The Oscars' Worst Dressed Stars, Reevaluated: Did They Really Deserve Their Critics' Panning?

The day after the Oscars is like Christmas, Hannukah, and the Fourth of July all rolled into one for fashion critics: time to judge who rocked their couture, and who fell short of expectations. However, in our haste to give out best or worst dressed labels to our favorite stars, we sometimes overlook ensembles that seem hideous at first glance but are actually quite beautiful on closer inspection. We took a second look at 11 of the once-deemed worst dressed stars of the Oscars to see if their ensembles were really so offensive.

Selma Blair at the 2002 Oscars

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We’re going to go out on a limb and say that with a crimson slip, Selma Blair’s risqué, fringed Oscar dress could have had some potential. Perhaps it would have been more appropriate for some sort of ’20s-themed speakeasy, but the dress wasn’t a complete failure as some critics panned it.

Gwyneth Paltrow at the 2002 Oscars

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Gwyneth received an unusual amount of disgust from the fashion community for her gothic ensemble at the 2002 Oscars, though we’d argue that the look isn’t all bad. Sure, the dress sorely needs some sort of undergarment, and overall looks a bit like a hastily thrown-together skirt and top, but we get the edgy vibe she was going for. Maybe Hollywood just wasn’t ready for Alexander McQueen.

Faith Hill at the 2002 Oscars

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2002 was clearly an unfortunate year for Oscars fashion, proven again by Faith Hill. We love a good pop of color, but not all of them in one dress, and certainly not painted atop feathers. Multicolored plumes are beautiful on tropical birds — not so much on Oscars gowns.

Anne Hathaway at the 2013 Oscars

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The amount of fuss made over Anne Hathaway’s last-minute Prada pick for the 2013 Oscars would lead us to believe it had ignited an international conflict. And in light of Hathaway’s recent separation from longtime stylist Rachel Zoe, it seems like the actress herself was majorly disappointed by the look. However, as couture gowns go, the petal pink satin was timelessly elegant, the cut (bust darts excluded) sleek and streamlined, and the actress herself glowed. We call this worst-dressed label a mistrial.

Charlize Theron at the 2006 Oscars

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Dior definitely never designs gowns halfway, so we shouldn’t have been surprised at the sheer volume of Charlize Theron’s 2006 Oscars gown. Unfortunately, size seems to be the problem with the gown. Charlize looks as if she’s being swallowed by swaths of dark fabric, and the gigantic bow on her shoulder only emphasizes the overpowering look.

Uma Thurman at the 2004 Oscars

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Uma Thurman’s Christian Lacroix is a bold statement, we’ll give her that. But the dress is a bit of a mess. Between the uneven layers of fabric and haphazard detailing, the gown looks unfinished and distracting.

Kirsten Dunst at the 2007 Oscars

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This glittery, feathery gown worn by Kirsten Dunst to the 2007 Oscars is Chanel, but even the best designers fumble occasionally. While we love the sheer paneling and shimmering embroidery, it does look like a couture gown was accidentally mixed with a polo shirt.

Miley Cyrus at the 2009 Oscars

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While Miley’s Zuhair Murad gown received mixed reviews on the red carpet in 2009, we’re going to have to stick with worst dressed on this complicated dress. Between the glitzy oversized belt and the scalloped layers of glittering gown, the look is overwhelming on Miley. Maybe she is better off with the teddy bear costume after all.

Helena Bonham Carter at the 2013 Oscars

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Even Ms. Carter looks unenthused by her droopy Vivienne Westwood dress. The Oscars gown looks in bitter need of some tailoring and perhaps a bit more volume at the bottom. As-is, however, it’s a little haphazard and drab. But bravo, Helena Bonham Carter, for looking semi put-together at a major awards show!

Brandi Glanville at the 2013 Oscars

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We hate to say it, but this gown is a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen. And Ms. Glanville has no one to blame but herself, as she designed the gown herself from her Brand B line. there is a fine line between an artfully plunging neckline and lingerie, and, Brandi… well, let’s sit down and discuss that, shall we?

Jennifer Lopez at the 2010 Oscars

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At the 2010 Oscars, Jennifer Lopez wore a streamlined, pastel strapless gown… with an entire other gown attached to her waist. We love an architectural Armani gown, but this one is definitely deserving of its worst dressed title. We’ll just go ahead and say it: less is more in red carpet fashion.