View Slideshow

LOS ANGELES As usual, some of the best came last on the red carpet of the 86th Academy Awards in Los Angeles.

And it appeared to be a lighter shade of pale — from icy white on Naomi Watts and Kate Hudson to powder pink on Jessica Biel, Penélope Cruz, Camila Alves McConaughey and Lady Gaga, and silvery shades on Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Garner and Julie Delpy. Even the de rigueur gold dresses were more akin to Champagne this year. Sally Hawkins rolled up in one such gown as last call was being announced, still in a state of shock. “I’m in Valentino, so how can I not feel like a goddess?” she gushed. “I’m incredibly lucky to be on the red carpet at the Oscars, wearing Valentino, nominated for a Woody Allen film. I mean, does it get any better than that?” Hawkins was unaware that her “Blue Jasmine” screen sister Cate Blanchett was standing just behind her, mouthing the word “beautiful” before feigning a demented expression and pretending to grind her heel into Hawkins’ train. “Go away, you’re making me look bad,” she scolded Hawkins.

Click Here for a Slideshow of Red Carpet Fashion >>

RELATED STORY: The Action Before the Action — Hollywood Hits the Party Circuit >>

This story first appeared in the March 3, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“Mr. Armani designed this for me,” Blanchett said of her paillette-strewn pale gold gown. As for her Chopard jewels, “Opals are a must-have in Australia, so it’s a little touch of home.”

Lupita Nyong’o also had home on her mind. While her soft blue gown was custom-made by Prada, and inspired by Champagne bubbles, she noted, “This reminds me of my hometown in Nairobi. The walls of my school were the same color, and back then, I couldn’t wait to get out, but now, it’s a nice reminder of home.”

While all three of the aforementioned stars had massages on Oscar morning to relax, Kevin Spacey, a producer of Best Picture nominee “Captain Phillips,” admitted to drinking whiskey to calm his nerves.

Even Julia Roberts, another Oscar veteran, seemed to have a case of the jitters. “This morning it was fine, right now is another story,” she laughed.

Glenn Close described her first Oscars as a downright terrifying experience. “I heard this roar from the crowd when I got out of the car and I felt like I was going to be fed to the lions. It was like going into the Colosseum.”