt and top from Chinese Tailor, in blue or the jade/silver print. That would cost under $150.There was also a red/pink floral dress that I liked from Nordstrom, but it was going to cost more to get the undergarments to make it possible to wear the dress than the dress itself!

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  25. Ok, I know Ms. Dressaday, that you loathe my favorite color, purple, but I thought Meryl Streep looked amazing and made many a young starlet look like a bad wedding cake.That and I totally dug the Wallace and Gromit guys’ bow ties. Now there was a bold fashion statement!

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  26. Actually, amazingly, I did get to go to the Oscars! And I wore… my wedding dress, home-dyed in a bucket. It was a lovely halter-necked fine silk crepe with a high-ish waistline, embroidered detail on the bodice, very fluid over the hips and a-line from there down. Very, very fitted and highly unforgiving of me and the dressmaker (unfortunately not me). It came out a really interesting (and surprisingly fashionable) slightly blue-green. I was so super-proud of my thrifty DIY solution in amongst all those thousands of dollars-worth of finery!

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  27. OMG am i the only one who can make their own dress complete wih luxury fabric for under 5 frigin quid!! And ats wiv all dis desiner lark.You’re not exactly gonna walk around with the label hangin out all night just coz its gucci!! Has the world gone mad. No, seriously think about itlaters, anannomo…xxx

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  28. hey!!! that dress for charlize is fantastic!! she’s truly a great experimentalist!! i think galliano just did a great job there!!! the worst at the moment is other people, not her!!!

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