Sure, many of the Oscars most-anticipated awards are doled out for exemplary acting, but don't forget, it's a night of musical performances, too. Gold statuettes of little bald men are awarded to Best Original Score AND Best Original Song winners, and often, there's time in the ceremony for the nominees to take the stage. As we gear up for Sunday night and the potential return of Pharrell's giant hat *fingers crossed*, we're looking back at some of the best performance outfits in Academy Awards history.
MADONNA IN 1991
Madonna performs at the 1991 Academy Awards.Photo: YouTube
Of course, we have to kick this off with Madonna. Arguably THE best Oscars onstage outfit of all time (IMHO), Madge channeled Marilyn Monroe for her performance of "Sooner or Later" from the Dick Tracy soundtrack.
Madonna performs at the 1991 Academy Awards.Photo: YouTube
She OWNED the stage in a slinky strapless white gown, a white fur stole, glamorous over-the-elbow gloves, and platinum blonde waves.
Just as its name suggets, the Film Independent Spirit Awards—an annual precursor to the Academy Awards which doles out trophies for artier, smaller-budget films—is also a night when Hollywood’s starlets feel free to do their own thing on the red carpet. In terms of fashion, it’s like the Oscars’ cool younger sister (the Skipper to Oscars' Barbie, if you will). Set in a tent on Santa Monica beach, the chill atmosphere usually makes for more interesting semi-casual attire, a departure from the ball gown parade. From rompers to cocktail dresses, here are our favorite looks.
SHAILENE WOODLEY IN LYN DEVON
Shailene Woodley at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards.Photo: Getty Images
Shailene Woodley is case in point of the stark contrast between the Oscars and Indie Spirit Awards, where stars wear real clothes—or, at least, clothes most people have a better chance of wearing IRL. The Spectacular Now nominee serves as a tutorial on how to wear a crop top on the red carpet, keeping the trend strong. Her Lyn Devon outfit perfectly balanced out her bare midriff with a tasteful maxi skirt, and majorly complemented her new pixie cut. Best of all: Shailene didn’t look too precious or fussy.
Transformation timeline from Echelon to Rayon
Photos: Getty Images/Truth Entertainment
Jared Leto is a man of many talents. In addition to fronting Thirty Seconds to Mars and having some seriously enviable ombre hair to ever grace this Earth, he beautifully portrayed a transsexual AIDS patient named Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club. Jared went through a major physical change in a short amount of time for the role, so we figured, in honor of Jared's nomination for Best Supporting Actor, we would take a look back (mostly via Leto's own Instagram) at his transformation. Let's get this started.
OCTOBER 24, 2012
Jared Leto before Rayon.
Photo: @jaredleto Instagram
Before undertaking the role of Rayon, Jared had a full beard and impersonated Abe Lincoln for fun. He wore his hair in a man bun.
Some things are just made to go together. Peanut butter and jelly. Salt and pepper (also, Salt-N-Pepa). Jeans and T-shirts. Jennifer Lawrence and Dior. As the current face of Miss Dior, J-Law has been wearing the designer almost exclusively as of late. For some, that might start to feel predictable, but somehow this pairing manages to make each outfit more refreshing than the last. Jennifer's red carpet appearances this year have pretty much felt like sitting front row at a Dior couture runway show—and we certainly aren't complaining.
We can't wait to see what Dior creation she might surprise us with at the 2014 Academy Awards, and you better believe we'll be here LIVE on Sunday night to relay the news. To prepare ourselves, we decided to take a look back at the star's relationship with the designer (spoiler alert: it's lasted longer than most Hollywood marriages).
Jennifer Lawrence at the 85th Annual Academy Awards
Photo: Getty Images
You remember this one. The entire WORLD remembers this one. By now, Jennifer Lawrence's trip up the stairs at the 2013 Oscars is more famous than that year's actual winners. Adorable clumsiness aside, J-Law was simply stunning in the soft ballerina-pink Dior gown. It's a dress befit for a certifiable movie star.
If you haven't paid much attention to the fierce competition raging in the Oscar race for "Highest Pants," don't worry—we're here to break down the contenders for you. The creased slacks designed by Casey Storm in Her were given a lot of attention because of their extra-long zippers and hidden buttons, but they were not, in fact, the only high-waisted pants on screens this Oscar year. Below you'll find the four films vying for the coveted trophy, in the order that we think is least to most likely to win (this completely trivial category that we made up). Cast your vote in the comments at the bottom of the post. Best of luck to all.
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
Matthew McConaughey lost over 40 pounds to play the role of Ron Woodroff in Dallas Buyers Club. His character continues to lose weight throughout the film due to his battle with AIDS, so a belt was necessary to hold up the jeans on his wiry frame. From the front, the pants don't look all that high, but from the back, you can see how they're cinched, sitting at the top of his waist. On the waistline spectrum (your grandfather to Britney Spears in the "I'm A Slave 4 U" video), they could sit higher, but they could also definitely be lower.
Witnessing Lupita Nyong'o's stellar red carpet style has easily become one of the best aspects of the current awards season. She may have only been on the Hollywood scene for less than a year, but she already has a better fashion resume than most veteran A-listers. Perhaps MOST impressive is her ability to look stunning in literally any color. And I do mean literally. (See above.) BTW, Lupita: Crayola called. They actually DON'T want their colors back, because they look a zillion times better on you than in some musty cardboard box.
Since Lupita is so freakin' unpredictable when it comes to her sartorial shades, we are THAT much more excited to see what she's going to wear to the Academy Awards on Sunday.
Holland Roden for Byrdie.
Guess what. We just found another reason why winter needs to end ASAP (as if the arctic temperatures and slush puddles weren't reason enough). In a new photo shoot for Byrdie, Teen Wolf's Holland Roden slays some of spring's biggest makeup looks, and it's just the best. Seriously, if these photos are any indication of how my face is going to look come April, I'm welcoming spring forward with open arms. It looks like this season is going to be all about bright lips and colorful nails (and sunscreen, if you want a complexion as flawless as Holland's). Miss Roden tries out a number of different looks for the shoot, each one arguably cuter than the next. She kicks things off with matching fuchsia lips and nails, both of which stand out against her denim jacket and Bambi eyes.
How bout them apples? By apples we mean sneakers.
Photo: Nike Blog
EXCUSE ME. HOT FIRE COMING THROUGH.
See those cute babes up there? Those foxy li'l shoesies? Artist Yuko Kanatani collaborated with Nike to create a Roshe Run unlike anything else in their collection. For real though—according to Nike Blog, the artist hand-stitched beads, ribbons, and CANDY WRAPPERS on fabric to create a unique design. The result was photographed, combined with hand drawings and then printed on purple textile. YES. Would wear the F out of these.
You're a smart person, so you already know of and perhaps adore the Nike Roshe Run. They're supes cool, obscenely comfortable and available in colorways aplenty. This Midnight Craftwork edition is a bonus dose of goodness on top of an already bountiful supply; an on-the-house cookie at your favorite cafe when you were already excited about the coffee. Or whatever metaphor you prefer.
If you haven't been following along with VH1's four-part roll out of Steve Stoute's The Tanning of America documentary, that's OK. The whole thing is streaming online now, so you can catch up. If you're not familiar with the premise of the doc or with Stoute's 2011 book of the same name, the mini-series aims to show hip-hop's evolution from infancy to its current mammoth cultural footprint, illuminating watershed moments in film, business, politics, and (our favorite) fashion along the way with commentary from prominent minds and voices like Rick Rubin, Russell Simmons, Diddy, Nas, and Mariah Carey.
The episodes span from the introduction of racial issues and themes on American television in the '70s (by way of shows like All in the Family and The Jeffersons) all the way to present day. The first episode boasts priceless footage of a young Rubin (sans beard!) fresh off of founding Def Jam Records with Russell Simmons as well as throwback clips of Run DMC in the studio, recording their version of "Walk This Way."
The tracksuit and dookie-chain-wearing trio from Queens is also responsible for the very first hip-hop fashion collaboration: Adidas' $1.5 million endorsement deal of Run DMC, thanks in large part to the group's influence in reviving the three-stripe Adidas shell toes.