The 53 Most Iconic Oscar Dresses of All Time

From Old Hollywood frocks to modern couture.

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Getty ImagesDesign by Betsy Farrell

The Oscars have forever been the fashion Olympics for Hollywood's brightest stars. Style chameleons like Cate Blanchett and Nicole Kidman regularly steal the show, while risky contenders like Björk still live in our hearts (and memes). With award show attendees opting for all-black (though no less beautiful) ensembles on numerous red carpets this season, it will be interesting to see whether the pattern holds true for this year's biggest night in film. But before we prognosticate about the future, let's take a look at the (very glamorous) past. Ahead, the most iconic red carpet looks in Academy Awards history.

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Jennifer Aniston, 2017

Aniston presenting an award in Atelier Versace foreshadows this year's all-black ensembles—and proves that black doesn't have to mean boring. The open leg, v-neck style has been popular recently among celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence.

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Priyanka Chopra, 2017

We can't tell whether this geometric Ralph & Russo dress looks better from the back or the front—it's that gorgeous, and nobody can wear it as well as Priyanka Chopra.

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Ruth Negga, 2017

Celebrating her big break last year, Ruth Negga made sure her appearance at the Oscars was not one to be forgotten thanks to this lacy high-neck scarlet dress from Valentino with a romantic sweeping train and a Renaissance-style headband.

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Taraji P. Henson, 2017

This va-va-voom Alberta Ferretti look on Taraji P. Henson is understated, but speaks volumes about her style, confidence, and killer body, as many Internet users pointed out.

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Rooney Mara, 2016

Rooney Mara in lace Givenchy, AKA the dress of our dreams. Her slicked back hair and staple red lip adds to the elegance of the gorgeous sheer number.

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Cate Blanchett, 2016

Aaaaand she nails the landing again! Cate Blanchett (can she do any wrong?) does it once more with a visionary sea-foam feathered gown by Armani Privé.

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Rachel McAdams, 2016

A relatively understated look from August Getty (no over-zealous beading or abundant tulle) but McAdams is subtly pulling off other Oscars staples, too—thigh-high slit, low back, and sweeping train—in a very refreshing emerald hue.

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Emma Stone, 2015

Reasons why we're thrilled Emma Stone ended up landing the role in La La Land: her auburn hair naturally vibes with colorful frocks like these. Here, she's wearing a risk-taking Elie Saab gown in mustard yellow that 100 percent pays off.

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Rosamund Pike, 2015

Pike looks like a visionary statuette herself in scarlet Givenchy Haute Couture, perhaps playing off her unforgettable bloody role in the previous year's Gone Girl.

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Lupita Nyong'o, 2014

The then-newcomer stunned in a beautiful aquamarine custom Prada gown with a Fred Leighton headband that landed her on many best-dressed lists in 2014.

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Jennifer Lawrence, 2013

The giant tiered dress that caused the staircase-trip-seen-'round-the-world was a gorgeous haute couture gown by Dior.

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Amy Adams, 2013

The closest Amy Adams has come in real life to her princess role in Enchanted. She wowed in an Oscar de la Renta dress with an ethereal frothy train that she helped to envision with the designer.

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Meryl Streep, 2012

An acting icon in her own right and epic speech-giver (don't mess with Meryl), she mimicked an Oscar statuette (in her signature red carpet style: floor-length dress and plunging neckline) with this gold lamé Lanvin gown.

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Angelina Jolie, 2012

The Versace look that sparked its own meme Twitter account (@AngiesRightLeg) was the talk of Tinsel Town in 2012. Many saw it as a return to her cheeky younger red carpet image, and it's definitely one way to ensure that your all-black dress is anything but boring.

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Natalie Portman, 2011

This aubergine gown by Rodarte was a double-header: a nod to the designer's role in her Oscar-winning movie Black Swan and a beautiful, enviably wearable maternity dress.

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Mila Kunis, 2011

The year Mila Kunis wasn't even up for any awards (she was presenting), but probably crashed Pinterest that night with this lavender Elie Saab gown.

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Cate Blanchett, 2011

Blanchett, a five-time Oscar nominee at this point, caused a stir in this Givenchy Couture pleated lilac gown encrusted with pearls.

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Sandra Bullock, 2010

The stunning Oscar winner for The Blind Side exuded glamour in this floor-length metallic Marchesa gown and perfect pink lip.

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Marion Cotillard, 2008

The mermaid dress is tough to nail without looking like a prom dress gone wrong, but when yours was a couture piece designed by Jean Paul Gaultier—covered with intricate scale embroidery—you're in a whole 'nother category.

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Tilda Swinton, 2008

The year Tilda Swinton gave a middle finger to red carpet norms, she dyed her hair scarlet and wore a bat-wing/sleeveless cape dress that nodded to her reputation as a brilliant, unpredictable fashion maven. Some loved it, others hated it, understandably.

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Nicole Kidman, 2007

Who could forget that scarlet red Balenciaga gown complete with a bow halter neck and side-swept hair?

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Penelope Cruz, 2007

Cruz took sophistication to the next level in this feathered blush-toned Versace gown when she was nominated for a best actress award for Volver.

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Reese Witherspoon, 2006

Southern sweetheart Reese Witherspoon won the Best Actress award for the role of a lifetime—playing June Carter Cash—in this vintage Christian Dior gown (from 1955).

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Keira Knightley, 2006

The actress topped 2006 best-dressed lists in an aubergine taffeta gown, custom-made by Vera Wang.

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Michelle Williams, 2006

Cementing her status as a red carpet icon, Williams paired a bright red lip and soft up-do with this lovely mustard Vera Wang gown.

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Hilary Swank, 2005

The Oscar winner for Million Dollar Baby stole the show in this conservative, yet daring, navy Guy Laroche gown with a super low back.

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Cate Blanchett, 2005

Eternal style chameleon Cate Blanchett took home an award for her role as Katherine Hepburn in The Aviator this year, but her accolades started earlier in the evening when she appeared in this yellow taffeta one-shoulder Valentino gown that's still considered one of the best Oscars gowns in history.

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Uma Thurman, 2004

The Kill Bill actress broke the mold in this Christian Lacroix gown with a silk-wrap waist and cropped sleeves.

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Charlize Theron, 2004

This sleek crystal Gucci gown with a backless cut, draping train, and '40s pin curls looked beyond stunning on the South African beauty, who nabbed the Best Actress award for her role in Monster that year.

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Jennifer Lopez, 2003

It feels like J.Lo was born knowing how to nail an entrance. Case in point: this mint green one-sleeve, asymmetrical cape dress that made her skin look radiant (just one of many red carpet knockouts).

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