Our Notes: Oscars 2019

Some (but definitely not all) of the head-turning and fashionable looks of the 2019 Oscars

White sneakers on a red carpet. Photo by Christian Chen/Unsplash.
Photo by Christian Chen/Unsplash

Apparently looking at more than 175 Oscar 2019 photos makes me want to include them all in this roundup. (I must confess, I was at an important family dinner during the actual red carpet and ceremony.) However, I’ve tried to slim them down to a few diferent trends and highlights that are noteworthy.

The Best-Dressed Crew


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While there were admittedly some questionable choices, I think I’m still going to give it to the Crazy Rich Asians cast because all of the pieces were memorable and—let’s be realistic—they’re all beautiful people and can pull off, in Gemma Chan’s case, a comforter, and in Awkwafina’s case, a promising scarf tie that is unfortunately beaten down by poor suit tailoring. I am swooning over Constance Wu’s yellow dress, and Michelle Yeoh’s gown is stunning with metallic details that make the bodice fierce and the skirt effervescent. Definitely look through this collection of photos and, if you want to give yourself an extra treat, watch Henry Golding’s GQ video where he goes over what he’s wearing. (After looking at so many Oscars photos, I’m shocked by how psyched I got about his white bowtie and the small chain.) For another stylish cast, check out Black Panther

The Elegant


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Regina King (winner of Best Supporting Actress for If Beale Street Could Talk) wore a simple gown made flattering by the exaggerated ruching and her own exuberance and command.


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There were many other gorgeous looks that night, but Kiki Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk) deserves a special mention.

Because I’m pretty sure someone will ask, Emilia Clarke (Games of Thrones, Solo: A Star Wars Story) garners mention as well.

Jennifer Lopez’s fractured mirror dress is more modern than the other ones in this group, but with its modest cut, what could have been a diso ball disaster looks classy.

The Power Couples


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Rami Malek (Best Actor winner for Bohemian Rhapsody) and Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody) make for a photogenic pair with Malek staying classic and Boynton going for a dramatic, saturated hue with sleeves and neckline that give an Old Hollywood glamor.  


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Jason Momoa (Aquaman, Game of Thrones) and his wife Lisa Bonet match in blush pink. Her dress isn’t my favorite; I like the texture more on the skirt, but when it’s stretched across the bodice, it reminds me a bit of a fish net (but maybe that’s the point). His suit also isn’t my favorite. I think the color is a little washed out for him, and I dislike how, as my co-editor Katie Ballalatak pointed out, the pant stripe seems darker than the gray lapels. But the cuteness factor makes it work—Momoa even coordinated his scrunchie. 


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John Mulaney (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Kid Gorgeous at Radio City) went for a floral jacket pattern, and his wife, Annamarie Tendler, went for a very bright neck piece. While his suit was much better than Pharrell William‘s army camo/shorts one, I really just wanted an excuse to link to the cute banter he did with Awkwafina to present the Best Animated Short.

The Stiff Structures


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I’ve seen enough Project Runway to be used to hip styles like this, but even if you are familiar with it, it doesn’t mean you have to like it. Luckily for Lady Gaga (Best Original Song winner for “Shallow” in A Star is Born), the proportion and placement are spot-on. My takeaway? If you are going to go crazy with a structure like this, use non-wrinkly material, choose elegant accessories, and pick the right celebrity personality.


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Emma Stone also had extra structure in her dress, but combined with the sequined brown cross-hatch of the fabric, the winged shoulders regretably, according to my intern, looked like waffle bowls. This is still better than the dead fish scales I had seen someone else compare it to. I will say that on its own, the rich brown color works. 

The Pink


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This color was a statement style in itself, and while some people like Marie Kondo were lauded for their wardrobe, others like Sarah Paulson and her droopy balloon-esque gown were not. The above, again with Gemma Chan, Kacey Musgraves, Linda Cardellini, and Angela Basset were some of the most prominent people in the hue.

The Pants


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Elsie Fisher’s (Eighth Grade) sleek hair with barette, perfectly cut ensemble, and boots make her one of the sharpest dressed on the red carpet. As for Amy Poehler (Parks & Recreation) I can’t get on board the floor-length pants look, which also affects my opinion of Melissa McCarthy‘s. (Speaking of Melissa McCarthy, if you want to compare capes, my favorite cape of the night was Selma Blair‘s because it didn’t weigh her down.) Diane Warren also wore a suit, and she contrasted its white color with a high, black neck and a bejeweled chunky chain. While the neck feature grew on me, the sequined tuxedo stripes didn’t. Presumably, the RBG action figure she brought went with her look since little RBG wore her black judge robes.

The Guys


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You can’t talk about gentlemen and not mention Billy Porter (PoseAmerican Horror Story). He carried himself like royalty in this sweeping tuxedo gown. His poise makes me wonder if all you need is confidence to make something mod. (Then I remember Rachel Weisz, and while her face was radiant, it did not sell me on the mini rain poncho atop her dress.) For another man who stepped outside of the traditional suit, look to Chadwick Boseman, who had wide-legged pants, a sequined train, and an extra-long scarf detail.


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Spike Lee (Best Adapted Screenplay winner for Blackkklansman) went all out in a tribute to Prince and kept it from being grimace-inducing with beautiful color choices and little metal fixtures to provide the bridge to the larger statement metal and metallic accessories he donned.


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As far as classic but different, actor Nicholas Hoult (X-Men franchise, The Favourite, and the upcoming Tolkein) wins my vote for keeping the lines clean, going sophisticated with black on black, and not ruining the effect of the neckline with a bowtie or a tie. Maybe a pin in the normal lapel area would be nice (Adam Lambert went for a striking white orchid), but I suppose we’ll never know. 


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Velvet tuxedo and suits were still in, and Michael B Jordan (Black PantherFahrenheit 451Friday Night Lights) kept his from looking too prom-ish with a midnight blue jacket and non-velvet pants. Sure, it wasn’t as daring as Stephen James‘ ruby matching set (with an excellent star pin), but Jordan was also one of the surprisingly large amount of celebrities who brought their mom. And look at how cute that is. (As another shout out to the velvet-clad gents, here’s Chris Evans being an American hero.)

And, not to be forgotten, the best not-as-talked-about gown


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Marielle Heller (director of Can You Ever Forgive Me?) wore a long white dress that shimmered with subtle beading. Combined with her sedona-red hair, the effect was mature and eye-catching. If you didn’t know, her lack of best director nomination was considered one of the Oscar snubs this year, so remember her name and expect to see her again. (Here, Heller is next to her husband and Lonely Island member Jorma Taccone.)