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The most memorable dresses worn to the Oscars

Angelina Jolie speaks onstage during the 84th Annual Academy Awards held at the Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Angelina Jolie speaks onstage during the 84th Annual Academy Awards held at the Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) (2012 Getty Images)

Sure, we watch the Oscars for the show itself, but half of the fun is seeing the amazing fashion that struts down the red carpet.

Most of the fashion we don’t end up thinking about past the night of the award show, but there are some dresses that will live on in our heads rent free for years and years.

From the absolute glamorous looks of Charlize Theron and Halle Berry to the what-were-they-thinking dresses worn by Bjork and Cher, the Oscars have given us so much.

So let’s take a trip down memory lane and see some of the most memorable looks that have graced the Oscars red carpet.

Barbara Streisand (1969)

Barbra Streisand holds her Oscar after she was named co-winner of the Best Actress Award in the 41st Annual Academy Awards. Photo via Getty. (Getty Images.)

Our favorite “Funny Girl” made history in 1969 when she tied for Best Actress with Katherine Hepburn. Streisand looked so cute in this mod dress that was sheer and had a fashionable bow tie made by Arnold Scaasi.

Cher (1986)

Cher in 1986. (Getty Images.)

Whenever Cher showed up at the Oscars she always had a fantastic outfit, but when she showed up at the 1986 ceremony, jaws were on the floor. Of course, no other than Bob Mackie made this iconic gown, and it became a synonymous for the look of Cher. It wouldn’t be for another two years until she won her Oscar for “Moonstruck” (snap out of it!), but she solidified herself in Oscar history with this one.

Celine Dion (1999)

Celine Dion poses during the 71st Annual Academy Awards. (Photo by Ron Davis/Getty Images) (1999 Ron Davis)

Celine Dion said “I’m going to wear a tux to the Oscars but make it fashion,” and she certainly did. Heads turned when Dion wore the backwards tux down the red carpet, but it’s gone on to be an instantly recognizable outfit for the singer. John Galliano made this iconic ensemble.

Gwyneth Paltrow (1999)

Gwyneth Paltrow at the 71st Annual Academy Awards. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)

Ralph Lauren made this pretty in pink gown for Gwyneth Paltrow in 1999. This was sort of Paltrow’s coming out moment as an “it” girl, and she ended up winning Best Actress for her breakthrough role in “Shakespeare In Love.” Paltrow needed a gown that was going to make a statement, and this one certainly did.

Julia Roberts (2001)

Julia Roberts winning Best Actress at the 73rd Annual Academy Awards. (Photo by Terry McGinnis/WireImage)

After years of being America’s sweetheart in the best romantic comedies of all time, Roberts stepped out of her usual roles and gave the performance of a lifetime in “Erin Brockovich.” This Valentino gown is absolutely timeless and was memorable for a memorable performance.

Bjork (2001)

Bjork at the Academy Awards. (© Copyright DMI Photo™)

Some were disgusted and some were offended, but Bjork’s swan dress is iconic. It’s now become slightly infamous, but it’s a dress that will always get brought up when it comes to Oscars fashion. Designer Marjan Pejoski made the gown.

Halle Berry (2002)

Halle Berry at the Academy Awards. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Halle Berry became the first Black woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress, so she already made history that night. The fact that she also wore this gorgeous Ellie Saab sheer floral gown, which will forever go down as a beautiful Oscars dress, is just the icing on the cake.

Charlize Theron (2004)

Charlize Theron at the Academy Awards. (Getty Images.)

You want old school Hollywood glamour? Charlize Theron will give you old school Hollywood glamour. What made this look so striking is that Theron completely transformed herself for the movie for which she won an Oscar, “Monster.” Since many didn’t know Theron up until this night, people were shocked to learn she was so beautiful. This Dior gown will go down in the history books.

Nicole Kidman (2007)

Nicole Kidman at the Academy Awards. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Nicole Kidman had attended many Oscar red carpets at this point in her career (and even picked up an award along the way), but she really hadn’t dazzled on the carpet until this red Balenciaga gown. The asymmetrical bow really just makes the entire look.

Cate Blanchett (2011)

Cate Blanchett arrives at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre in 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage) (2011 WireImage)

This Givenchy gown that Cate Blanchett wore in 2011 is weird, but it’s also just mesmerizing to look at. The colors, the light pink with the lime green, is a combination we normally don’t see in Oscar gowns, and the detailing is just incredible. Blanchett was wearing a work of art that night.

Meryl Streep (2012)

Meryl Streep arrives at the 84th Annual Academy Awards at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage) (2012 Steve Granitz)

When you’ve been nominated for so many Oscars, you just start showing up to the ceremony dressed as one. Meryl Streep is the greatest, and she looked absolutely stunning when she won her third Oscar for “The Iron Lady.” Long live Meryl!

Viola Davis (2012)

Viola Davis at the 84th Annual Academy Awards held at the Hollywood & Highland Center in 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) (2012 Getty Images)

Green isn’t a color we see too often on the red carpet, and this Armani Privé gown was absolutely stunning. Viola Davis didn’t go for anything too flashy with the styling, she just let the design of the gown speak for itself.

Angelina Jolie (2012)

Angelina Jolie speaks onstage during the 84th Annual Academy Awards held at the Hollywood & Highland Center in 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) (2012 Getty Images)

What’s on the menu? Legs!

Angelina Jolie used the slit up her Versace to her advantage and showed off one of her best assets. The dress immediately became a meme, but it put Jolie in Oscars fashion history. Also, that red lip? Iconic.

Lupita Nyong’o (2014)

Lupita Nyong'o at the 86th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center in 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic) (2014 Axelle/Bauer-Griffin)

A star was born this night, and Lupita Nyong’o looked absolutely stunning in this pale blue song. This Prada gown fit her like a glove, and the added touch of the headband and fabulous earrings really made the look come together. It was the perfect gown in which to win an Academy Award.

Zendaya (2015)

Zendaya at the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center in 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) (2015 Getty Images)

Zendaya made a fashion statement when she attended her first Oscars in this Vivienne Westwood gown, but the entire moment was ruined when E! host Guiliana Rancic made a racist comment about Zendaya’s hair. The fact that Zendaya was comfortable enough to wear Black hair at the most famous red carpet in the world should say enough.

Lady Gaga (2019)

Lady Gaga at the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland in 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage) (2019 Steve Granitz)

Without a doubt, this was the biggest night of Lady Gaga’s career. Not only was she nominated for Best Original Song for “Shallow,” but she was also nominated for Best Actress. While she didn’t win the latter, she still made a statement with this Brandon Maxwell gown.


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