Byline: Merle Ginsberg / Marcy Medina

LOS ANGELES — Forget “business dressy.” Ditto all those boring black pantsuits. The Emmy’s were a fashion snooze, albeit a patriotically correct one.
It’s high time for a return to Hollywood glam.
The designers want it, the stylists want it, and the beauty brigade wants it. Even the actresses want it. And let’s face it, the audience at home is begging for it, as are rapacious reporters. What’s life — not to mention the economy and the media — without a healthy dose of escapism?
And there’s a bumper crop of stylish actresses from the big and small screens hitting the Beverly Hilton red carpet on Jan. 20 for the 59th annual Golden Globe Awards (broadcast live on NBC, 8 p.m.-11 p.m. EST).
Of course, snagging a Globe is a coup for an actress. But dressing a Globe-bound star is not only a coup for a designer — it can mean money in the bank. Here, WWD’s picks for The Best to Dress.

Nicole Kidman: The Globe golden girl, with two nods in the best-actress category, Kidman rarely goes wrong — even when she’s beautifully over the top. It just may be that 2002 is her year to savor the spotlight and her new sexy single status. How about an exquisite vintage dress from Loris Azzaro? And she’s probably the only star who wouldn’t get swallowed up by the YSL leopard chiffon caftan. Or one of Karl Lagerfeld’s white chiffon empire-waisted strapless gowns for Chanel would show off her flame locks to perfection.

Cate Blanchett: This radiant new mother should have no problem shimmying into a sample-size gown in time for the Globes. Not that any designer wouldn’t whip up something in whatever size she required, as Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Marc Jacobs did during her last nine months. Since her trademark style is sleek, accented by some quirky touch of individuality, she should stick with her instincts and go for dramatic black to accent her choppy blond hair.

Halle Berry: Possessing one of the hottest bods in Hollywood (and apparently paid more when she bares it all), Berry can never be accused of not showing it off. Still, she fares better in classy, poitrine-enhancing Valentino than with skimpy skirts and bustiers. Leave the tacky cap at home, Halle, and go for full-length glamour from Chanel, Dior, even Roberto Cavalli. As long as she shows more class than (s)ass.

Renee Zellweger: She convinced us she was a neurotic Brit by packing on the pounds for “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” but now Zellweger should scale back on the dieting and regain some of her womanly curves to complement another great vintage gown from Lily et Cie in Beverly Hills. Balenciaga, perhaps? Her great taste in vintage has served her well, and she’s shown she can wear dramatic color. Remember her canary yellow Jean Dresses at the Oscars and her plum Saint Laurent at the Vogue/VH1 Fashion Awards?

Jennifer Connelly: A real woman of style in the making, this classic black-haired beauty has donned everything from a Narciso Rodriguez short suit to dresses by Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana and Ungaro for recent red carpet and chat show appearances. Everything she puts on looks both chic and sexy. Connelly’s also a big fan of smaller indie designers such as fellow New Yorker Jane Mayle. Whatever her Globes choice, it should be a big surprise from Connelly. Her fashion-friendly publicist-stylist Cari Ross is known for them.

Sela Ward: What’s interesting about this “Once and Again” star is she’s had as many fashion missteps as she has shining moments. Still, her trips are always interesting, like her strange Chanel couture getup at the Globes a few years ago. Where she really goes wrong is when she wears skintight leather, trying to take a page out of J.Lo’s babe-a-licious book. But whoever gets hold of her this year — and she’s worn everything from Valentino to Theyskens to Ungaro — could give Sela a lovely ladylike overhaul.

Reese Witherspoon: The saucy ingenue ranks above most of her peers on the style scale. Having successfully taken up the Marc Jacobs mantle, she should have no problem convincing her pal to design her a modern one-of-a-kind gown. She’s also got a good eye and curvy frame for vintage, too.

Cameron Diaz: A beautiful mind is a terrible thing to waste. So is a beautiful body. Cameron keeps arriving on the red carpet in low, low, low-waisted pants and cropped one-shoulder blouses. It’s last year’s look on this year’s It Girl. If you desire wild, Cam, how about some screamingly hot Versace, like the white fringed jacket and matching minidress? She’d also look fun in one of Ralph Lauren’s white eyelet tiered fringed skirts.

Jennifer Garner: Paging all designers. Garner is set to break out, and this versatile beauty is an untapped resource. Her chameleon-like turn on “Alias,” as well as her camera time on “Pearl Harbor” and “Rennie’s Landing” (with hubbie Scott Foley of “Felicity”) proves she can do just about any look. The former ballerina might want to consider the dancer looks of Alberta Ferretti, Chanel resort or Hussein Chalayan.

Calista Flockhart: The formerly conservative Calista let loose this year, crossing the fashion map in a toned-down and elegant Christina Perrin blouse and skirt, and then going full-tilt fun in a Missoni mini and boots. Rumor has it that she’s staying loyal to Oscar de la Renta for the Globes, who designed the black-tie Emmy gown before the event went dressy business.

Debra Messing: We’ve seen the many sartorial sides of television’s new lovable red head in past awards shows, from Audrey Hepburn gamine to swinging Sixties moll. She’s always of-the-moment and damn chic, really understanding how fashion can solidify a rising star’s place in the Hollywood constellation. It’s anyone’s guess what she’ll wear this year, but our bet is it won’t be something we’ve seen her in before. It could be Balenciaga, it could be Narcisco Rodriguez, it could be Oscar.

Sarah Jessica Parker: No one does it like SJP — on or off the screen. Missed at the Emmys, we’ll need a double dose of her sexy, quirky style this year. Our vote goes to Chanel, since this is what she was supposedly going to wear to the Emmy’s. Or how about a full-length European gown? Whatever she does, hopefully she’ll leave the microminis and mid-length skirts in the closet this time. Yes, the gams are gorgeous, but so is a little variety.

The Contenders
The race begins. With the nominee announcements early Thursday morning for the 59th Annual Golden Globe Awards, players in the entertainment, fashion and beauty arenas are counting down to the award season’s first big bow, live on NBC, Jan. 20. (Full coverage of Golden Globe fashion and beauty will be in WWD’s postshow issue, Jan. 22.)

2002 GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINEES (The Actresses)

Halle Berry, “Monster’s Ball”
Judi Dench, “Iris”
Nicole Kidman, “The Others”
Sissy Spacek, “In the Bedroom”
Tilda Swinton, “The Deep End”

Thora Birch, “Ghost World”
Cate Blanchett, “Bandits”
Nicole Kidman, “Moulin Rouge”
Renee Zellweger, “Bridget Jones’s Diary”
Reese Witherspoon, “Legally Blonde”

Jennifer Connelly, “A Beautiful Mind”
Cameron Diaz, “Vanilla Sky”
Helen Mirren, “Gosford Park”
Maggie Smith, “Gosford Park”
Marisa Tomei, “In the Bedroom”
Kate Winslet, “Iris”

Lorraine Bracco, “The Sopranos”
Amy Brenneman, “Judging Amy”
Edie Falco, “The Sopranos”
Jennifer Garner, “Alias”
Lauren Graham, “Gilmore Girls”
Marg Helgenberger, “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation”
Sela Ward, “Once and Again”

Calista Flockhart, “Ally McBeal”
Jane Kaczmarek, “Malcolm in the Middle”
Heather Locklear, “Spin City”
Debra Messing, “Will & Grace”
Sarah Jessica Parker, “Sex and the City”

Judy Davis, “Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows”
Bridget Fonda, “No Ordinary Baby”
Hannah Taylor Gordon, “Anne Frank”
Julianna Margulies, “The Mists of Avalon”
Leelee Sobieski, “Uprising”
Emma Thompson, “Wit”

Jennifer Aniston, “Friends”
Tammy Blanchard, “Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows”
Rachel Griffiths, “Six Feet Under”
Allison Janney, “The West Wing”
Megan Mullally, “Will & Grace”

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