Best and worst dressed celebs on the red carpet at the 2021 Oscars

Fashion hits and misses from the 93rd Academy Awards

26 April 2021 - 10:53
By Ricci-Lee Kalish
Zendaya showed why she's a fashion fave in this vibrant Valentino gown.
Image: Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images Zendaya showed why she's a fashion fave in this vibrant Valentino gown.

The two-month postponement of the 2021 Academy Awards is emblematic of what a bizarre year it has been.

The delay of the Oscars is diminutive compared to the havoc the Covid-19 pandemic has wrought on society at large, but a bit of sartorial escapism is important in these strange times, and luckily this year’s award ceremony had it in spades.

The Oscars offered us a hint of normalcy with its strict Covid-19 protocols, in-person attendees and real life red carpet moments.

It was one of the most stylish A-list events in years, so much so that we were hard-pressed to find anyone to put on our worst dressed list.

See for yourself:

BEST DRESSED

ZENDAYA

The midriff-baring silhouette was the trend du jour at this year’s Oscars, and Zendaya led the pack in this sunshine yellow Valentino couture gown.

With her wavy locks and sun-kissed makeup, the star’s look could have been a bit ho hum, but we love how she juxtaposed this somewhat casual dress with the luxury of loads of diamonds — her Bulgari necklace is rumoured to be worth a whopping $6m (about R85m).

It is California-cool meets New York City opulence.

Carey Mulligan may not have won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in 'Promising Young Women' but she did win the red carpet in Valentino couture.
Image: Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images Carey Mulligan may not have won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in 'Promising Young Women' but she did win the red carpet in Valentino couture.

CAREY MULLIGAN

Best Actress nominee and feminist fave Carey Mulligan came to slay the Oscar’s red carpet. Her outfit is reminiscent of Academy Awards ceremonies gone by and fashion drama long forgotten.

Like Zendaya, she wore a mid-riff-bearing Valentino gown, but while the silhouette of the former’s dress was fairly low key, Mulligan’s was full-on with its shimmery colour and large skirt.

Her stylist knew this gown needed to be the centre of attention so wisely kept the styling simple with a sleek updo and little-to-no jewellery. That said, we think a colourful pair of earrings would have taken this look to the next level.

Regina King looked regal in bespoke Louis Vuitton.
Image: Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images Regina King looked regal in bespoke Louis Vuitton.

REGINA KING

You know you’ve made it when you get to rock up at the Oscars in a bespoke Louis Vuitton creation that took four months to make.

It took 140 hours to create actress and director Regina King’s custom gown, which is embellished with more than 62,000 sequins, 3,900 pale sparkling stones and more than 4,500 in darker blue tones. If you ask us, all that work was totally worth it.

A closer look at the incredible detailing on Regina King's Oscar gown.
Image: Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images A closer look at the incredible detailing on Regina King's Oscar gown.

King is always statuesque and elegant on the red carpet, but this frock may be her pièce de résistance. Its Disney princess-esque hue and wing-light sleeves gave King a regal look that was perfectly complemented by her dusty-blue makeup and sharp bob.

This is a look that’ll go down in fashion history.

Actress Margot Robbie failed to wow in her Chanel frock.
Image: Matt Petit/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images Actress Margot Robbie failed to wow in her Chanel frock.

WORST DRESSED

MARGOT ROBBIE

As we’ve said before, the fashion at this year’s Oscars was so brilliant it was tough to find nominees for our worst dressed list.

With that in mind, Margot Robbie earned her spot not because her outfit is atrocious, but more because it’s boring and basic.

The Australian actress has always gravitated towards more simple red carpet looks, and this metallic Chanel gown with floral details is no different.

The dress is as yawn-worthy as it is pretty and her look was completely ruined by that stark black clutch.

A beautiful magenta bag, turquoise earrings and a slick of bright lipstick would have made this look a lot less ageing and brought it into the 21st century.

Viola Davis looked dated in a white Alexander McQueen two-piece.
Image: Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images Viola Davis looked dated in a white Alexander McQueen two-piece.

VIOLA DAVIS

This may be one of the more controversial picks on our list. After all, Best Actress Oscar nominee Viola Davis has been a firm fashion favourite for years.

Though she’s proved her sartorial prowess on the red carpet time and again, sadly her latest look failed to impress.

While the laser-cut bodice of her Alexander McQueen two-piece is impressive, pairing it with a flowing skirt, YDE-like clutch and heavy make-up just all feels wrong.

We wish the star’s stylist had opted for a more bronzed and lighter makeup look and added some light touches of colour throughout.

That stark white outfit paired with the silver jewellery feels totally old-fashioned and is rather ageing.

Laura Dern made a fashion misstep in this Oscar de la Renta creation.
Image: Matt Petit/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images Laura Dern made a fashion misstep in this Oscar de la Renta creation.

LAURA DERN

Teaming a long-sleeved black polo neck top and a full feathered skirt, the silhouette of actress Laura Dern’s Oscar de la Renta outfit is rather striking and fun. However, poor styling spoiled the overall look.

Her stylist relied too heavily on the dress’s dramatic effect, leaving those all-important details to fall by the wayside. We wish the celeb’s hair had been up in a messy bun and that she’d donned a pair of gorgeous drop earrings.

Her makeup is neither here nor there, and definitely not fabulous enough for the most important red carpet we’ve seen in years.

It’s a prime example of the dress wearing the person rather than the person wearing the dress.


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:

The Edit/Fashion & Beauty
Best and worst dressed celebs at the 2021 SAG Awards
5 months ago