How to Be an Oscars Winner: Dress Like One at the Golden Globes

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As the show's prognostication powers increase, the stars have gone from sartorially eccentric to sophisticated.

This story first appeared in the Dec. 2 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

As red carpets go, the Globes' fashion gauntlet has historically been livelier and looser than the prim-and-proper Oscar arrivals. Globes-going actresses have broken the mold by wearing emerging or unknown designers, eschewing cumbersome gowns for party-hearty cocktail hemlines, showing scandalous skin and, in some cases, going completely off the grid.

Who can forget Lara Flynn Boyle's pink chiffon tutu by L.A. designer David Cardona in 2003? Or Cameron Diaz -- nominated in 1999 for There's Something About Mary -- strolling down the carpet in a critically panned floral dressing gown? Years earlier, Whoopi Goldberg also made waves when she showed up in a bright yellow tracksuit the night she won for The Color Purple in 1986. And Cher famously wore a skintight shredded mini with mesh stockings when she received her 1984 Globe for Silkwood.

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But the Globes' fashion mood has recently shifted. Nominees like Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, Charlize Theron, Salma Hayek, Cate Blanchett and Reese Witherspoon have upped the designer quotient with made-to-measure gowns by renowned couturiers Valentino, Yves St. Laurent, Chanel, Gucci, Nina Ricci, Dior, Armani Prive and Atelier Versace.

The Globes have now become a critical stop in an Oscar hopeful's campaign for fashion glory: You have to dress like an Oscar winner to become an Oscar winner. This is why the 2012 Globes carpet will feature the latest runway trends -- white, pretty pastel and sorbet hues, fun floral prints, feminine taffeta, tulle, chiffon and lace gowns, demure sleek '20s flapper silhouettes -- and more statement-making couture from A-list designers than you can shake a stiletto at.

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And because the Globes features an entertaining mix of film and TV stars, fashionistas are already looking forward to seeing what TV "It" girls Sofia Vergara and Julie Bowen (Modern Family), Christina Hendricks and January Jones (Mad Men), Claire Danes (Homeland) and Zooey Deschanel (New Girl) will wear to kick off the earliest moment of TV's seven-month long awards season.

But it's this year's photogenic and youthful film ingenues-- Keira Knightley (A Dangerous Method), Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn) and Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) -- who are the anticipated style-setters. Still, let's hope perennial rule-breaker Helena Bonham Carter -- who wore a black lace Vivienne Westwood frock and different colored shoes last year -- will attend this year's Globes and add some classic individuality to the mix.