Oscars 2012: The Must-See Beauty Looks

Who had the best hair and makeup on this red carpet?
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Michelle Villett
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Who had the best hair and makeup on this red carpet?
Oscars-2012-Jessica-Chastain

Maybe it was Billy Crystal. Maybe it was the Cirque de Soleil interlude. Or maybe it just that I settled in to watch the Oscars straight after OD'ing on cupcakes at a four-year-old's birthday party. Whatever it was, last night made me verrry, verrry sleepy. Seriously, it's a problem when the main show highlights are J.Lo's nip-slip (follow on Twitter: @JLosNipple) and Angelina's leg (@AngiesRightLeg).

Thankfully, there was plenty of exciting beauty action on the pre-game red carpet, so I didn't feel guilty bailing on the dullsville show itself. (Okay, there was fashion action too, but I don't pretend to know anything about that... so remember that I'm only talking about hair and makeup here!)

So let me tell you what I thought, and you can tell me what YOU thought, and together we'll judge everyone. Whee!

First up, the looks I loved...

Rose Byrne

Oscars-2012-Rose-Byrne

This hair on Rose is so chic it hurts. Did I mention I met with the man behind it—the great Harry Josh—only a few weeks ago? More on that later, but for now just know that he does colour for pretty much everyone who's anyone. I mean, just LOOK at this brown. The style is fab also (he does that too)... at first I wasn't sure about the side part, but now it's grown on me. The makeup is by NARS. Only complaint? Girl needs some Visine.

Rooney Mara

Oscars-2012-Rooney-Mara

The skin! The bangs! The brows! The lips! There is so much I love about this, even though I would never in a million years be able to (or even want to) pull it off myself. Yes, it's "cold," even intimidating, but it's refreshing to see something like this alongside the Stacy Keiblers and J.Los, no? Rooney looks like a porcelain doll.

Kate Mara

Oscars-2012-Kate-Mara

And here's Rooney's sis. I'm obsessed with both her hair colour (eeks! Should I go darker?) and hair accessories. (And also her dress—definitely the one I'd wear if I had to pick.) The super-undone chignon is also my kind of updo. Can we even call it an updo when it's half cascading down to her shoulder?

Ellie Kemper

Oscars-2012-Ellie-Kemper

Are you noticing beaucoup de bangs? That was definitely a theme last night, and save for that single strand of grey at the top (!), Ellie's were my number one fave. Although again, I would never cut my hair like this. I think they'd be a nightmare for real life, but somehow, with the rest of her hair pulled back, a dress in a similar colour, and with these earrings, it all works magnificently.

Jessica Chastain

Oscars-2012-Jessica-Chastain

Jessica looked so romantic with this hairstyle (and dress). I have to say, peeps on Twitter last night (tweeps?) were divided on her look, but as a longtime half-up/half-down wearer, I have to endorse this. I like that the makeup is extremely subtle as well, save for the tiny flick of black liner.

Also pretty great...

Jennifer Lopez

Oscars-2012-Jennifer-Lopez

Say what you will about what was going on from the neck down (i.e. ghetto-fabulous dress and, um, nipple), but J.Lo's hair and makeup were fantastic. Few people can pull off the hair donut like she does, you see? Tight, scraped-back locks are very unforgiving. I might have liked slightly softer contouring on the eyelids, but I'll overlook that. I'm too distracted by her great brows and glowy skin anyway.

Cameron Diaz

Oscars-2012-Cameron-Diaz

I swear that chopping off her hair and going blonder has shaved at least five years off Cameron's age. I like this 'do—yes, it's casual, but she's such a sporty girl that it suits. (Did you see her pipes when she was presenting? Wowza.) Her skin looks pretty good here too.

Octavia Spencer

Oscars-2012-Octavia-Spencer

Another star who can really pull off the high ballerina bun. Also? Whoever is styling Octavia really knows what they're doing. Not only was her dress supremely figure-flattering, but the eye makeup focused on the outer edges helps elongate her face. Do you see?

Anna Faris

Oscars-2012-Anna-Faris

I don't want to say I told you so, but I did call it on this bobbed hair trend. Anna's is another example, and I think it looks great on her. Maybe not with this dress though...

Kristen Wiig

Oscars-2012-Kristen-Wiig

Okay, not the best expression on Kristen here, but we still love her, right? And I have to praise her hair—the colour and the undone style are both great on her. I like a little informality at the Oscars sometimes. I'm still undecided about whether I can live with that brown eyeshadow, however...

Shailene Woodley

Oscars-2012-Shailene-Woodley

Shailene gets a pass, because there is nothing to love nor to hate about this hair and makeup. It's just... there.

Busy Philipps

Oscars-2012-Busy-Philipps

I'm kind of fascinated by Busy's highlights. (I feel like I had a Barbie with hair like that—alternating strands of gold and platinum.) Anyway, another popular hairstyle last night was the sideswept 'do, which on Busy helped to show off this enormous earring. I have to say that I like this on her a lot more than when she wears her hair up. The lip gloss is also a nice shade.

Stacy Keibler

Oscars-2012-Stacy-Keibler

Did you catch the part last night where Guiliana actually called Stacy a "trophy girlfriend?" Since her dress was all shiny and gold and trophy-like... I guess. Yikes! Guilana, you're not supposed to say that OUT LOUD. She did look great last night, though. Slight Eagle situation, but really pretty hair and glowy makeup.

Tina Fey

Oscars-2012-Tina-Fey

Tina looks pretty here, don't you think? I like her hair, I like her skin, I like the lip gloss... the only thing I'm questioning is why she needed the fake lashes.

Now don't get me wrong, these ladies looked amaze, but...

Angelina Jolie

Oscars-2012-Angelina-Jolie

Needs to eat a sandwich. Seriously, aside from the weird leg presenting thing, the first thing I did was gasp at her arms when the camera panned in. She is, like, scary skinny. Which makes it hard for me to focus on the hair and makeup. I did love both, though. Stupidly beautiful lips and smile... and is it just me or did she go more red with her hair?

Gwyneth Paltrow

Oscars-2012-Gwyneth-Paltrow

So angular, non? I'm probably nit-picking on Goopy, but I just found this severe-looking ponytail less than flattering with her features... even though it was probably the only thing that suited that dress and that cape. (No, I wasn't really a fan of the cape.) However, the makeup is very pretty, and it's NARS.

Berenice Bejo

Oscars-Berenice-Bejo

So this might just be the worst hairstyle of the night. Which makes me sad, because Berenice is an extremely pretty lady, and the hairstyle itself (all braidy and stuff) is also pretty. The two just don't go together, unfortch. Berenice needs something softer, looser, with more bang.

I'm officially over it...

Michelle Williams

Oscars-2012-Michelle-Williams

Nathalie Atkinson tweeted last night: "Anyone else fed up with Michelle Williams' pixie fragility thing yet?" To which I immediately responded: "OMG YES." I don't know why, but suddenly I'm weary of her whole schtick. Beauty-wise, I really, really wish she'd kept the darker, more flattering strawberry blonde colour. Remember it from the Critics' Choice Awards? SO much better than the platinum. Although I do like the punchy lips.

And now for the celebs who left me distinctly underwhelmed...

Emma Stone

Oscars-2012-Emma-Stone

Shocking I know! But there was just So.Much.Red. The dress, the hair, the earrings... and then even the lips and the eyeshadow were in similar (pink) tones. Did she really need the pink eyeshadow? I love you Revlon, but I don't think so. Me, I blame the dress. I think it was the wrong choice—too similar to Nicole Kidman's in '07, and not many people besides Nicole can pull off a high neckline. It all went downhill from there.

Milla Jovovich

Oscars-2012-Milla-Jovovich

I thought Milla looked incredible on the red carpet, but then I saw the up-close pics, and I changed my mind. Can you say too much blush? (And you know it's a problem if even a blush-whore like me finds it extreme, yes?) That said, I am fascinated by the velvety texture of her lipstick. Gorge!

Natalie Portman

Oscars-2012-Natalie-Portman

You know, I've complained about Natalie being boring on the red carpet as of late—specifically when it comes to her go-to updo. So I was all ready to praise her for wearing her hair down for once... until I realized that I don't actually like it. Something is really bothering me about those stiff-looking, swoopy bangs.

Viola Davis

Oscars-2012-Viola-Davis

Okay, I love Viola's eye makeup. Like, serious love. And I love that she went au naturel, sans weave. I just don't know what's going on with her hair colour. I don't think this red-brown is very flattering because it's so close to her skin tone, so I can't help but wish she would have gone natural on that front as well.

Penelope Cruz

Oscars-2012-Penelope-Cruz

So Penelope is gorgeous no matter what, and it's sickening. But she sorta killed her pretty with this hairdo last night. Is it just me or is it a little old lady-ish? I get that she's trying to do the Old Hollywood thing, but you know what? I'm starting to be over that too.

Please make it stop.

Sandra Bullock

Oscars-2012-Sandra-Bullock

There really are no words for how Sandra's apparently been tinkering with her face. (It can't just be the ponytail, right, that's making her look all weird and stretched?) Oh, Sandra... what have you done?

Tell me:

What did YOU think of the Oscars last night?
Which celeb(s) had the best hair? makeup? dresses?
Who would you put on your "worst" list?