More than any awards season in recent memory, the red carpet this year has been all about fashion with a capital "F." "I'm thrilled to see so much color, such a diversity of types of dresses and such a variety of necklines," said Eric Wilson, fashion news director at InStyle. "Especially after we've come out of 10 years of seeing universally strapless dresses." After the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and a bevy of other preliminaries, the Oscars are in sight March 2, marking the finish line to this year's fashion-forward march, which was put on "pause" by the Olympics in February. Here are some of the highlights so far.
Lupita, Lupita, Lupita
All eyes are focused on Lupita Nyong'o, whose breakout role in "12 Years a Slave" earned her an Academy Award nomination for supporting actress. She's gone from red-carpet newcomer to universally acclaimed style icon in just one short season.
"Lupita slays it on every red carpet," said actress and "Ring My Bell" style blogger Ashley Madekwe. "You really can't talk about anybody else."
Nyong'o ruled at the Golden Globes in her riveting red Ralph Lauren gown, its caped silhouette instantly memorable. Her follow-up was swift and sure: a daring Calvin Klein Collection cutout gown in white at the Critics' Choice Awards and a flower-power Gucci gown in an indelible turquoise shade at the Screen Actors Guild.
"Fashion is a great tool to cement your reputation as an A-list celebrity in Hollywood," Wilson said. The same goes for Nyong'o's stylist, Micaela Erlanger, in her red-carpet debut.
"She has access to all the primo dresses, but she's still not afraid to take chances," Wilson said of Cate Blanchett, lead actress nominee for "Blue Jasmine."
She's reigned with a supremely confident hand this season, wearing designers including favorite fashion renegade Ricardo Tisci for Givenchy, who created her pale pink waterfall-bodice gown for the SAG Awards, and red-carpet maestro Giorgio Armani's Privé for the Golden Globes, where she wore a beguiling black lace dress with a scooped-down-to-there back.
"I loved Cate's gown — when lace is done right, it's such a standout," said "Mad Men" costume designer Janie Bryant.
Ladies in waiting
Nominees Sandra Bullock and Julia Roberts have raised their style games. And, not so coincidentally, they — like Blanchett — are advised by über-stylist Elizabeth Stewart.
Bullock, a lead actress nominee for "Gravity," banished all traces of astronaut Ryan Stone with her sophisticated emerald Lanvin at SAG and siren-like Roland Mouret at the Directors Guild Awards.
Roberts, a supporting actress nominee for "August: Osage County," effortlessly rallied at SAG in a surprising strawberry-pink Valentino jumpsuit.
Bold and beautiful
Amy Adams' bolder choices, aided by her trend-driven stylist Petra Flannery, have also brought her fashion image into sharp focus — a cinnabar Valentino halter gown at the Globes and a cobalt Antonio Berardi stunner at SAG that led Catherine Kallon's Red Carpet Fashion Awards blog to name her the best dressed nominee of the night.
"There was a lot to love about Amy Adams' SAG gown" Kallon said in an email about the "American Hustle" lead actress nominee. "The flattering silhouette, the asymmetrical cutout and beaded waistband gave the old-Hollywood glamour a contemporary feel."
Jared Leto, nominated for a supporting actor award for "Dallas Buyers Club," keeps rocking on.
"It's difficult for men to be exciting on the red carpet, but he's nailed it every time," stylist and regular Details magazine contributor Benjamin Sturgill said approvingly of Leto's rocker vibe. "Hedi's a good match for him," he added, referring to designer Hedi Slimane, whose St. Laurent suits are among Leto's go-tos.
Leto, with an assist from his stylist, Heather Shimokawa, likes the telling accessory too, from his silk scarf and deconstructed "man bun" at the Globes to his J.D. Souther-style fedora and jazzy slippers at the London premiere of "Dallas Buyers Club."
"He looks elegant and chic at every event, but he's still being himself," Sturgill said.
Leto's "Dallas Buyers Club" co-star, lead actor nominee Matthew McConaughey, has collaborated with British-born stylist Simon Robins to turn heads with iconoclastic color and texture, particularly at the Globes, where he wore a bottle-green velvet tuxedo from Dolce & Gabbana.
Much like the fabled pairing of another movie-star gamine and Parisian designer, the sight of Jennifer Lawrence in her latest couture Dior by Raf Simons always stirs the fashion crowd.
But where Audrey Hepburn and Givenchy were all about serious elegance, Lawrence's disarming manner makes her the perfect ambassador for these deconstructed times.
"It's a nice juxtaposition of personality and designer and she makes it more accessible," Sturgill said.
So accessible that her ruched white Golden Globe dress with black trim became an Internet meme. Lawrence and her stylist, Rachel Zoe, came back strong at SAG with a jaw-dropping sequined slither to raves all around.