The 11 Most Controversial Oscar Gowns In History

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Give me the Oscars over the Super Bowl any day. I mean, wouldn't you rather sob over acceptance speeches and live Tweet your rage when your favorite film gets snubbed? Not to mention, Oscars red carpet fashion is essentially a sport of its own. The sartorial field is a toss-up every year — who will score "Best Dressed" and who will snag "#1 Fashion Fail"? However, what spectactors are really looking for are controversial Oscar outfits. There's nothing I truly love more than a dress that triggers endless debates.

Infamous Oscar dresses are no foreign concept to Hollywood. Whether that means an eccentric frock or a risqué number, starlets do not shy away from the unconventional. Perhaps it is a case of "any publicity is good publicity" — especially in today's digital age, becoming the face of a trending social media topic is just as valuable as landing a coveted Academy Award. Hashtag or gold statuette: take your pick.

From the string of bizarre red carpet getups in the '90s to the recent gowns that have sparked modern day memes, Oscars fashion will always be a mainstay of pop culture. Take that, football.

1. Barbara Streisand (1969)

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(Unintentional) flashing, anyone? Streisand was in for more than one surprise at her first Oscars in '69. According to Vanity Fair, Streisand had no idea her sequined pantsuit was see-through until the lights kicked in. Nothing like a little tease for your Tinseltown debut.

2. Cher (1986)

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In what the internet has deemed "outrageous", "unforgettable" and simply "worst dressed of all time", Cher's getup pretty much speaks for itself. The feathery concoction was designed by her longtime costume designer Bob Mackie (the two tragically parted ways in 2014).

3. Kim Basinger (1990)

Basinger's Oscars number is an example of what happens when a Pinterest DIY turns awry. Believe it or not, she designed the dress herself — every white satin inch. Bonus points for effort?

4. Whoopi Goldberg (1993)

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Where to even begin — Whoopi Goldberg appeared to be channeling an off-brand Maleficent in her lime and purple skirt/pant hybrid. And let's discuss those matching heels.

5. Lizzy Gardiner (1995)

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Feb 17, 2017: the day I learned that "American Express Gold card dress of Lizzy Gardiner" is an actual Wikipedia entry. Though Gardiner's questionable attire spawned negative press, the story behind it is much more layered.

According to Yahoo, she had originally envisioned the AmEx dress for the film "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert". When American Express rejected the concept for the movie, they instead sent her 300 custom platinum cards to wear at the Oscars. That's a money move right there.  

6. Celine Dion (1999)

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Backwards jacket, sideways fedora and sunglasses? Please, Celine — do Christian Dior some justice.

7. Bjork (2001)

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No controversial Oscars fashion round-up is complete without the notorious Bjork/Swan Dress debacle (which, naturally, has its own Wiki page). The iconic number is by Macedonian designer Marjan Pejoski. As The Independent reported, Pejoski had to produce two copies — because the dress could not be dry cleaned.

The Icelandic singer also went down in Oscars history for *literally* bringing ostrich eggs to the red carpet. A much more appropriate accessory than an evening clutch if you ask me.

8. Uma Thurman (2004)

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The Hollywood Reporter coined Thurman's Christian Lacroix frock as what "a townsperson from Beauty and the Beast would wear". Never have I seen a more accurate statement in my life.

9. Angelina Jolie (2012)

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Leave it to Angie to generate a viral sensation with a single dress (and pose). The ensemble seems unassuming at first — a black Versace number — but it is the leg slit that forever altered history. Case in point: a Twitter account devoted solely to Angie's Right Leg and the concept of "legbombing".

10. Anne Hathaway (2013)

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People described it as the number one "infamous Oscar dress mishap", or to put it in better words, Prada drama. In 2013, Hathaway made a last minute dress swap from Valentino to Prada. The reason: Les Mis co-star Amanda Seyfried's dress was "remarkably similar" to the Valentino number she was originally slated to wear.

Many framed this as an act of betrayal, as Hathaway and Valentino are longtime collaborators and whom she has worn countless times in the past (and yes, even for her own wedding).

11. Jennifer Lawrence (2013)

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Meet the Dior gown that started it all. The 2013 Oscars was the very moment that kindled the "Jennifer Lawrence Trips On Stage" flame. With a dramatic number like that (and that seemingly endless train), it's no surprise J Law's fall became an overplayed GIF.

Who will take the crown for most buzz-worthy gown at the 2017 Oscars? Only time will tell, but start placing your bets now!