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It’s in the Stars

With Oscar nods in place, the race to the red carpet is on. Here are some stylists’ suggestions for who should wear what to the big dance.

Who will wear what? WWD gathers some suggestions for 2002’s best of Hollywood from the best of the runways for Oscar Sunday.

LOS ANGELES — Just before daybreak Tuesday, the Motion Picture Academy handed down its voting results, with actress Marisa Tomei and Academy president Frank Pierson cutting to the chase to announce the acting nominations in one-minute flat.

There were no surprises — and though we would love to see her on the red carpet, did anyone really think Michelle Pfeiffer was going to get a nod for her overly blonde performance in “White Oleander”? Still, this year’s Best Actress pool looks the loveliest in years, with five camera-ready cover girls in the running.

There isn’t an actress in the bunch who can’t take a runway dress and make it a Hollywood legend. A few already have: Nicole and her various Gallianos, Julianne in that Prada and Chanel, and Renée in the vintage Jean Desses. But add Diane Lane and Salma Hayek to the mix, and it might be all too much for either designers or fashion fans.

New York-based stylist Kithe Brewster (who helped turn Julianne Moore into a fashion plate over the last three years) was on a plane to the couture collections as his client Lane arrived at the Golden Globes in a stunning Donna Karan that the designer let her wear in advance of her fall runway show.

“I saw some incredibly inspirational things at Chanel, Ungaro, Dior and Ralph Rucci,” Brewster said. “I’ve already met with several designers and I’m getting ready to head back for Prêt-à-Porter.”

And Kate Young, the Gotham-based stylist for Hayek, who takes to clingy clothes and colors particularly well, has already been mulling the possibilities. “Personally, I think everyone should be wearing Alaïa. But for Salma, it’s all about looking gorgeous. It could be a clean and simple Narciso or an Ungaro with a flounce. She’s very versatile.”

One point of debate: whether or not we’ll see any more Lara Flynn Boyle-Sharon Stone antics come March 23 (fun as they are, we hope not). Barneys creative director Simon Doonan is betting on it: “After the Globes, when Sharon and Lara monopolized the coverage with their over-the-top, self-styled, borderline-insane looks, we are going to see more celebs experimenting — more Gaultier and more Dior, and lots of Versace. The public loves a celeb who lets herself go slightly bonkers in the fashion department. We can look forward to more outré styles and less of the safe red-carpet goddess gowns.”

Young disagrees. “That’s not my slant. I don’t view Oscars as the prom.” Ah, but it does make for good copy….That said, the Oscars is serious stuff. It’s certainly not a time to leave anything to chance, particularly the fit of a gown. If there was a lesson to be learned from Gwyneth’s past appearances, it’s that a dress should fit properly and not be transparent. Save for curvy Julianne Moore, the Best Supporting Actress nominees will need a little support in the dress department. With size-0 runway samples not an option, they’ll need a little love from designer friends and a great seamstress.

“Movie stars are generally not built like models, so runway looks need to be adapted,” said Decades’ Cameron Silver. The amply endowed Queen Latifah should go “Chicago”-style glam and the eight-months-pregnant Catherine Zeta-Jones will likely have every couturier begging to stitch her a gown. Kathy Bates and Meryl Streep should pull out all the stops and dress like women, not matrons. After all, they’re still doing some of their best work on screen.

Don’t get lazy on the red carpet, ladies! Count on seeing at least one serious red dress out there, perhaps on Lane.

“Somebody needs to wear a red dress to make magazines like Us and People happy, and Diane could wear Valentino,” said Elizabeth Stewart, creative director of The New York Times Magazine. Brewster, whose taste veers toward black or white, said even he’s considering red, perhaps by Ungaro.

And while Silver champions short, like the cocktail-length looks from Julien Macdonald for Givenchy, don’t expect the nominees to be flashing any more than an ankle when it comes to skirt length, as to-the-floor formal is still the gold standard. As for other body parts, well, that’s fair game. Says Doonan, “I am holding my breath hoping that somebody wears the fabulous Alaïa frock with the see-thru butt.” Lara? Sharon?

Depending on the derrieres so exposed, so are we.

THE NOMINEES

BEST ACTRESS

Salma Hayek, “Frida”

Nicole Kidman, “The Hours”

Diane Lane, “Unfaithful”

Julianne Moore, “Far From Heaven”

Renée Zellweger, “Chicago”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Kathy Bates, “About Schmidt”

Julianne Moore, “The Hours”

Queen Latifah, “Chicago”

Meryl Streep, “Adaptation”

Catherine Zeta-Jones, “Chicago”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

“Chicago,” Colleen Atwood

“Frida,” Julie Weiss

“Gangs of New York,” Sandy Powell

“The Hours,” Ann Roth

“The Pianist,” Anna Sheppard