Oscars Best Actress nominees

Inside the closets of the Oscars' Best Actress nominees

When it comes to awards-season campaigning, this year’s Best Actress Oscar nominees play fashionable roles on the red carpet.

The Oscars and fashion go hand in hand, but the bar has been raised by this year’s coterie of well-heeled Best Actress hopefuls. In terms of style, all of the nominees brought their A-game to the status-defining awards circuit. In honor of Sunday night’s ceremony, here’s the fashion 411 on the five leading ladies who’ve inspired us as much on the red carpet as they have on-screen.

The English Rose

Felicity Jones, a contender for her role as Jane Hawking in “The Theory of Everything, ” is the primand-proper maverick. Sure, she’s unequivocally ladylike (think long sleeves, graceful shapes and conservative hemlines), but the most refreshing aspect of her style is that it’s never quite the same. One minute, the 31-year-old Brit is decked out in floral-print Erdem; the next, she’s in all-black Prada. On the adornment front, Jones complements her demure aesthetic with delicate diamonds, pearls and cameo studs. It’s understated jewelry that balances out her most scene-stealing looks, like the Christian Dior Couture high-neck gown she donned at the Golden Globes.

The American Beauty

Reese Witherspoon may be nominated for a film called “Wild, ” but her taste for simple sophistication on the red carpet is anything but. Feminine yet never fussy, the Southern girl sticks to classic silhouettes that suit her all-American persona. The jewelry is always sparse — a thin bracelet, maybe a pair of drops — and she never bothers with look-at-me necklaces. Still, the 38-year-old mother of three is no prude. Witherspoon is big on form-fitting dresses, and has been known to bare cleavage. She’ll also bring the drama by way of bold color, as seen in the Stella McCartney number she wore to the BAFTA Awards.

The Dark Horse

Although Rosamund Pike, 36, has been a style standout for some time, the actress didn’t garner much fanfare until her gamechanging turn in “Gone Girl.” Like the two-faced character she plays in the film, there’s a distinct duality to her look. Pike plays it sweet, but effuses sexy, and is partial to all-black and all-white threads. The former Bond girl isn’t afraid of atypical silhouettes or progressive details, such as cutouts, slits and sheer fabrics. But Pike’s natural poise softens any edginess, and the result is modishly modern, neither safe nor too aggressive. Case in point: the unique Vera Wang cutout dress she wore to the Golden Globes just a few weeks after giving birth.

The French Twist

It’s essentially a fact that French women have great style, but “Two Days, One Night” star Marion Cotillard takes the gâteau. Her M.O. is pure Parisian chic: tastefully edgy, effortlessly elegant, je ne sais quoi! Think traditional ladylike dressing spun completely fresh (sheath dresses in tech-y fabrics, LBDs with trompe l’oeil embroidery). Cotillard, 39, is also a face of Dior, and wears the storied brand with religious devotion. It’s just as well: The actress has the high-fashion sensibility to pull off straight-fromthe-runway looks, à la the voluminous Christian Dior Couture gown she wore to the Critics’ Choice Awards.

The Risk Taker

It would be easy for Julianne Moore, nominated for her role as a linguistics professor in “Still Alice, ” to wear humdrum dresses and get by on henetics. (A classic face, red hair and porcelain skin is a foolproof combination.) Instead, the A-lister often pushes the limits, and the risks pay off. Moore, 54, knows what works for her, but trusts talented designers to yank her out of her comfort zone. She lives in red and emerald — as any pale ginger should — as well as black and white, but you’ll never find her in a basic ball gown. Rather, the actress opts for elevated creations like the red velvet dress she worked at the BAFTAs, custom-made by her friend Tom Ford.

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