The 11 Best Dresses on the Oscars Red Carpet

From Gwyneth Paltrow in all-white Tom Ford to Jessica Chastain in Alexander McQueen.

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Gwyneth Paltrow debuts Tom Ford's Fall '12 collection on the Oscars red carpet.
The night belonged to Gwyneth Paltrow, who was one of the few actresses to bring a sense of high fashion to the red carpet. She didn't need sequins or feathers to do it, just a crisp white gown by Tom Ford with a chic matching cape.
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Rose Byrne cut a dramatic silhouette in this black sequin Vivienne Westwood gown, and we loved the pairing of the asymmetrical top with her shoulder-dusting earrings.
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Many in the fashion set remarked on the similarity between Emma Stone's bow-topped Giambattista Valli look and that of Nicole Kidman's 2007 Balenciaga moment, but it's a good look to imitate: The dress is a lovely color, and big nights call for big bows.
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Jessica Chastain's red carpet appearances throughout the awards season have been somewhat hit or miss, but this black-and-gold brocade gown by Alexander McQueen was an outright hit, especially paired with her loose red hair.
While Angelina Jolie's overt leg action on the red carpet may have earned its own Twitter handle (10,000 followers and counting!), the Atelier Versace gown itself was a sexy stunner, especially when it was in motion.
Milla Jovovich was one of the first to step out on the red carpet, and her sequined Elie Saab gown remained one of the night's top looks -- especially paired with that long lip -- even hours later when the show started. (The night's other big Elie Saab appearance, on Berenice Bejo, fell flat.)
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The question of what Rooney Mara would wear to the Oscars has been the buzz of the fashion industry ever since she covered Vogue last year. The cream Givenchy couture gown she chose (apparently the morning of the show), while not earth-shattering, was simple and elegant enough to remain at the top of the list by the end of the night.
Similarly, the reviews of Michelle Williams' Louis Vuitton gown were a bit mixed -- critics were especially divided over the peplum waist -- but in the end, the stunning coral color and exquisite texture won the day.
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The Tadashi Shoji gown worn by one of the night's big winners, Octavia Spencer, on the other hand, was perfection -- from the ultra-flattering silhouette to the luxurious-looking shimmer.
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While the dress may not have won prizes for originality, Penelope Cruz's blue, off-the-shoulder Armani Prive accomplished what few others did on Oscar Sunday: It captured a Grace Kelly-inspired, old Hollywood sense of glamour.
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After creating a stir by publicly rebuking Dior following the John Galliano scandal last year, Natalie Portman wore a 1954 Christian Dior that -- bravely! -- managed to make polka dots on the red carpet look chic.
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