When Halle Berry won an OScar in 2002 for her role in Monster's Ball she seemed intent on showing off her acting chops... and killer bod. This sheer Eli Saab gown topped every best dressed list and nothing quite as sexy or stunning has graced the carpet since.
One year after she took home Oscar gold, Sandra Bullock returned to Hollywood (sans Jessie James, duh) in this red Vera Wang number. 2011 saw plenty of red dresses on the carpet, but no one outdid Bullock in this bustier-type evening gown.
Mila Kunis was snubbed by the academy in 2011 when they failed to recognize her performance in Black Swan. One thing about Mila everyone did recognize? Her lilac Eli Saab couture gown. Ladylike with lace, yet sexy with sheer panels, it was Mila's year to shine with or without a trophy.
The year was 2005, and everyone was waiting for Hilary Swank to hit the red carpet surrounded by buzz that she was about to become a two-time Oscar winner. But when the buff actress finally arrived it was her backless Guy Laroche dress, not a golden statue, that caught the crowd's attention.
The Academy Awards red carpet might as well be an Elie Saab runway, because that's how many actresses wear the Lebanese couture. The designer's finest work of 2010 was donned by Rachel McAdams who seemed to float down the walkway in this strapless watercolor gown.
Two years before she would host the big show in a slew of glimmering gowns (at least something shinned on that stage... sorry girl) Anne Hathaway wore this glistening Giorgio Armani Prive dress. As if the bejeweled neckline and slimming lines weren't enough, light reflects so perfectly off of this gown that it almost looks like she's wearing glass.
Charlize Theron earned an Oscar for her performance as an overweight, mangled serial killer in 2004, and in this dazzling Gucci number she reminded us all of her incredible transformation. The tan was a little orange, but her 20's finger wave and understated accessories were so perfect that we think her stylist deserves an honorary award.
Cate Blanchett's 2011 Givenchy Couture gown was on both best and worst dressed lists, but for fans of high-end French fashion everywhere this was a triumph. Her short blonde hair and minimal makeup don't distract from a dress that can easily be deemed a work of art.
In 2006, all most people knew about Michelle Williams was that she had been on Dawson's Creek and was now dating Heath Ledger. By the time she had finished walking the red carpet, her image in this electric Vera Wang gown was on every fashion blog and about to hit international magazine covers. Within a year she was appearing in Hollywood blockbusters, and in 2011 and 2012 earned her own Oscar nominations. Who says a dress can't make a career?
Sarah Jessica Parker does her Sex And The City fans proud, always bringing the heat on the red carpet. In 2009, the actress donned Dior Haute Couture and left critics wondering how someone so tiny can have such big... hair.
Keira Knightley came on the scene as a boyish, awkward teenager, but in 2006 she had Hollywood heavyweights doing double-takes in this eggplant Vera Wang dress. In the years to follow, Knightley would lose an incredible amount of weight and garner criticism for her meager frame, which she dressed in barely-there, scanty fashions. But here at the Academy Awards she looked sleek and stunning.
A country girl at heart, Miley Cyrus stunned critics when she traded in her torn jean shorts for a scalloped Zuhair Murhad gown in 2009. That's mom Trish in the background looking just as mesmerized as the rest of us.
Renee Zellweger and Carolina Herrera have the kind of red carpet relationship that only the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Givenchy have known before them. When Renee took home an award in 2004, Herrera was there to outfit her in a crisp, white gown complete with stunning bow accoutrement.
We're used to seeing St. Angie in monochromatic black and white on the red carpet, but back in 2004, when the actress was hardly a tabloid regular, this Marc Bouwer ensemble was highly unexpected. To see Hollywood's resident bad girl dressed as a Grecian goddess was an eye-catcher.
Emerald green does wonders for red hair, and Amy Adams' 2008 Oscar appearance is iron-clad proof. Her Proenza Schouler mermaid gown gave her complexion a milky perfection, and Adams' locks have never looked more vibrant.
The Oscars' red carpet is nothing if not a stage for Tinsel Town's resident stunt queens. Jennifer Lopez looked amazing in this 2001 Chanel Haute Couture gown, but the ensemble is remembered for something other than it's fine craftsmanship. After a few cameras flashed, it was obvious that Jenny left her bra back on the block.
We're sure that if 2006's best actor nominees could have taken a golden Jessica Alba home instead of Oscar, they would have. The actress looked better than the table of trophies in this glowing Versace gown.
In yet another example of a dress giving rise to a star, Nicole Kidman was better known as Mrs. Tom Cruise back in 1997. But when the future Oscar winner stepped out in this risky Dior gown (one of the first from John Galliano) people were asking, "Jerry Maguire, who?"