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The 20 Most Memorable Oscars Dresses Ever

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Click through to see the 20 memorable Oscars gowns that made a major impact—for better or worse.


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Gwyneth Paltrow, 1999

in ralph lauren

The year Gwynnie won Best Actress for Shakespeare in Love, she collected her award in this sweet princess gown that instantly made pink cool again. Yep, she was like the Elle Woods of the Oscars.

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Hilary Swank, 2005

in Guy Laroche

Business in the front, party in the back—and perfectly fit for any Million Dollar Baby.

Fairchild Archive

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Nicole Kidman, 1997

in Christian Dior by John Galliano

Step aside, Tom! Nicole's striking chartreuse satin number stole the show and earned her style icon status in the late '90s.

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Renee Zellweger, 2001

in Vintage Jean Desses

Looking sweeter than a slice of lemon chiffon pie, Renee lit up the Oscars in this canary-colored column.

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Julia Roberts, 2001

in Vintage Valentino

American cinema's reigning sweetheart may have taken home a statuette for her portrayal of uber-bosomy Erin Brockovich that night, but we liked how she showed just a hint of chiffon-veiled décolletage in this iconic gown.

Fairchild Archive

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Lizzy Gardiner, 1995

in Her Own Design

This quirky costume designer may have won an Oscar for the looks she created for The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, but it was the self-made dress she wore on the podium that earned the most attention that night. Crafted from 254 expired American Express cards, it was later auctioned off for $12,650, with the proceeds going to amfAR. We're glad someone benefited from this red carpet disaster.

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Michelle Williams, 2006

in Vera Wang

The whole mustard fashion craze started here, folks.

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Cher, 1986

in Bob Mackie

When the '70s pop diva turned to longtime collaborator Mackie to make her something special for the Academy Awards, he whipped up this Vegas-inspired two-piece ensemble. Well, three pieces, technically, if you include that crazy headdress.

Getty Images

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Zoe Saldana, 2010

in Givenchy haute Couture

The year Avatar became a pop cultural and cinematic sensation, its leading lady hit the red carpet in an avant-garde violet confection to match. (Blue, obviously, would've been far too literal.)

Fairchild Archive

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Cate Blanchett, 2005

in Valentino haute Couture

Cate scooped up the Best Supporting Actress trophy for her role in The Aviator this year, and fittingly looked like a golden goddess in this one-shouldered creation.

Fairchild Archive

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Sharon Stone, 1998

in Gap and Vera Wang

The Basic Instinct actress made waves when she paired her statement skirt with a button-down borrowed from her then-husband's closet for the big night. A perfect example of high-low on the red carpet.

WireImage

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Björk, 2001

in Marjan Pejoski

What happened to my sweet Björk?!

Fairchild Archive

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Anne Hathaway, 2011

in Valentino haute Couture

Over the course of her Oscar co-hosting gig with James Franco, Anne changed her outfit a staggering eight times (with a little help from her stylist Rachel Zoe, of course). We loved every single look, but it was the crimson Valentino she chose for the red carpet that really wowed us.

Fairchild Archive

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Angelina Jolie, 2012

in Atelier Versace

This might be the first dress to ever birth its own Twitter handle—but we suspect it won't be the last.

Fairchild Archive

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Halle Berry, 2002

in Elie Saab

The night Halle became the first black woman to win a Best Actress Oscar (for Monster's Ball), she did it in this sexy half-sheer floral design that spawned a million knockoffs. It was this gown that catapulted Saab into fashion's big leagues; these days, it's hard to find a red carpet on which he's not represented.

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Marion Cotillard, 2008

in Jean Paul Gaultier

Marion reeled in a Best Actress trophy for her role in La Vie en Rose wearing this sequin, scaled halter dress. Hollywood hopefuls, take note: this is how you do a mermaid gown.

Gammo-Rapho via Getty Images

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Gwyneth Paltrow, 2012

in Tom Ford

A cape? On the red carpet? Obviously, Gwyneth pulled this sartorial statement off with flying colors (er, in white).

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Julianne Moore, 2003

in Tom Ford for Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche

Cementing the popular belief that redheads look a-freakin'-mazing in green, Julianne looked stunning in her good friend Tom Ford's ruffle-front creation. From the fit to the fabric to those showstopping earrings, everything about this look just works perfectly.

Getty Images

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Audrey Hepburn, 1954

in Hubert de Givenchy

It's dresses like this white floral stunner—not to mention those gamine good looks—that make Audrey a fixture on dorm-room posters and inspiration boards to this very day. So chic.

NBC Universal

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Céline Dion, 1999

in Christian Dior by John Galliano

Céline's got one of the most unforgettable voices in the biz—and this look, a white Dior suit worn backwards and topped with a jaunty matching fedora, is certainly hard to forget. You have to hand it to the singer for her daring approach, but...no. Just no.

Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

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Senior Digital Editor

We're at the tail end of a jam-packed awards season, with the grand finale—the Oscars, duh—just a few days away. We can't wait to see what our favorite nominees wear—we already know Jennifer Lawrence will step out in a breathtaking Dior, while we hope to see Lupita Nyong'o pick another brilliantly bold monochromatic gown. As for which designer she'll select—Gucci? Ralph Lauren?—that's anyone's guess.

With our pre-Academy Awards anticipation at a boiling point, we thought it a prime time to take a look back at some of the most memorable Oscars looks from years past. Click through to peep some gowns that made a major impact—for better or worse.

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