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The Five Best-Dressed Actresses at the 2013 Oscars!

I debated whether or not to watch the Academy Awards this year since, for the most part, I wasn’t enthused about the majority of the films released in 2012 (with Argo and Zero Dark Thirty being the two notable exceptions). And, since both films had been snubbed in quite a few categories (neither Ben Affleck nor Kathryn Bigelow were included in the Best Director category and Affleck himself didn’t receive a Best Actor nod), I wondered whether these smart, thought-provoking films would deserve the accolades it so merited. Fortunately, Argo did snatch top honors at this year’s Oscars, beating out the over-hyped, Spielberg-helmed Lincoln (which, quite frankly, was a dull piece of revisionist history). Zero Dark Thirty wasn’t quite as fortunate, likely due to the unmerited controversy surrounding the film, and Jessica Chastain was essentially robbed of her Best Actress statue, which was instead given to neophyte Jennifer Lawrence. If it hadn’t been for Argo‘s final victory, I would’ve been furious that I devoted so many hours to watching the Oscars when I could’ve been reading a book or catching up on some of my favorite cerebral shows.

An abundance of musical-inspired numbers — including a headache-inducing medley incorporating vocals from Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Jennifer Lawrence (doing a Dreamgirls number, of all things!), and Catherine Zeta-Jones — and a number of distasteful jokes from the evening’s host had me clutching the remote in case I needed an emergency channel change.

 And, sadly, the red carpet fashions were equally lackluster. Typically, I have a difficult time narrowing my favorite looks to a group of five but, this year, it was hard to find five worthy of such praise. So, after much debate, I picked the following five leading ladies as the red carpet stars of the evening, with Naomi Watts placing leaps and bounds above the rest of the pack. Here are all of the chosen looks:

NAOMI WATTS

Australian actress Naomi Watts donned an Armani Privé gown that made my jaw drop from the first moment I laid eyes on it. Not only did the shimmering number fit her perfectly, as if she had been sewn into the garment, but it featured an innovative neckline, with one side including a small cap sleeve and the other featuring a swooping, apostrophe-shaped cut extending from the shoulder to the center of the bustline, so that the other side of the dress remained open, accentuating the bustier construction of the bodice.

HALLE BERRY

Though she always looks stunning, I was hoping Halle Berry would stray from the style of dress she favored for so many years: one with sheer mesh panels featuring embroidery in all the right details (as with the many Elie Saab numbers she’s worn ove the years). And the former Bond Girl did not disappoint in an Art Deco-flavored Versace gown featuring strong shoulders, a plunging neckline, long sleeves in a sheer black fabric adorned with vertical stripes in gold sequins, and a column skirt with sequined metallic stripes that moved from silver to gold as one’s gaze traveled down to the floor. To accentuate Halle’s curves, meanwhile, the gown featured swooping, semi-circular lines along the hip area, their curved shapes facing outward, thereby creating a slimming optical illusion.

JESSICA CHASTAIN

Best Actress nominee Jessica Chastain looked like a cross between Jessica Rabbit and Veronica Lake in her flesh-toned, strapless, custom Armani Prive gown, which featured shimmering gold-toned beads arranged in diagonal lines, with different sections of the dress featuring lines facing in different directions, thereby creating a subtle geometric effect that was at once modern and chic. Her red mane parted to the side and curled into big swooping waves, her pout painted a matte red, her earlobes adorned with diamond Harry Winston earrings, and her feet in sky-high Christian Louboutin heels, Chastain epitomized old Hollywood glamour.

CHARLIZE THERON

Though her short pixie cut was the talk of the evening, Charlize Theron dazzled in a white Dior gown featuring a strapless bodice with a V-shaped cut-out along the center, a simple peplum accent along the waist (without any excess ruffles), and a floor-length skirt with a slight train. Though the dress was oddly reminiscent of the Chanel number Anne Hathaway wore to the 2013 Golden Globes, it was still among the best looks of the evening. Sure, it wasn’t the most original gown of the evening, but it was still stunning.

AMANDA SEYFRIED

Though she’s had more than her fair share of red carpet snafus in the past, Les Miserables actress Amanda Seyfried got it right Sunday evening when she strolled along the red carpet wearing a custom Alexander McQueen gown with a banded collar, a teardrop-shaped cut-out along the center of the bodice, and pronounced cuts along the shoulder area to accentuate her strong arms and gorgeous collarbones. The lilac-colored dress featured all-over baroque-inspired embroidery, with white leaf motifs adorned with golden beads for a dose of shimmer. A slightly ruffled hemline, meanwhile, added just the right amount of princess-worthy charm.

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