Let's face it: The Academy Awards wouldn't be half as much fun if the stars didn't come out wowing us in high style. Let's delve into the vault to come up with the hottest numbers at the Oscars in recent years, starting with...
Angelina Jolie, 2012
Always a head turner on the red carpet, Angelina Jolie was in a particularly feisty mood supporting her directorial debut, 'The Land of Blood and Honey,' wearing this Atelier Versace gown with a prominent slit up the right leg that she--and photographers--made the most of.
Jennifer Lawrence, 2011
'Winter's Bone' nominee Jennifer Lawrence had us seeing red in this Calvin Klein Collection dress by designer Francisco Costa.
Halle Berry, 2002
Halle Berry showed up with a winning attitude in this Elie Saab gown with embroidery in key places that still makes 'best gowns' lists like these.
Charlize Theron, 2004
At the turn of the millennium Theron ushered in the new era of red carpet glam at the Oscars wearing a plunging tangerine Vera Wang gown. A few years later, she showed up on the '04 red carpet looking like a million bucks in a glittering champagne Gucci gown that showed off her tan--she'd just returned from Brazil. A far cry from the 'Monster' role for which she won Best Actress that year.
Courtney Love, 1997
In her creative heyday, Hole singer and actress Courtney Love shocked the world with a makeover on the 1997 Oscars red carpet. This white Versace down managed to make the punk lady both edgy yet classy.
Keira Knightley, 2006
A costume drama vet, Knightley knows how to wear a dress and not let it wear her. As a nominee for 'Pride and Prejudice' in 2006, she looked incredible in an eggplant colored Vera Wang dress.
Salma Hayek, 2006
Hayek is always a red carpet knockout, but she outdid herself in this teal, asymmetrical Prada gown for the 2006 Oscars. Without any heavy jewelry, Hayek let her shape and the gown do all of the talking. Well played.
Nicole Kidman, 1997
Back in her Tom Cruise days, Nicole Kidman was coming into her own as a red carpet force. At the '97 Oscars, Kidman made a whole lot of Best Dressed lists in this tight-fitted gold-green embroidered John Galliano for Christian Dior. Unapologetically tall and sleek, Kidman stood out from the pack.
Hilary Swank, 2010
Hilary Swank makes the most of the red carpet, starting back in 2005 with that notorious backless midnight-blue Guy Laroche gown. Whether it's in a dress with a plunging back or this Armani Prive number with a plunging front AND back, Swank is never worried about pushing boundaries.
Jennifer Lopez, 2012
Jennifer Lopez never fails to challenge the beauty beat (remember that semi-nude green getup from the 2000 Grammys?). In 2012, J-Lo wore a very sheer Zuhair Murad dress that looked gorgeous -- but became a little more of a wardrobe malfunction once inside under the hot lights on the Oscar stage. Oops...but hot for sure.
Renee Zellweger, 2006
Renee Zellweger matched her sexy, sassy haircut with a shiny, hand-embroidered Carolina Herrera gown that was a fashion thumbs-up for the sometimes hit-or-miss red carpet regular.
Jada Pinkett Smith, 2006
Bright blue isn't often a red carpet choice, but sassy Jada Pinkett Smith was sleek and beautiful in this strapless Roberto Cavalli gown with a long train that gave petite Pinkett Smith her assured power walk down the carpet.
Diane Lane, 2004
Having been nominated for 'Unfaithful' the year before, Diane Lane showed up the following year like a Greek goddess wearing vintage Loris Azzaro. Almost 40 at the time, Lane made everyone look twice, especially considering the daring precision cut she wore beautifully.
Naomi Watts, 2004
Always beautiful on any red carpet, Naomi Watts glowed particularly bright and radiant in this rhinestone-encrusted Versace gown. Nominated for her performance in '21 Grams,' Watts made quite the elegant impression in this luminous selection.
Cameron Diaz, 2008
In Dior by John Galliano, Diaz pulled off one of her best looks ever, looking regal yet California sun-kissed with her barely there tan lines. (We could've done without the beach-y hair, though.)
Tina Fey, 2009
Fey's '30 Rock' character, Liz Lemon, may have lived in pajama pants and hoodies, but Fey proved she's got a face and a figure to be reckoned with in this shimmery silver-hot Zac Posen gown.
Penelope Cruz, 2010
This Donna Karan Couture gown was one of the Spanish beauty's best Oscar choices ever. Cruz wore the dress with assurance and style, which can make all the difference with a full gown.
Jessica Biel, 2011
Though still looking for her Oscar-worthy role, the fit and curvy Biel knocked 'em out at the 'Vanity Fair' party in this metallic Atelier Versace gown.
Gwyneth Paltrow, 2012
As rail-thin as a runway model (even with two kids), Gwyneth Paltrow is all about red carpet couture. This asymmetrical white gown and cape by Tom Ford was simple and elegant yet fashion-forward.
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