The Most Show-Stopping Oscar Dresses of All Time

Academy Awards – a night of glitz and glamor in the Hollywood scene, where the cream of the crop in the film industry is recognized and the celebrities show off their most regal looks. As expected, there will always be a handful that will stand out not just through the night, but also in the years to come. 

Here’s a list of the A-listers that stood out amongst the stars of show business, from the iconic Oscar-royalty Meryl Streep’s best look to Elizabeth Taylor’s mysterious 1961 couture gown!

Audrey Hepburn

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The Givenchy dress that set the standard on what “classic” look is all about! On that fateful night in 1954 when Audrey Hepburn won her Best Actress award for her role in the film Roman Holiday, Hepburn certainly did not just snatch an Oscar trophy. 

She also managed to turn heads with her Givenchy dress – as more than its floral patterns, the dress’s boat neckline was quite unusual back then to be worn in the said prestigious night!

Jennifer Lopez

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When you know you’re going up the stage, you just have to look extra stunning… and singer Jennifer Lopez definitely knows this! Aside from her singing career, Lopez’s leading roles in films like Maid in Manhattan (2002) has always been earning her a spot in the Academy Awards night.

As one of the presenters during Oscars 2015, Lopez definitely dazzled everyone in the event with her plunging V-neckline Elie Saab gown!

Debbie Allen

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There to enchant the guests with a performance, Debbie Allen (known for her role in the musical series Fame) did not just earn everyone’s attention in Oscars 1982 with her melodic voice. Her white, fringe detailed outfit truly turned heads that night.

Without a doubt, her gown did not just awed the people who saw her that night. The look remains one of the bests up to date, wearing its timeless feature like a badge!

Janelle Monáe

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From the red carpet to the opening act, singer-actress Janelle Monáe stirred the 92nd Oscars like a true leader! Known for her voice roles in films like Rio 2 and films like Bad Moms, Monáe further cemented her spot in Hollywood through her iconic look back in 2020.

How did she own the red carpet? Monáe wore a Swarovski-studded Ralph Lauren dress, remarkable not only for its 168,000 crystals, but also for the head-turning details like a hood!

Grace Kelly

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We love a dress making headlines! On the night when Grace Kelly, Rear Window film lead, won her first Academy Award, Kelly was wearing a “blue champagne” silk gown by Edith Head, also a back-to-back Oscars-royalty for her remarkable costume designs.

At that time, Kelly’s dress was the most expensive look worn in the Academy Awards night, as the silk alone cost quite a fortune!

Jennifer Lawrence

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Jennifer Lawrence, known for her lead work in the Hunger Games franchise, had a roller-coaster of a night back in Oscars 2013. From tripping and hitting the floor, winning an award for her role in the Silver Linings Playbook, to dazzling everyone with her ever-gracious white Christian Dior Haute Couture look.

Lawrence definitely made the Academy Awards night in 2013 a remarkable one for everyone!

Meryl Streep

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Pure elegance is what Meryl Streep, an Oscar-royalty for her numerous wins and nominations, showed back in the Academy Awards night in 2010. Wearing a Chris March dress, Streep paraded an incredibly sophisticated look, further accentuated by her pulled up hairstyle.

Scarlett Johansson

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A sight to behold, Scarlett Johansson defined sheer perfection in the Oscars night back in 2020. Nominated for her role in the hit movie Marriage Story, Johansson further dazzled everyone with her Oscar de la Renta gown, a flesh-toned mesh and a silky smooth drape that surely turned heads that night!

Farrah Fawcett

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Farrah Fawcett, known for her roles in the Charlie’s Angels series, wore an ever-iconic silky flowing gold Stephen Burrows dress the night of the Academy Awards when she presented the award for Best Film Editing. 

A measure of the dress’s timelessness, Fawcett’s worn style is still much used up to date!

Lauren Bacall

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Nothing but the greatest for the 20th greatest female star in classic Hollywood, Lauren Bacall. Bacall was deemed presenter during the 27th Academy Awards back in 1955, and she certainly did not disappoint with her geometric patterned dress, which without a doubt captivated everyone’s attention the minute she set foot on stage.

Nicole Kidman

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As presenter during the 79th Academy Awards back in 2007, Nicole Kidman, known for her roles in Eyes Wide Shut and Destroyer, made sure that everyone in the event and those that watched the awards night remembered her bright red, floor-trailing Balenciaga dress.

To top it off, Kidman’s look further drew attention with the dress’s large and trailing bow tie starting from the neck, a true-showstopper for all the guests that night.

Lupita Nyong’o

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Lupita Nyong’o’s Academy Awards night back in 2015 was all about pearls. The 12 Years a Slave actress wore an elegantly white Calvin Klein dress. Nyong’o embodied class and sophistication all night, showcasing the numerous pearls she wore flawlessly.

Elizabeth Taylor

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During the 33rd Academy Awards night back in 1961, actress Elizabeth Taylor bagged home her first Oscars Best Actress award for her performance in the film Butterfield 8. Not only that, she surely became the star of the night with her “Soirée à Rio” dress, from the Christian Dior Spring/Summer Haute Couture in 1961.

More than that, the dress obviously transcended time, as the original piece was only recovered recently, then put in auction, garnering up to £60,000.

Billy Porter

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Billy Porter, known for Cinderella and American Horror Story, single-handedly caused a blast of exposure for the 91st Academy Awards night, appearing on the red carpet with his show-stopper Christian Siriano dress. At the top was an overly polished suit that cascaded into a velvet balloon skirt. 

Porter without a doubt succeeded in his goal to break boundaries that night!

Amy Adams

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Nominated as Best Supporting Actress for her performance in The Master, Amy Adams really took time and effort into preparing her dress for the 2013 Academy Awards night. The actress wore an overly extravagant Oscar de la Renta gown, refined down to the last details… as can be seen through the dress’s trail!

Amanda Seyfried

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Amanda Seyfried was a lady in red during the 2021 Academy Awards night. Nominated for outstanding role as supporting actress in the movie Mank, Seyfried definitely stunned everyone with her luxurious vibrant red Giorgio Armani gown.

Seyfried embodied that of a blooming flower… quite literally as her gown’s design was a mix of hibiscus flowers inspiration and the Old Hollywood style.

Natalie Portman

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Natalie Portman, best known for her works in the Marvel’s Thor franchise, walked with a purpose in her Christian Dior ensemble during the 2020 Academy Awards night. Portman took the opportunity of being a presenter and appearing on stage – being the voice of all the snubbed women directors in the industry.

Through the seams of her cape, names of the said women were printed in gold scripts!

Charlize Theron

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It’s all about class for Charlize Theron as she took home her first Academy Award as Best Actress for her role in Monster on the night 2004. She shone even brighter with her studded beige Gucci dress, making her the embodiment of regal and class during the event.

Kate Hudson

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Search for the image of royalty and Kate Hudson’s 2003 Oscars night look might just be one of the results. The How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days actress graced the 75th Academy Awards with her hand-sewn, 14-carat gold Donatella Versace gown.

No doubt no one questioned how she managed to smoothly walk down the red carpet that night!


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