By Steven McIntosh
Most of the awards ceremonies last year were held without a red carpet for the understandable reason that there would be no guests to walk down on.
But then came the Oscars on Sunday – the highlight of the awards season; The biggest night on the entertainment calendar – where nominees were encouraged to appear in person if they could, rather than virtually dialing in.
The resulting red carpet gave us elegance, extravagance and an explosion of color. Here are 13 of the biggest and best looks from this year’s Oscars.
1. Regina King? Regina queen
The star, who directed One Night In Miami and won a supporting actress Oscar two years ago, wore a light blue Louis Vuitton dress with iridescent pleats and bold 1980s-style shoulders.
In the absence of a host for the ceremony, King moderated the early part of the ceremony and presented both categories of the script.
2. Paul and Liz Raci are couple targets
Image rightsReutersImage descriptionPaul Raci’s wife Liz, the nomination for Best Supporting Actor, is also his agent
Metal star Paul Raci’s sound was in high spirits when he hit the red carpet with his wife, Liz Hanley Raci, who also acts as the 73-year-old actor’s agent.
“My wife has been my agent for 20 years and she’s been fighting for me there,” the supporting actor nominee told People magazine. “My wife Liz, she will be with me and she is my heart.”
Raci was raised as the hearing son of two deaf parents and speaks fluent sign language. He spoke and signed his responses as he answered questions from reporters on the red carpet.
3. Fennell turned Los Angeles into Emerald City
British director Emerald Fennell made Promising Young Woman famous when she was seven months pregnant. The film, which received five Oscar nominations, was shot in just 23 days in 2019.
Two years later, Fennell was walking the red carpet at the Oscars on Sunday – this time pregnant with her second child.
Fennell looked beautiful in a voluminous floral Gucci dress that 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 best live action short film for their film Two Distant Strangers. Her stylish red carpet outfits were complemented with a touching and subtle tribute to the late Kobe Bryant.
The basketball player and his daughter Gianna were two of nine people who were killed in a tragic helicopter crash last January. Gianna Bryant, who was only 13 years old, was an incredibly talented basketball player like her father.
Roe and Free wore jeweled Dolce & Gabbana pins numbered 24 and 2 – those were the shirt numbers for Bryant and his daughter.
Shortly after Bryant’s death, the Los Angeles Lakers withdrew the number 24 out of respect for the star, who himself won an Oscar in 2018 for Dear Basketball, an animated short film he wrote and directed.
5. Maria Bakalova knows how to force social distancing
Image rightsReuters / EPA
Maria, you have to see her.
The star of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm found the easiest way to adhere to the two-meter rule: wear a six-meter-wide dress.
In fact, the Louis Vuitton dress she wore contained 100 yards of tulle – a lightweight mesh material – paired with a deep V-neck that was adorned with diamonds.
The nomination for Best Supporting Actress looked amazing as she walked the red carpet and honestly we’re just glad she finally got the chance to show a more glamorous side.
Her role in Borat was the opposite – it encompassed everything from interviewing Rudy Giuliani in a hotel room to participating in numerous blatant scenes (you’ll know if you’ve seen it). If anyone has a red carpet appearance this year, it’s Maria.
6. The nominees for the best actresses set a gold standard
Image rightsGetty Images
Viola Davis (center) looked wonderful in a Sarah Burton-designed Alexander McQueen dress, while her co-nominees Andra Day (left) and Carey Mulligan (right) opted for high-slit gold dresses designed by Vera Wang and Valentino, respectively were.
We’re not sure if the couple tried to improve their Oscars chances by dressing like one of the statuettes, or if this was one of those awkward moments where you accidentally wear the same outfit as your colleague in the office , but we welcome them in any case.
7. Alan Kim is the award season winner
Not only is the nine year old one of Minari’s breakout stars, we’ll go ahead and say he’s the breakout star of the entire Academy Awards.
Kim was one of the early viral moments of the night when he was filmed dancing on the red carpet.
Wearing a sleek Thom Browne suit with shorts (LA is pretty hot this time of year) and striped socks, he effortlessly showed some of his acting elders how to do it.
And it’s nice to see that he’s not that old that he’s too embarrassed to be photographed with his mother.
8. Celeste is the queen of our hearts
The British singer was nominated in the Best Original Songs category for Hear My Voice from The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Celeste walked the red carpet with an anatomical red heart handbag supplied by Gucci (rather than a real human).
9. The men had different attitudes towards colorful outfits
Image rightsGetty Images
Two of the great British nominees – Daniel Kaluuya and Riz Ahmed – played pretty straight forward with their outfits, opting for razor-sharp black and navy tuxedos.
One Night In Miami, Leslie Odom Jr. went a little more colorful, wearing a gold Brioni suit complemented with Cartier jewels.
10. Great trips across the Atlantic
Image rightsGetty Images
Two years ago, Glenn Close and Olivia Colman faced each other in the Best Actress category, with Colman ultimately winning for The Favorite. This year they faced each other again to become the best supporting actress.
Although they could be nominated in the same category, they were not on the same continent.
Close wore a blue Armani gown in Los Angeles while Olivia Colman wore a long-sleeved scarlet gown in the Academy’s UK Oscars Hub at London’s BFI.
11. Crip Camp owned the red carpet
Also on the red carpet were the stars and producers of Crip Camp, who were nominated for best documentary.
Along with the Sound of Metal and Falling Through, Crip Camp was one of several nominees that year to be recognized for their portrayal of disability.
Co-directors Nicole Newnham (fourth from right) and Jim LeBrecht (third from right) wore a beautiful cream colored dress and a bespoke dark blue Gucci ensemble.
After tweeting a picture from the Los Angeles red carpet, one user responded, “As a disabled teenager, this is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.”
And, or for the first time ever, this year’s Oscars stage had a ramp to ensure wheelchair users had no trouble getting on stage.
12. Chloe and Swankie were in the spotlight together
The best director winner, Chloé Zhao, really was the queen of this year’s Academy Awards, but that didn’t mean she intended to be in the limelight. Instead, she walked the red carpet with Swankie, one of the stars of her film, Nomadland.
Like many of the people who appear in the film, Charlene Swankie was a non-professional actress when she was hired for the film, which was praised for its portrayal of the nomadic lifestyle.
13. We are not worthy of Laura Dern
As one of last year’s winners, Laura Dern returned this year to present the Best Supporting Actor category.
Her adorable Oscar de la Renta dress delivered three messages at once:
1. Laura Dern is one of the best dressed women in Hollywood.
2. Laura Dern doesn’t get cold at the after party.
3. Björk’s swan dress from the 2001 Oscars was way ahead of its time than we thought.