The 95th annual Oscars kicked off at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California last night. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel hosted the evening’s star-studded ceremony, honouring the year’s best performances on film– his third time assuming the hosting role. The night saw many firsts and historic wins, with many well-deserved A-listers taking home the golden statuette.
Actress Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian to win best actress for her role in Everything, Everywhere, All at Once. The film is now also the only one to win best picture, best director and three acting prizes in the history of Oscars. In a moment of pride for Indians, RRR’s song “Naatu Naatu” won the award for the best original song while ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ took home the Oscar for best documentary short film.
Before the ceremony, however, people look forward to Hollywood A-listers hitting the Oscars carpet in their finest evening wear. The Academy Awards are one of the most-watched red carpets in the world. This year, the creative team decided to switch things up, opting for a champagne carpet instead of the usual red. This is another first for the award show in its 95-year history.
Stars took to the (not red) carpet with some stunning looks, although arguably washed down by the choice of the carpet itself.
The desi looks that ruled the carpet
Starting with the pride of India themselves, actors Junior NTR and Ram Charan’s outfits seemed to hold a symbolic meaning. Representing his love for India, Junior NTR wore a black velvet custom-made bandh gala created by fashion designer Gaurav Gupta. The gold metallic embroidery of a tiger on his sleeve drew parallels with the national animal of the country. It was also an ode to the interval scene from RRR, as well as a nod to the moniker of The Young Tiger used for the actor.
Ram Charan, on the other hand, celebrated homegrown artisans with his custom-made Shantanu and Nikhil bandh gala that he wore at the Oscars 2023. His gender-fluid kurta took inspiration from his RRR character, Alluri Sitarama Raju. It seemed to have elements of the Indian military such as the medallion-inspired brooches and buttons embossed with the ‘Bharat’ symbol. The actor’s wife, Upasana Kamineni Konidela, accompanied him in a traditional, elegant Jayanti Reddy sustainable customised silk saree, created from recycled scraps.
Guneet Monga, the producer of The Elephant Whisperers ditched the gown for a traditional Indian look. She represented India at the Oscars in a gorgeous pink Banarasi saree and paired it up with a full-sleeved blouse. She kept it minimal and elegant with a golden neckpiece, bangles and statement earrings.
Deepika Padukone was the only Indian to be a presenter at the 2023 Oscars. She stunned the crowd in an elegant Louis Vuitton black ball gown which accentuated her figure with a flare at the end, paired with black velvet gloves and a Cartier necklace.
Malala Yousafzai made her Oscars debut in a shimmering silver Ralph Lauren gown with a ruched waist. The sequined gown featured a hood that covered her head and full-length sleeves embellished with shimmering beads. In an Instagram post, the activist shared that she wanted to “represent the message of their film and embody hope”. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate was at the ceremony as executive producer of Stranger at the Gate, which was nominated for best documentary short.
These A-listers understood the assignment
Lady Gaga made a surprise last-minute appearance on the carpet, in a fresh-off-the-runway sheer black Versace dress. The skirt dipped low below her rear end, exposing her backside with a strategically placed zipper. Lady Gaga was a nominee for Original Song for “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick and performed it at the ceremony. Her butt-exposing gown was a rather safe look for the pop singer, who is very well known for her over-the-top and sometimes controversial red-carpet fits.
Rihanna also sang at the ceremony, performing Lift Me Up from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Her Alaia outfit had leather straps and train, and more sheer mesh showing off her baby bump.
Angela Bassett did the thing in a royally purple Moschino gown, the colours very reminiscent of Queen Ramonda in Black Panther. She was nominated for best supporting actress for her role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but lost to Jamie Lee Curtis.
The menswear at the ceremony was rather underwhelming, but Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson pulled through with a shiny pale pink tuxedo jacket by Dolce & Gabbana. According to BBC, Johnson’s daughters helped him pick the dapper outfit, and they’ve clearly got some pretty good style.
Cara Delevigne reminded us she is a fashion queen, making a stunning comeback in a crimson red Elie Saab gown. The incredible one-shouldered ballgown was complete with a dramatic slit, and it had pockets! This is the supermodel’s first public appearance since she revealed in a Vogue cover story that she decided to enter rehab and get sober.
Although there were many stunning looks gracing the evening, the last-minute carpet change proved to be a nightmare for many stylists. According to Variety, the decision to change the red carpet after 62 years was made by a creative consultant, who explained that a “champagne” coloured carpet would help with “the change from daytime arrivals to an elegant evening setting”.
Host Jimmy Kimmel quipped about the sudden change in his monologue: “I think the decision to go with a champagne carpet rather than a red carpet shows how confident we are that no blood will be shed.”, a rather cheeky callback to last year’s controversy.