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Every Best Actress Dress

Here's one infographic that seems to have been pulled direct from the subconcious collective subconcious of actressexuals everywhere - it's every Best Actress dress ever worn to the ceremony.

UPDATE: This graphic was originally created by Media Run and they've updated it to include this year's champ as well as fill in the blanks we complained about Norma Shearer (You can't go and forget the First Lady of MGM, can you?). You can click on it to embiggen below.

But I'll share my 10 favorites after the jump, okay? okay. 


These are my ten favorite looks from the winners, although ironically enough, I almost never think the winner is the best dressed of the nominees. And I didn't even like the bottom row that I lived through at first but they've been burned into my memory as being perfect embodiments of that actress as well as being pretty/sexy/glam. 


And this is 100% my favorite Oscar look for a loser before my lifetime. Imagine this as an Oscar winning look? Perfection, Natalie. And not just because there's Warren Beatty as accessory.

They wore something very similar to Cannes together both in terms of hair and color and everything. Natalie loved white for her red carpet looks. 

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Reader Comments (44)

Looooove this!!!

Grace Kelly
Jane Fonda
Louise Fletcher
Jane Fonda
Holly Hunter
Hilary Swank
Julia Roberts
Halle Berry
Hilary Swank

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I guess it's safe to say there won't be a period like 1962-1975 ever again, when 10 out of the 15 winners didn't show up.

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJan

The Kelly, Paltrow, and Theron looks are classic and fit the women wearing them - but Halle Berry's dress is likely my favorite.

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

How do we feel about the fact that she-who-must-not-be-named is on the Best Dressed list, not only once but twice! I feel guilty saying so on this site, but both her 1999/2004 gowns are awesome.

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Love love love.

Side note: Norma Shearer has totally been left off!!

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLeigh

Nicole Kidman was perfection. One of her best look ever & THAT'S something!

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

Oh my stars, I need this as wallpaper for my bathroom. This is amazing.

My faves are Grace Kelly, Barbra Streisand, Julia Roberts, and Susan Sarandon.

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAR

Can we vote for the worst? Marlee Matlin all the way

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Say what you will about Swank, but when she wins an Oscar she looks fantastic.

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

This is awesome! I love Elizabeth Taylor, Cher, Julia, Nicole, and Natalie Portman. But I bet Cate will wow us.

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

This is so FUN!!!

It's kind of difficult to choose one. You have to think about the era, period, pregnancy. Gwyneth's was classic princess. Swank however, was the most surprising in terms of style, because she has this very toned and good body. Her 2005 dress was really interesting and chic. Loved Julia Roberts as well; I believe it was vintage Versace (don't quote me on that). It was super classic and sophisticated.

However, the most provocative, interesting, gorgeous, and stunning dress was hands down Halle Berry's. No contest. It was a spectacular gown, and still holds the reign as one of the most unique gowns I've ever seen on a red carpet.

But quite possible my favorite gown was Charlize Theron's Christian Dior sky blue gown for the year she presented Jamie Foxx with Best Actor. It's a shame she didn't where that dress when she won! (also loved Rene Zellwegger's yellow retro gown, and Michelle Williams mustard gown, and Nicole Kidman's gown from the 90s)

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTory Smith

Julia Roberts was vintage Valentino.

My favorite nominee was Doris Day's dress from the 60 ceremony (59 films) by Irene.

I liked Lawrence's dress last year too but Halle Berry takes the cake and Swank's from 05 was perfect for her but would be so wrong on so many others.

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Thank you Henry :-)

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTory Smith

Elizabeth Taylor's gown from 1961 was by Dior, not unknown. That's one of my favorite looks.
Also Babs and Cher. So iconic.

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVinicius

Oh, it's all about the see through pantsuit that Barbra wore. No one topped that ever for daring, not even Cher since that was, well, sort of expected.

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

I recall reading that Joanne Woodward had made her own dress.

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBilly Held An Oscar

I love Julie Andrews' and Grace Kelly's, both so classy. Helen Mirren's was lovely too (I do like when people dress like Oscars - like Meryl x2). And I love Marion Cotillard's more and more, it was so perfect for her.

Halle Berry's was just special, and Barbra's too.

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

My ten:

Julie Christie-the gold lame pantsuit was so unique and she looked ravishing in it.
Charlize Theron-Effortlessly timeless
Barbra Streisand-Her wardrobe now is safely dull but back in the 60's she was so willing to take risks.
Vivien Leigh-Simple and elegant
Helen Mirren-Stunningly sexy and still age appropriate.
Audrey Hepburn-So impeccably her.
Marion Cotillard-Shimmering
Hilary Swank-Stunning in blue
Jennifer Lawrence-A tad on the prom dress side but very cinematic.
Grace Kelly-She stole Judy's Oscar but I have to admit her look is classic.

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

I'm hoping Blanchett wins so that her dress will be *crosses fingers* the first Best Actress Oscar dress by Alexander McQueen. That is, of course, if she wears McQueen :P

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick T

I think Claudette Colbert attended her ceremony at the last minute. There's a famous picture of Shirley Temple presenting her with the Oscar. There's also the equally famous story of how she didn't want to attend because she was scheduled to leave for a vacation. Colbert was actually at the train station that evening. Upon learning that she had won, studio reps found her, forced her off the train and made her come accept the award; hence the plain suit she's wearing in the picture with Temple.

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMateo

Blanchett already wore Alexander McQueen at the BAFTA so I don't think she will repeat. I'm guessing she'll go with Armani since she's their face for the perfume. Plus, the last time she wore Armani (Prive) to the Oscars, she looked awesome (her best red carpet look ever, IMO).

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Infamous


top 5:

1.) Berry (by far)
2.) Witherspoon
3.) Julia Roberts
4.) Cher
5.) Portman

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan S.

where's the RED?!? I know, i know red carpet but still. wish winslet had said 'fuck it' and re-worn her jaw-dropping red '02 dress for her '09 win.

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEric

that monstrosity from Emma Thompson was Armani? I doubt it.

February 27, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

My favs are probably...

Barbra Streisand
Hilary Swank (second dress)
Marion Cotillard
Halle Berry
Sandra Bullock

Honorable mentions to Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron, and Jodie Foster (second).

Glad I'm not the only one that feels that way about Halle's dress. Stunning. Most memorable in my opinion.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Susan Sarandon's is possibly the worst. Was she trying to smuggle in some dwarfs inside to teh ceremony.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMustafa

There was an article on this topic on Vanity Fair a couple days ago, including a slideshow with photos of each winner and some more info on the designers. I didn't pay much attention, but I think it said both Woodward (like Billy has said here) and Christie wore their own designs.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

They all look actually good.... as a draw.
I dn't see much "bad" dresses. I mean Cher is always excused because she's Cher.
A bit dissapointing is Meryl's first lead win dress, because that year she must have known she was going to win and she can dress elegant when she wants to. (she was pregnant though...)
Like not many like her winning dress for TIL, but it was wonderfully draped and she just looked like the winner of her category.
I see a lot of blue dresses and I hope cate wears blue on Sunday, but the majority are black dresses or for the last winners more white/silver or light pink.
It's interesting that no one except Halle Berry wore red!

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

Leigh -- i noticed that too. the more i looked there's a few unaccounted for. maybe there are no photos of the dress?

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Um, love.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJorge

Those aren't a good top ten list. No Halle Berry? Nicole? Including Gwyneth and Jodie Foster instead? Beezelbub? For shame, for shame.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterIan

I love Nicole, but am I the only one who feels like she didn't really bring it the year she won? Which is nuts because she totally brought it the other two times she was nominated. And that's a slippery slope anyway, because if we're choosing multiple nominees' most deserving wins for which night they were best dressed, then Winslet would have won for Little Children and then...I mean, what do you do? What's to be done?

I love your use of the word "embiggen". It's a perfectly cromulent word.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Pretentious Know it All

Our beloved "Inside Oscar" says the Jane Fonda dress is "the same James Riva dress I wore to the Awards last year."

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterzig

Joanne Woodard made her own dress and somebody else I can't remember.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlex B

I remember GP ripped the boning out of the bodice of her dress and it didn't look like it fit well. Ralph Lauren even issued a statement saying they were disappointed that she had altered the dress. (It looked terrible on stage)

I can forgive Meryl on the maternity dress. No one was really doing fashion evening wear for pregnant women at that time, certainly not like when Cate wore that stunning red dress in '02 I think.

I miss the days of Demi, Whoopi and Genna. Now the only really disastrous looks seem to be women who have contracts with Dior. (Theron with the bat wings one year and boob circles another and that curtain thing Lawrence wore to the Globes this year).

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

TPIA - Kidman won her Oscar during a very somber time, so I think that her understated dress was appropriate. I actually think it's very elegant.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

Nathan, you picked my girl Greer for your Top Ten! She looks smashing.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

brookesboy -- the body scultping of that outfit is so 40s and so glamorous and so perfect. Ugh. The 40s were so great for fashion. Wish there were better pictures of Greer in that smart outfit

February 28, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nicole Kidman is perfection! (by far)

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlberto

I remember Nicole's gown for its beautiful back. She got onstage and turned around because she thought she was going to cry, so everyone had a good view of it. It was lovely.

That said, my favorite Oscar gown ever is probably the chartreuse Dior she wore in 1997.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Halle's dress is still everything! That's all.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaulie

sally field - 1980. sally field - 1985. she obviously learnt a lot in those 5 years.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermatt

Vivian Leigh for A Streetcar named desire?

March 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlberto


June 11, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJohnwill

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