What a long, strange trip it’s been. 2014 managed to pack in no less than 4,000 award shows in its 365 days, and while that’s a boldface lie, it still feels right, doesn’t it?
So to make the 2014 award show season seem less daunting, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best red carpet looks so you can remember what matters most: who knows how to throw an outfit together. (Hot on the heels of the Golden Globe nominations, no less.)
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1. Lupita Nyong’o, Oscars
Lupita Nyong’o is better than us, and if her turn in "12 Years a Slave" doesn’t prove it (although for the record, it does), her award show circuit wear really drove the point home. Enter: the Oscars, in which the winner donned a powder blue Prada gown that both Nyong’o and her stylist worked with the designer to create. The colour wasn’t an accident, either: via Twitter, the actress shared that it represented her “family heritage” because it reminded her of Nairobi. What’s even better is that #NairobiBlue began trending on Twitter shortly after.
2. Emma Watson, Golden Globes
Emma Watson is 100% aware of how to dress all the time, and her backless dress and pants number she showed off at the Golden Globes is proof. What’s best is that the look was a total surprise: from the front, the red, short-sleeved Prada gown looked simple enough -- only to reveal she was done with your traditional red carpet rules and wearing slacks and purple suede heels. Meanwhile, the rest of us watched the show in our sweatpants.
3. Rihanna, CFDAs
We could pretend we don’t and didn’t care about Rihanna’s totally sheer, crystal-adorned Adam Selman fishnet dress (and hat and feathered boa and gloves), or we could all be honest with ourselves and everybody we love and say that risks like this on the red carpet can’t happen enough. Bow down, everyone.
4. Beyonce, Grammys
And speaking of “bow down” (segway!), Beyonce ruled the Grammys thanks to her first live performance of “Drunk in Love” and her white Michael Costello gown she wore on the red carpet. In the words of her stylist, Ty Hunter: “Sometimes you just know something is going to hit hard.” Dude couldn’t be more correct.
5. Jennifer Lawrence, SAG Awards
Despite JLaw’s insecurity about her armpit vaginas (as if, girl), the "Mockingjay" star’s shimmery strapless Dior gown brought the house down at this year’s SAG Awards. And why wouldn’t it? Having been the poster child for the fashion house since 2013, it was great to see how she interpreted the brand’s gowns during the 2014 award show season. What 2015 will bring remains to be seen (but we can probably assume that it’ll be good).
6. Angelina Jolie, BAFTAs
Angelina is over your red carpet convention, and we are all better for it. The actress supported husband Brad Pitt and the rest of the "12 Years a Slave" crew in a Saint Laurent suit and tie (with Tiffany jewels), and gave us a much-needed reprieve from the floor-length gown brigade. Never let anybody ask, “Don’t you hate pants?!” again.
7. Nicki Minaj, MTV VMAs
Appropriately enough, Ms. Minaj’s VMA red carpet choice went hand-in-hand with her “Anaconda” vibe (and performance of it later in the broadcast). The Saint Laurent snakeskin mini-dress was eye-catching but relatively simple, proving the rapper can slay style-wise whether wearing high tops, gold chains, or a minimalist red carpet number. Not that any of us were surprised.
8. Anna Faris, People’s Choice Awards
We will sing the praises of pants on the red carpet until we are dragged away from our computers screaming, so let us all have a moment of (revered) silence for Anna Faris’ Naeem Khan pants and top at the People’s Choice Awards back in January. The look is sheer, shimmery, short-sleeved, and also completes the rule of three we have going on in terms of non-dresses -- and most importantly, it’s not boring.
9. Michelle Dockery, Emmys
Also not boring? Michelle Dockery’s multi-toned Rosie Assoulin gown that breathed a little summer into the hot and humid red carpet atmosphere. (Remember when the Emmys were in August this year? And more importantly, how weird that was?) The "Downton Abbey" star followed the 2014 trend and rocked a cut-out panel in the front, and as we mentioned before, made it a far cry from her dramatic Prada gown in 2013. Dockery brings it, people -- though for some reason, she’s religiously overlooked.
10. Kerry Washington, SAG Awards
Would it be a best-of red carpet round-up without the appearance of Kerry Washington a.k.a. Olivia Pope, our problem-fixer-meets-lord and saviour? (No.) Here’s what the "Scandal" star had to say about playing it safe and/or subtle: no thank you. Or, at least that’s what we can take from her custom Prada crop top and skirt that showed off her (then) growing baby bump. She’s a national treasure, and don’t any of you forget it.