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The Gold Standard

Meryl Collects Her Third Oscar and Dresses to Match

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Meryl Streep   
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It seems longer than a year ago that we were watching the respectively bright and bleary-eyed duo of Anne Hathaway and James Franco gambol about the stage of the Kodak Theatre in the Oscars' bid for younger viewers. But tonight, it was a return to the Classic Coke of Academy Award emcees: Billy Crystal. Classic also reigned on the red carpet, with old Hollywood glamour—complete with curled, set hair and red lips—aplenty.

Some, like Natalie Portman in a sweetly dotted vintage Christian Dior dress circa 1954, and Emma Stone, wrapped up like a Christmas gift in red Giambattista Valli, kept it young and fresh. Whereas if you were a bit bleary-eyed yourself, you might have mistaken Penélope Cruz—in a pretty lilac cloud of strapless Armani Privé—for Sophia Loren in her fifties-era prime.

We might pine for the gleeful days of Demi Moore in bike shorts, but it's hard to find fault with the sublime simplicity of Tina Fey in a custom Carolina Herrera gown and a high bun, possibly her best look ever. Or with Octavia Spencer, who may not have prepared a speech, but surely dressed for her big Supporting Actress win and standing ovation in a silvery beaded Tadashi Shoji gown gathered gently at the bust.

If you were trying to rock the fashion crowd's world, this just might be the toughest weekend to do so, what with the whirl of Raf-Jil-Hedi-Stefano news. The major moments, however, were few. Undeniably the biggest splash came from Gwyneth Paltrow wearing an icy-white Tom Ford gown and matching cape, accessorized with little more than sleek hair and a sparkling cuff. "This was it. It was just this one," Paltrow told ABC's Louise Roe of her selection process. Definitive words for a definitive look. Neck and neck was Angelina Jolie in black velvet Atelier Versace, slit to there, with the actress seeming to be permanently posed with a leg out and an arm akimbo. (Before the night was done, that leg had its own Twitter account.) They were like the good girl/bad girl queens of the carpet. For fashion savants, there was also Michelle Williams in custom Louis Vuitton, Cameron Diaz in Gucci Premiere, and a lovely (and looser than most) pre-Raphaelite Jessica Chastain in Alexander McQueen. But while hopes were high for Rooney Mara, her dress from the recent knockout Givenchy couture collection seemed a bit deflated.

As for hopes, at least four were dashed when the unexpected Best Actress winner—Meryl Streep—was announced. She accepted with typical charm and grace, in her glittery draped Lanvin. (Curiously, the same label worn by Best Actor winner Jean Dujardin.) "I understand I'll never be up here again," Streep began. "The thing that counts the most with me is the friendships and the love and the sheer joy we have shared making movies together." Cut to the dewy eyes of Sandra Bullock and Michelle Williams. The Iron Lady proved herself an eternally golden girl.

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