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Last Updated: Monday, 28 February, 2005, 07:17 GMT
Oscar frocks put colour in shade
By Ellie Levenson
Freelance fashion writer

Sophie Okonedo
British actress Sophie Okonedo wore a white Rochas dress
There was colour, but it was the black and white that won at the 77th Academy Awards.

Sure, there was the winner of best supporting actress - Cate Blanchett - impeccably dressed in yellow Valentino couture, Kate Winslet in blue low cut Badgley Mischka and Renee Zellweger stunning in red Carolina Herrera.

But the colourful frocks paled next to Beyonce's black Versace, Ziyi Zhang's (House of Flying Daggers) wonderful Monique Lhillier black chantilly lace gown and Scarlett Johansson looking every inch the movie star in her Roland Mouret, peroxide hair swept back with jewels.

And it was the whites, creams and beiges that won the day, not a phrase you hear often outside of home decorating magazines.

Catalina Sandino Moreno (best actress nominee for Maria Full of Grace) in Roberto Cavalli, Gisele Bundchen in Christian Dior, Maggie Gyllenhaal in Prada and even best actor Jamie Foxx's 10-year-old daughter, Corrine Marie, all carried off their lighter shade dresses with aplomb.

Absolutely glowing

But best of all was Sophie Okonedo absolutely glowing in a wonderful white Rochas dress with the best fashion accessory of all. No, not a Bulgari necklace (though Ziyi Zhang's was very nice) but equally large and just as sparkly - a huge grin, even when she didn't win.

Cate Blanchett gave Martin Scorsese what one can only assume is a compliment: "I hope my son will marry your daughter."

If he does then the bride could do worse than wear any of these.

Catalina Sandino Moreno

Halle Berry makes the occasional mistake in her choice of film (Catwoman, Gothika) but never in her choice of dress.

While it would take quite something to beat the Elie Saab dress she wore in 2002 when she won best actress, this year's asymmetrical vintage Atelier Versace was just the ticket.

Like Berry, Natalie Portman is another who would look good in a dustbin liner. Unfortunately she opted instead for a Lanvin gown that made her look like an extra in Troy (or is it Alexander?) rather than the leading lady that she is.

Get it right, as Berry showed, and your picture will appear for ever more in magazine spreads of great dresses. Get it wrong, and be condemned to a career haunted by "worst dressed" lists.

Looked the winner

This year had neither. No dress stood out as absolutely breathtaking but nor were there any complete shockers.

There were no swans (Bjork, 2001) or spiders (Cher, 1986). Nor were any breasts showing through their netting as Gwyneth's did in 2002, though she was spilling out of this year's strapless Stella McCartney.

Halle Berry and Oprah Winfrey
Halle Berry and Oprah Winfrey (right) in golden Vera Wang
Best actress winner Hilary Swank won her second Oscar in four years and managed to look very much the winner in her long-sleeved, backless Guy Laroche.

It didn't quite match the glamour of the Randolph Duke bronze strapless gown she wore for her first win, but it did the job, hugging her fabulous figure as tightly as a dress can.

Perhaps hoping to copy her success, both Drew Barrymore and Renee Zellweger went brunette this year, though neither looked entirely comfortable with it.

And of course there is always one who, knowing they are unlikely to win an Oscar, come dressed as one instead.

Oprah Winfrey was nominated as best supporting actress for The Color Purple in 1985. Twenty years later she is giving the little statuettes a run for their money in a golden Vera Wang dress.

But she looked like she was enjoying herself, which is of course, for all but the fashion commentators and nominees, the important thing.


VOTE RESULTS
Who looked the best on Oscar night?
Hilary Swank
 11.16% 
Beyonce Knowles
 20.17% 
Cate Blanchett
 3.34% 
Scarlett Johanssen
 6.52% 
Sophie Okonedo
 2.71% 
Natalie Portman
 3.10% 
Kate Winslet
 20.01% 
Catalina S Moreno
 5.29% 
Halle Berry
 19.91% 
Oprah Winfrey
 7.80% 
4938 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


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