Safe -- and a little sorry.
Hollywood's biggest fashion night was a bit of a snooze as the A-listers chose dresses with little wow factor.
Amy Adams and Michelle Williams took tepid turns on the red carpet in forgettable beaded column gowns. Equally dull were Hilary Swank (in strapless Gucci) and Sandra Bullock (unravishing in red).
Pale gowns were aplenty, with Halle Berry and Hailee Steinfeld in Marchesa. Newcomer Steinfeld (Best Supporting Actress nominee for "True Grit") had the edge with a sweet illusion cocktail dress.
Even avant-garde faves failed to bring the heat. Helena Bonham Carter ("The King's Speech") was painfully ordinary in a black gown by Colleen Atwood, while Florence Welch (performing for "127 Hours") wore a dumpy Valentino that washed out her pale complexion.
Worst dress: Nicole Kidman's lost her edge. The one-time red carpet queen and star of "Rabbit Hole" showed up in a fussy, folded and beaded white Christian Dior gown. The poor Aussie actress could barely walk in it.
Best dress: Mila Kunis ("Black Swan") was lovely in lavender. She teased the Oscar audience with a risky Elie Saab gown. Lace detail at the bosom demanded her audience do a double-take.
Mirror, mirror: Melissa Leo's white Marc Bouwer dress put her in a reflective mood. The actress battled it out with her overwrought creation for red carpet attention. She lost.
Dress or draping?
Cate Blanchett dared a wisteria gown by Givenchy Haute Couture that walked the fine line of edgy and outlandish. Designed by Ricardo Tisci, the pale dress had strong shoulders and stunning beadwork. Unfortunately, the cut-out front made the actress look like the back of a chair.
Seeing red: We had no problem with Scarlett wearing scarlet, but the partially see-through Dolce & Gabbana dress was borderline trashy. Worse for the newly single Johansson was her bedhead. That look works better after the Oscar parties.
White, out: Michelle Williams ("Blue Valentine") continued to underwhelm fans with a white beaded Chanel gown that could have -- and should have -- been so much more. Pretty good isn't good enough on Oscar night.
Gone platinum: Gwyneth Paltrow sang country, but her dress was heavy metal. Paltrow matched her Calvin Klein gown to her hair, and the result was more sexy than sophisticated.
Yellow too mellow: Florence Welch drove a lemon off the fashion lot last night. Her lace
Valentino gown was too tame and frumpy for the wild-piped Welsh singer.
Where's Ken?: Reese Witherspoon channelled Barbie -- or Elle Woods -- in a black and white strapless Armani Prive gown at last night's Oscars. The A-lister, who loves her Southern roots, sported the biggest hair bump of the night.
Cruz-ing to Vegas: Of all last night's red dresses, Penelope Cruz's shown brightest. Literally. The Spanish actress donned a metallic gown that looked like the Mirage at midnight.
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