The return of the full Oscars red carpet comes at a moment of limited collective escapism, and no doubt horrified looks from those that think frivolity of this kind should be frowned upon. There is the war in Ukraine. There is a new COVID variant. There is every other jigsaw piece of the global geopolitical shitshow. Whether seriousness prevails on stage at the 94th Academy Awards (about war, politics, the erasure of certain categories in the TV show, or…insert unknown-as-yet controversy here) remains to be seen, but on the 2022 Oscars red carpet escapism ruled.
“There are no dresses left in LA,” E! informed us gravely, as if referring to a Doomsday paucity of actual grain.
“The looks are going to be epic,” stylist Brad Goreski added, and he was not wrong. From Rosie Perez to Wesley Snipes to Lily James, a game of serious dress-up unfolded early. Ariana DeBose stunned in a trouser suit and cape, Timothée Chalamet showed chest, Nicole Kidman in Armani Privé looked structurally, ummm, interesting. Then came Jada Pinkett Smith in a stunning, sweeping emerald green Jean Paul Gaultier gown, and Kristen Stewart in tight Chanel tux and tiny shorts. Billie Eilish was puzzlingly swallowed in a sea of black ruffles. Lupita Nyong’o shone in Prada. Whatever awfulness in the world there is, the Oscars red carpet did what it should and could, allowing for a temporary restoration of, well, fun.
Kristen Stewart in Chanel. She said she had “so much fun” playing Princess Diana in Spencer. Fabulously, she changed from heels into socks and flat shoes after the red carpet.
Timothée Chalamet leaves the world—hetero, homo, whatever—in a collective faint.
Penelope Cruz in open-backed taffeta Chanel.
Ultimate-cool-meets-glam: Zoe Kravitz in St. Laurent.
Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian.
Maya Rudolph and Paul Thomas Anderson.
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.
Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker.
Nicole Kidman came with her own elbow rests for drinks and snacks. This gown is by Armani Privé, and the color was designed for her, Kidman said. This is the new marker of wealth and power: not clothes, but actual colors actually designed for you.
Kodi Smit-McPhee won the suit game, hands down.
Regina Hall in Vera Wang.
Laverne Cox in custom August Getty.
Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty
Rita Moreno in Carolina Herrera made it clear she thought she looked fabulous. And she did.
Saniyya Sidney who played Venus Williams in King Richard, in Armani Privé. “I love fairytale and old Hollywood,” she said, referencing Audrey Hepburn.
Wanda Sykes and Alex Sykes.
Tracee Ellis Ross in Carolina Herrera.
Maddie Ziegler in Giambattista Valli.
Demi Singleton, who plays Serena Williams in King Richard, in Miu Miu.
Jude Hill, 11 years old, and the extremely eloquent star of “Belfast.” He revealed that Dame Judi Dench was a skilled whoopee cushion prankster on the set.
Sebastián Yatra in custom made Moschino by Jeremy Scott.
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