By Hindustan Times
Tinseltown's A-list stars on Sunday offered up a healthy serving of old-school Hollywood glamour on the Oscars red carpet, with strapless gowns and pale colors most definitely in vogue.
Best actress nominee Jessica Chastain, a frontrunner for Oscars gold for her role as a CIA agent tracking Osama bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty, sparkled in a strapless beaded flesh-colored Armani gown, her red tresses flowing.
"It's a 'Happy birthday, Mr President' kind of dress," Chastain said, referring to a classic Marilyn Monroe fashion moment. "It's an honor to wear a dress that evokes old Hollywood."
But she told CNN her chances to win were slim: "I just don't think it's my year... I don't think I'm going to win."
Chastain's main rival, "Silver Linings Playbook" star Jennifer Lawrence, strutted her stuff in a strapless cream Dior gown with a full puffy skirt.
"This was such a passion project for all of us," she told E! television on the red carpet, referring to the romantic comedy with an edge that earned a total of eight nominations, including one for best picture.
Anne Hathaway, the frontrunner for the best supporting actress Oscar for her searing performance as dying prostitute Fantine in "Les Miserables," said she had decided at the last moment on a simple pale pink Prada column gown.
"I didn't know what I was wearing until about three hours ago," she said.
Nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis, the youngest ever best actress nominee, for Beasts of the Southern Wild, wore a bejeweled navy blue Armani dress -- accessorized with an age-appropriate fluffy puppy purse.
"It has been crazy!" Wallis said of all the attention given to her breakout performance, adding that her fellow nominees were "more sophisticated."
Amy Adams, a best supporting actress nominee for her performance in The Master, was on trend in a strapless pearly gray Oscar de la Renta princess gown with soft layers of tulle floating to the ground.
Les Miserables star Amanda Seyfried opted for a pale purple halter neck Alexander McQueen with a sexy keyhole neckline and upswept hair, while Oscar winner Charlize Theron exuded sex appeal in a strapless white Dior ensemble.
Reese Witherspoon got the strapless memo, but changed up the color palette in a cobalt blue and black Louis Vuitton, and glammed it up with some old-school sculpted Veronica Lake curls.
Witherspoon, a best actress Oscar winner in 2006 for her role in Walk the Line, was not alone in choosing navy. Fellow Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson donned a shimmering dark blue Roberto Cavalli dress.
OscarsBest supporting actress nominee Helen Hunt bucked the trend for haute couture and wore a strapless navy blue gown from Swedish retail chain H&M -- and an enormous diamond necklace.
And some of the stars went for bold statements.
Hunt's rival and two-time Oscar winner Sally Field, who starred opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, wore a signature Valentino red dress with sheer long sleeves and a train.
"Just to be part of this movie is award enough to me... I think this movie is a masterpiece and I think it will stand the test of time," she told CNN.
And she definitely won the award for best accessory of the night -- she arrived with "Lincoln" co-star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays her son in the film, on her arm.
Catherine Zeta-Jones wore a glittering gold Zuhair Murad dress, while best actress nominee Naomi Watts sparkled in a silver Armani number with an asymmetrical neckline.
A nervous Jennifer Garner -- whose husband Ben Affleck is vying for the top prize for his Iran hostage drama "Argo" -- wore a strapless magenta Gucci gown with ruffles down the back. "I'm really excited for him," she said.
Hollywood's A-list men were mainly in basic black on Sunday. "Django Unchained" star Jamie Foxx glammed it up with a gray Calvin Klein tuxedo, black shirt and sparkling black bow tie.
For fashion and jewelry designers, having an A-list star show up on the Oscars red carpet in one of their creations is worth more than any print advertising -- thanks to the global coverage of Tinseltown's biggest night.
Last year, Angelina Jolie's leg-popping appearance in a strapless black velvet Versace gown with a thigh-high slit went viral -- and gave the Italian fashion house unbeatable media exposure.