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Stars shine on Oscars red carpet

27 february 2012, 16:30
The 84th Annual Academy Awards. ©AFP
The 84th Annual Academy Awards. ©AFP
Hollywood's hottest stars strutted down the red carpet on Sunday ahead of the Oscars ceremony in a stunning parade of bejeweled couture gowns, glittering diamonds and debonair tuxedos, AFP reports.

Viola Davis, who is hotly tipped to win a best actress Oscar for her portrayal of a housemaid in "The Help," wowed the crowd in a strapless kelly green Vera Wang gown with a cleavage-revealing neckline and pleated detailing.

"She did right by me," Davis said of Wang.

Her co-star Octavia Spencer, who won the best supporting actress prize, chose a glittering white and silver gown by Tadashi Shoji, who has dressed her for most of her red carpet appearances during awards season.

And Jessica Chastain, who played a ditzy housewife in "The Help" and was competing against Spencer, earned cheers for her strapless black Alexander McQueen gown with gold detailing at the bodice and hemline.

"I was really trying to get noticed this year," Chastain quipped, referring to her work in seven movies in 2011, including "The Help" and "The Tree of Life," both of which are up for the best picture Oscar.

Chastain -- who bucked the trend for up hairdos, leaving her red tresses trailing down her back -- was also bedecked in $2 million worth of Harry Winston jewels.

Silver was a color of choice -- from the slinky one-shoulder Elie Saab dress worn by Milla Jovovich to the plunging V-neck Zuhair Murad number sported by Jennifer Lopez. Both were presenting awards on Sunday.

Oscars gold was also on display with Best Actress nominee Meryl Streep resplendent in a glittering floor-length belted Lanvin dress.

And Angelina Jolie looked every bit the mega-star that she is, wearing a strapless black velvet gown with a thigh-high slit and red, red lipstick.

Best Actress nominee Michelle Williams rocked a strapless coral-red Louis Vuitton number with cascading ruffles and a simple necklace, while "The Help" star Emma Stone opted for a flowing fire-engine red Giambattista Valli.

Not too many pastels were seen on the red carpet, but "The Artist" star and best supporting actress nominee Berenice Bejo shone in a mint Elie Saab gown with a deep V-neck and bejeweled sheer sleeves.

Melissa McCarthy, also up for a best supporting actress award for her work in "Bridesmaids." sported a blush Marina Rinaldi goddess gown with fluttering sleeves and jeweled detailing at the neckline and waist.

For the men, British comic actor Sacha Baron Cohen stole the spotlight, sporting full faux strongman regalia in a publicity stunt for his new film, "The Dictator."

The appearance of the 40-year-old Baron Cohen, who was dressed in the uniform and beard of the leader of the fictional Republic of Wadiya, had been in doubt after he was warned not to create a stir to promote the film.

"I'm wearing John Galliano... and the socks are from K-Mart," Baron Cohen said, dressed in military white and dripping with faux medals, in full character from the film, flanked by two female guards in red berets.

The actor, a member of the cast of 11-time nominee "Hugo," then dumped what he jokingly called the ashes of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il from an urn onto TV presenter Ryan Seacrest. Security guards pulled him away.

Aside from Baron Cohen, best actor nominee George Clooney led the way for the men in classic Giorgio Armani black. Best supporting actor winner Christopher Plummer added a touch of flair with a velvet jacket.

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