The year's biggest night for red carpet glamour included something for everybody in bold color and soft shades, frothy wonders and sleek, body hugging looks. And there was, of course, plenty of sparkle.
"I was really taken by the super fitted dresses, the very long and lean silhouettes," said Eric Wilson, the fashion news director for InStyle.
"The whole idea of the ball gown seems to have gone away with very few exceptions this year. We're seeing so many sleek and slim dresses," he said.
Among them was Charlize Theron. She wowed in a red hot Dior Haute Couture in crimson silk crepe. It was ultra-low cut with a train and plunged in the back as well. She showed off a long jeweled necklace and joined the party Sunday night in the tight hair club, hers with a deep side part. In all, she wore $3.7 million worth of Harry Winston diamonds.
"She was statuesque and thoroughly elegant," said Avril Graham, the executive fashion and beauty editor for Harper's Bazaar. "She's a designer's dream muse."
Later, as the attention moved from red carpet stunners to little gold statues, presenter Tina Fey classed up the stage in a deep purple custom silk Atelier Versace with pleating detail, her hair also tight and high. She, like so many others, kept jewelry to a minimum with a short sapphire necklace from Bulgari that went nicely with the dress.
"That dress fits her like it was shrink wrapped right on her," Wilson said. "I loved how she matched the necklace."
But it was the whimsy of Cate Blanchett that truly caught his eye and quickly topped best-dressed lists. It was seafoam, from Armani Prive, and it included pops of silver in a large floral applique from the shoulders to her train.
"It was my favorite of the night," Wilson said. "There was so much individuality to the look. It looked like a crystal or ice sculpture. It was just so clean and cool looking."
Graham also loved Blanchett's pastel look. "It was really wonderful," she said.
The biggest surprise for Graham was fashion "it" girl Alicia Vikander, who won best supporting actress for "The Danish Girl." While some were not impressed with her bubble hem and pale yellow princess custom Louis Vuitton, comparing her to Belle of "Beauty and the Beast," others were on board. She wore her hair down her back but pulled it up in the front to add to the look.
"I loved it. It gave a girlish feel to the evening," Graham said. "Her low-key hairstyle accentuated the sweetness of her look. I think she took the most risks in terms of silhouette. Her look was the most surprising of all because of its silhouette and its unique point of view."
Margot Robbie stunned in a "va-voom" gold gown with a snakeskin design from Diane Von Furstenberg, Graham said.
"It's the fact that she's got that very natural, Aussie beauty. The natural hair and makeup was a perfect foil," she said.
Wilson said Robbie might have gone a bit too Las Vegas over more appropriate Los Angeles.
"It was very flashy. It didn't really feel like an Oscars dress," he said. "It felts like a fun disco dress. It didn't read well on television."
Robbie was shiny, to be sure. Another really shiny moment — and really patriotic one — was Saoirse Ronan, the Irish actress who chose sparkly, liquid emerald from Calvin Klein. The gown hugged her body just right, her drop Chopard earrings mismatched — one in white pearls and the other emeralds. The back was barely there but intriguing with its ultra-low cut and a low horizontal strap.
"The jewel tone green was a big story on the catwalks that we've just seen," Graham said. "She said hers was a nod to her Irish heritage. It was lovely. It's a tremendously telegenic color."
Graham also lauded another of the recent "it" carpet girls, Brie Larson in a belted blue Gucci that was ruffled at the skirt and radiated in a three-dimensional way at the chest, as if a TV watcher might want to get up and adjust the focus.
Regardless, Graham called it "ruffles and sweetness."
While color ranged from the deep purples, greens and a dark black that told a Bette Davis story on Whoopi Goldberg, Wilson said the softer hues might reflect a "kind of easy, calming moment at a time of stress and conflict in the world."
He added: "It feels like fashion is moving in that gentler direction right now with less harsh colors, less neon, less aggressive color."
Graham called it a safe carpet that had a little something for everybody.
"It gave us the flavor of lots of different elements in beauty and style," she said, "from knockout glamour and sequins and body conscious looks to romantic ruffles and pastels."