Oscars 2014: The Must-See Beauty Looks

All the hot-off-the-red-carpet celebrity close-ups from the 2014 Academy Awards.
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Michelle Villett
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All the hot-off-the-red-carpet celebrity close-ups from the 2014 Academy Awards.

I know that headline makes it sound like the Academy Awards are already done and dusted, but in an effort to do things a little differently this year, they're actually taking place as we speak (er, as I write). Oh yes—these little red carpet rundowns have become so popular over the years that I've decided to weigh in on the beauty looks AS THEY HAPPEN. So like live-blogging... in the beauty sense.

I'm adding pics in the order I get 'em (not necessarily in order of best to worst, hehe). Keep checking back through the night and again tomorrow for updates!

Maria Menounos

Maria Menounos, Academy Awards 2014

Maria's red carpet beauty history features more misses than hits, but here (where it matters the most), I think she finally hit a home run. Well, almost. Her hair colour is perfect; no visible roots and it's been braided into a loose, low chignon with fantastic texture. REALLY fantastic. I love this updo. Unfortunately not crazy about the thick nude gloss and obvious bottom lip liner (her makeup was way more fresh here). But if you zoom out and take in the look as a whole, it's a pretty big improvement.

Giuliana Rancic

Giuliana Rancic, Academy Awards 2014

Speaking of improvements, I think Giuliana deserves some kudos for her new, sleek hairdo. (Seriously, remember when I had to stage an intervention over those droopy Ombré curls?) This brunette colour in a tight low bun with a deep side part is SO much more chic. Sadly, I don't think these TV girls can give up their faux tans (that goes for Maria also), and we have the same problem again with the goopy nude lip gloss. Did I tell you I met Giuliana last year? Apparently she does her own makeup. It looked great when I interviewed her, but here I can't abide by all that hard black in the waterlines, the heavy false lashes and the sloppy shadow application. She could've achieved a more flattering frame for her eyes by darkening her brows instead of so much eye makeup. Or does she not have many actual brow hairs? Maybe that's the underlying reason for what's going on here.

Louise Roe

Louise Roe, Academy Awards 2014

Louise is a stylist, so she gets it. These gold dangly earrings make the entire look; it's a very Bohemian, early Sienna Miller vibe. I feel like the low-slung side-pony doesn't get enough play as a red carpet option, so it's great to see it here, dressed up with soft waves and texture. Love the hint of bronzey sparkle under Louise's eyes, and the peachy cheeks and lips. But here we are three for three so far in terms of visible lip liner. Do these celebs not realize the invisible kind exists?

Ireland Baldwin

Ireland Baldwin, Academy Awards 2014

Ireland Baldwin is a beautiful girl (she is a fashion model after all), but when I look at her, all I see is Alec Baldwin. (Her dad; mom is Kim Basinger.) Not her fault, I know. She did a surprisingly good job of hair and makeup for a red carpet newbie, showing a light hand compared to most who overdo it. I love her soft, matte peach lipstick and the contrast of the platinum hair with the dark brows. (Really into that lately. I blame Suki Waterhouse.) Really appreciate that Ireland didn't go heavy on the eye makeup—she doesn't need it.

Tara Lipinski

Tara Lipinski, Academy Awards 2014

As I've been mentioning lately, I'm a huge fan right now of side-swept hair with that swoopy volume on the one side of the part. As Tara has here—except I'm not super into her look for some reason. I think it's because the hair near the part looks too heavy with product, and then it's a mismatch with the waves, which are dry and lack control. (I cropped the bottom out, but I also think her hair is too long for this style.) Makeup is fine except I feel like the (false?) eyelashes are so spindly next to the hard black liquid liner. She does have beautiful skin, though.

Viola Davis

Viola Davis, Academy Awards 2014

Wow, Viola looks so different compared to the last time we saw her. Much more polished and I think younger- and more styling-looking with these fantastic retro finger waves. Her makeup is also perfect for her: luminous skin, sculpted eyes with a highlight at the inner corners and a clear gloss on the lips. Very well done.

Cristin Milioti

Cristin Milioti, Academy Awards 2014

Had to look up who this is; Cristin is on How I Met Your Mother for anyone else who didn't know. Gotta say, total respect to anyone in Hollywood who doesn't have Chiclet teeth. And the fact that she's rocking a dark Gothic lip to boot? I'd like to have some of that confidence, please. The lip pairs well with the silvery lids and both accentuates her beautiful pale skin. Not loving the hair—would've looked better with the bangs away from the face—and I'm missing some drama on the earlobes.

UPDATE: I asked her makeup artist, Georgie Eisdell, what Cristin was wearing on her lips and eyes, and it's Tom Ford Lip Color in Black Orchid (or try Revlon's Black Cherry) and Chanel Stylo Eyeshadow in Moon River (the amazing cream-in-a-stick format I raved about in my best of 2013 list).

Kristen Bell

Kristen Bell, Academy Awards 2014

Last time I checked, Kristen Bell was a 33-year-old woman, wife and new mom. While it's great she can pull off a style that would work well on any 16-year-old girl at a high school prom, I am perplexed at why she'd want to. This is so... prissy. I have borderline hatred for this centre-parted bouffant hairstyle; paired with the necklace and earrings I don't think I can even handle it. She does have a very pretty face, though, and was wise to not overdo it on the makeup. So at least we have that.

Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde, Academy Awards 2014

Obviously my early favourite of the looks we've seen so far... by a long shot! Olivia's Oscars look, by her makeup artist Melanie Inglessis, was all about the artful cat eye. God, was she made to wear this kind of eye makeup or what? It just accentuates her already feline-looking eye shape. As always with Melanie's makeup on Olivia, it looks effortlessly on-trend but not high-fashion. There are some flirty false lashes, which were so well done that I have to love them—they give a little flick to the outer corners without being too heavy. The matte, pale pink lip is the perfect retro match, but the look is kept in 2014 with fresh skin and soft waves escaping from her updo. I honestly don't think any celeb has inspired me more in the last year than Olivia. You?

UPDATE: The key prodz have come in, and as I suspected, Olivia's wearing the new Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm—in the shade Complex. Melanie mixed it with Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Pink Cognito to get the perfect "'60s French look." On her eyes, it's Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner in Black with Revlon ColorStay Liquid Liner in Blackest Black.

Amy Adams

Amy Adams, Academy Awards 2014

I appreciate that Amy keeps switching things up, even though in my heart I feel she looks best in retro-inspired styles with softer hair and redder lips. (Like at the BAFTAs.) But this is still good; a better beauty game than most. I don't quite know how to describe the updo, with the sides tight to the head and then the top part sectioned off, with some bend and lift. (UPDATE: Hairstylist Renato Campora calls it a classic French twist. Alrighty then.) Makeup is very tone-on-tone to the earrings and hair, but not quite as bronzed as at the Golden Globes. I kind of want to pat on some moisturizer.

UPDATE: Amy is wearing two lip colours: Laura Mercier Rouge Nouveau Weightless Lip Colour in Cozy (crème rosy red) topped with Tom Ford Beauty Ultra Shine Lip Gloss in Rose Crush (nudey gloss).

Olga Kurylenko

Olga Kurylenko, Academy Awards 2014

Olga is super-pretty here—it may be my favourite Olga look ever. Does anyone else get an almost '80s-ish vibe here? I think it's the earrings, which are the focal point of the whole look. I like that she scraped her hair back and up, off her face, showing some pretty cute baby hairs around the forehead. Her skin is velvety and flawless, and she just needed some soft liner to rim the eyes, and a satin lipstick that picks up on the colour of her dress. Really good.

Naomi Watts

Naomi Watts, Academy Awards 2014

See? Again we have that voluminous swoopy thing at the front of her hair. (What IS that called? I mention it so much, it needs to have a name.) I think it gives Naomi's fine, straight hair some interest. I would say that it's a bit casual, but trust me, when you have this hair type, there's not a whole lot you can do. With the straight lines of her dress, there's a nice simplicity about this. She also has the kind of face that can't handle a lot of makeup, so the soft red lip is just enough. However, I do wish she'd Whitestrip her teeth.

UPDATE: Naomi is wearing Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk Lip Pencil in #7 with Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy Lipstick in #502 Scarlatto.

Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong'o, Academy Awards 2014

No idea what peeps are saying on Twitter about this, but personally I'm a bit in shock. Lupita was truly the It Girl of awards season—look after look, she was all sleek, fashion-forward perfection—and then she blew it on this headband and frou-frou dress. We'll talk about the neck up. While it's great she is demonstrating so much versatility with her short hairdo, she just doesn't strike me as a headband person. Like, at ALL. With the earrings it's just so cutesy (and Kristen Bell-ish), whereas I want sharp, bold, graphic things from Lupita instead. I will say that her makeup is gorgeous, if not a little "safe" for what we've been seeing from her. Currently stalking her makeup artist to find out the names of the peach lipstick and blush.

UPDATE: The lipstick is Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour in 136 Mélodieuse. (I knew it was Chanel!)

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron, Academy Awards 2014

Charlize's hair is growing out nicely into this feminine short style (pin away if you're after short haircut inspiration; I like this one!). She's a little boring on the red carpet but I think it's because she's like Naomi Watts—you can't do that much with their delicate features. So Charlize plays with the little things, like this lovely curve of black liquid liner along the upper lash line, and the defined lashes underneath. The falsies on the top aren't doing it for me, though, and I'd like to see her with a lip texture like Ireland Baldwin's instead of the high shine.

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence, Academy Awards 2014

Really? This is the best they could do with J-Law for the biggest beauty night of the year? So disappointed. So many questions. What in the everloving F was going on to achieve those highlights? (Streaky, stripey highlights are in now, is that it? I don't think so.) If her colour was more tone-on-tone, then I might not have minded it, as the voluminous, pushed-back style is actually pretty great... save for the tuft at the back which is kinda bothering me. I also feel like something got lost in the execution of the makeup. Don't get me wrong, I love a fresh face with a glammy dress—but this is perhaps a bit TOO fresh. The skin, the not-even-detectable blush and the sheer lips are great, but her hooded eyes aren't popping enough. Am I alone here?

Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett, Academy Awards 2014

Slow clap. Cate really killed it here—while I loved her bright lip at the Critics' Choice Awards, I'm glad she saved her very best for last. As with so many of these looks, it's all about the earrings, and these are total showstoppers. (Apparently, Chopard.) The rest is all soft and tone-on-tone: blonde collarbone-length waves with a deep side part, sheer peach blush and lip gloss, and the best skin in the business. Just to put it into context, she is 44. It's no secret Cate has repped SK-II for ages, and out of any celebrity skincare endorsements, that sure as hell makes me want to buy some.

UPDATE: Cate's lipstick is Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstacy in #103 Incognito. To get that incredible dewy finish on her skin, makeup artist Jeanne Lobell patted on SK-II Facial Treatment Essence before the foundation (no word yet on what that was but I suspect Luminous Silk). The eyeshadows are from Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Eyeshadow Quad in #2 Effeto Nudo, and the blush is Giorgio Armani Sheer Blush in #10 Beige.

Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts, Academy Awards 2014

Julia, age 46 now (gosh how did that happen?) looks great as well, but it's hard to be the follow-up act to Cate Blanchett. Her foundation texture is quite heavy and seems like it's settling into pores/creases. Otherwise, the neutrals are fine. Hair-wise, I'm quite let down by her new blonde colour. Looks dry and too light for her skin tone. Let me remind you of the fantastic caramel she had at the SAG Awards. Why mess with perfection, Julia? I hope it's for a role.

UPDATE: Julia's lipstick is Lancôme Rouge in Love in Delicate Lace.

Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock, Academy Awards 2014

Maybe not the best snap of Sandra, but you can still appreciate her excellent hair and makeup. She went for classic old Hollywood side-swept waves to go with her statuesque navy dress (one of my faves of the night). I like the smudgy, smoky eyes with the light pink lip, although I'd like to take my finger and smudge the mouth some too. What you can't see here are her navy blue nails, which I thought were a bad choice for the dress—too matching. I would've done sheer pink or white.

Penélope Cruz

Penelope Cruz, Academy Awards 2014

Haven't you been missing Penélope since the last time we saw her, with that to-die-for bronzey eyeshadow? I know I have. Here, it's almost a variation on that, just a bit subtler on the eyes and with a pinker lip to go with her baby-pink gown. (Obviously, Pené took my advice to wear this makeup look all the time, since she is so awesome in it.) She also wears a sky-high ballerina bun really well. Only thing I'm wondering about is the little tugging outside her right eye. Bad Botox?

UPDATE: I was right—Charlotte Tilbury did Penélope's makeup again here, and used her same Dolce Vita eyeshadow palette that every brown-eyed girl needs to own. I was wrong on the lipstick though; it's actually the same shade again, Penelope Pink.

Emma Watson

Emma Watson, Academy Awards 2014

Wow, never expected to have an Emma Watson beauty let-down (of all people!). But this hair, I just don't understand it. It looks teased to high heaven, but I thought the thing with backcombing was that you hide your work, leaving out the uppermost layer and smoothing that over top of the teased parts. I could deal with the texture if it was some sort of updo, but with the back part left down, it just looks uncharacteristically messy for poor Em. At least her makeup is the usual excellence. I couldn't love the matte red lip, defined lashes and combed-up brows more.

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie, Academy Awards 2014

Angelina always brings it for the Oscars. She looked extra-stunning this year, with a lighter brown hair colour and gorgeous soft smoky eyes. While I didn't like her false lashes at the BAFTAs, these ones are more subtle and don't overwhelm her face. I love how the shadow colours pick up on the tones of her hair (worn simply tucked behind the ears). But really, I think what makes this are the lips. You roll out of bed with Angelina Jolie's lips and you're already done. I think the clear gloss does work here, but can we please ban lip liner?

Jessica Biel

Jessica Biel, Academy Awards 2014

Jessica reminds all brunettes of just how flattering pink makeup can be—I think this is one of her best looks ever. It also serves as a reminder of the beauty in simplicity. She already has great skin—thanks to those oxygen facials I told you about—and sometimes it's nice to just see skin instead of tons of shadow/liner/lipstick. Hair is just as unfussy, worn smooth with uniform (not separated) waves; the strong part and tuck over one shoulder are what dresses it up. Just got the products from her makeup artist, Kayleen McAdams, and that's CK One Color Cream + Powder Blush Duo in Breath on the cheeks with a mix of Tarte LipSurgence Matte Lip Tint in Lucky and CK One Color Lip Gloss in Quirky on the lips. I need those products in my life!

Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington, Academy Awards 2014

Kerry was another one of my favourites along with Olivia Wilde last night. The pregnant ladies always have a beauty edge, you know? I think she's become a lot more confident in trying new looks this year, compared to how safe she played it during last awards season. This half-up hair with the mass of waves pairs perfectly with the dark berry lip (and strapless dress) for a romantic aura. According to her makeup artist, Carola Gonzalez, it's Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani Lipstick in #609 Plum topped with Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick in Rich Raisin for shine. Skin is radiant as usual, and I like the fringe of upper lashes with the deeper, sculpted-looking blush.

Margot Robbie

Margot Robbie, Academy Awards 2014

I liked Margot Robbie's look from afar, but up close, I'm not so sure about this. I know the new dark brown hair colour is for a role, not by choice, but I have to say, it is not flattering with her skin tone. Speaking of which, we have an Eagle situation here (lighter face, darker body). Haven't seen one of those in a while! I assume, like 99 percent of people on that red carpet, she had a pre-Oscars spray tan... but having pale skin all over, Rooney Mara-style, really would've been best. Those things aside, there is nothing technically wrong with the hair or makeup—they just need someone with different colouring is all. Makeup artist Jenn Streicher first painted her lips with Yves Saint Laurent's Glossy Stain in #1 Violet Edition, and while they were still wet, added an eyeliner (!!), Yves Saint Laurent Effet Faux Cils Long-Wear Cream Eyeliner in #5 Cherry Black  on top. Ha! That is the backstage trick Rikki mentioned here.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga, Academy Awards 2014

What is going on here? Lady Gaga is at the Oscars and dare I say it, she almost looks... normal?! Almost. There is still the matter of the wig, if you look at the hairline. Do not like. But the rest of this, I can get behind it. For some reason, the combo of the sparkly, iridescent silver eyeshadow all the way up to the brows is working with the long, spidery false eyelashes. I think it's because it's an arty look, as opposed to celebs who use falsies to look more sexay.

Anna Kendrick

Anna Kendrick, Academy Awards 2014

Well isn't this lovely. Got this close-up of Anna late in the game, but she's zoomed to the top of my list of favourites (headed by Olivia and then Kerry, if you're keeping track). This is for sure one of the most interesting makeup applications of the night: cool-toned shades of grey all over the lids, with a thick fringe of lashes and a super-flattering red lipstick. (It's Dior Addict Fluid Stick in Open Me, coming March 15th!) It's fresh, age-appropriate and is along the same lines as a typical Emma Watson look. Except I like Anna's hair better.

Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway, Academy Awards 2014

First thoughts to pop in my mind upon seeing this: "I'm over it." I really want Anne Hathaway to grow her hair out now. Sure, there is nothing technically wrong with this look (except possibly some weirdness in the texture at the top), I just feel like I've seen it a thousand times before. Annie's just not one of those short hair people where it looks exciting, compared to, say, beauty superstar Ginnifer Goodwin. The fact that her makeup is always boring is part of the problem. I will say that it's a very pretty boring, thanks to makeup artist Kate Lee who does the BEST natural makeup I think of anyone out there. She did Emma Watson for the Golden Globes, just to remind you. On Anne, she used Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Colour in La Caline. The blush is Chanel, too (it's called Le Blush de Chanel in Cheeky), but not out until May.

Chrissy Teigen

Chrissy Teigen, Academy Awards 2014

Chrissy has been popping on red carpets all over the place lately (wonder what that's about?), but I have to give it to her, she looks incredible. She does have an edge, being a model and all, but also Lauren Andersen (Avon spokesperson who I interviewed here) did a great job with the makeup. It's so light, fresh and dewy without being greasy. I'm glad they didn't lie to us and try to convince us it's an Avon foundation, because that just would not be credible. It's Yves Saint Laurent's new one, Le Teint Touche Éclat Illuminating Foundation, with Lorac bronzer for a touch of warmth. The lip colour is new Avon Ultra Color Absolute Lipstick in Pure Orchid.

Jenna Dewan-Tatum

Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Academy Awards 2014

I read a pretty harsh blind item recently about Jenna Dewan... I mean Jenna Dewan-TATUM... and so that's probably going to influence what I say here. Which is, if girlfriend wants to play the game, she better upgrade to a higher level of styling. She has the raw materials, especially the fantastic skin. But I'm getting a bit of a Megan Fox vibe from the makeup and skinny arched eyebrows. There's just something here that whispers tacky/trashy—do you see it? I'm sure you also noticed the stringy tendrils. WTF, it's not 1999.

UPDATE: Her lipstick, for anyone wondering, is the Avon Absolute Colour again, in Creamy Melon. (They ARE great lipsticks, I will say that.)

Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner, Academy Awards 2014

Holy moly, Jennifer Garner is getting the award for MVP—most improved person—of the night. I never expected Ms. Beige to show up with hair that I actually would like to replicate on myself, or a dress that I'd consider wearing. Visit this post and this one for a reminder of where we were coming from with this one. She finally played to her strengths, which are gorgeous  healthy hair, sparkly eyes and a cute smile. What makes this look great is the sweeping side bang (an effect I try and usually fail at achieving every morning) and the healthy, touchable, caramel-coloured loose waves. No issues with the neutral makeup—she's very much the natural type and I think we'd be sitting here criticizing her if she veered too far from that.

Kate Hudson

Kate Hudson, Academy Awards 2014

Okay, maybe by now I'm getting tired of the side-swept waves, finally. They had a good run, but I think seeing them on Kate Hudson inexplicably pushed me over the edge. They were the safe choice with this outfit and makeup, but it would've been nice to see the fashion-forward choice: a faux bob, perhaps? Could have been great. I do like that she chose white for her dress (one of her best colours) and her makeup sorta echoes that iciness.

Portia de Rossi

Portia de Rossi, Academy Awards 2014

OMG, Portia and J-Law are hair twins! Right down to the streaky highlights and the tuft of hair at the back of the head. I like it better on Portia. But really, whoever it is doing these highlighting jobs needs to stop. I feel like the highlights were designed to go with the hairstyle, which really creeps me out.

Elsa Pataky and Chris Hemsworth

Elsa Pataky and Chris Hemsworth, Academy Awards 2014

Throwing this in because how can you not love Elsa and Chris? Totally my favourite celebrity couple. I WANT to believe they are so in love. Please let it be true. By the way, not a fan of Elsa's dress... where are her boobs? Those are the two body parts I'd be showing off, so as to detract from the beach ball in front. I also think she needs a root touch-up, but I'll forgive her—colour bad for babies. Chris looks totally dreamy, but then it's easier for guys isn't it?

Jared Leto

Jared Leto, Academy Awards 2014

Speaking of guys, Jared has to close the thread once again, what with his ageless 42-year-old skin and perfectly executed Ombré that I want to run my fingers through. For the very first time in my entire beauty editor career, I received an Oscars hair how-to for a MAN. Well played, Jared.

Have your say

Which beauty looks are you loving? Which ones are bugging?
Who was your absolute favourite? Most surprising? Up and coming? Let's discuss!