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With the exception of a few who dared to wear color, most actresses took to black and white at the Critics’ Choice Awards, the first major awards show of the year. And Jennifer Connelly, for one, was ready. “Awards season is much more fun this time around,” she said. “I was so stressed last time. If you haven’t been in this kind of environment before, it’s really intimidating.”

Connelly’s debut on the awards circuit last year, however, did prepare her for the months of primping to come. “I take the path of least resistance,” she said.

But that wasn’t an option for Samantha Morton when her suitcase, carrying a dress from Givenchy, failed to show up in L.A. “It’s the second time I’ve arrived in my jeans and T-shirt with nothing to wear,” she sighed. Luckily, she was in a town that knows a thing or two about last-minute dresses.