Oscars 2014 red carpet: Lupita Nyong'o, Sandra Bullock and more stand-outs

Cate Blanchett arrives for the Oscars on March Cate Blanchett arrives for the Oscars on March 2, 2014 at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, Calif. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Christopher Polk

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By all accounts this year's Oscar race was among the tightest ever, but when it came to fashion, there were obvious and early runaways.

All eyes were on fashion darling Lupita Nyong'o and she did not disappoint in an ethereal pleated Prada (the color, she said, reminded her of Nairobi) with a plunging neckline and flecked with silver "inspired by Champagne bubbles."

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Sandra Bullock did blue, too, hers a curve-hugging Alexander McQueen . . . impeccable. Amy Adams strutted in bold, structured cobalt Gucci couture. Jennifer Lawrence, who took another fall on the red carpet, laughed it off in cheery red Dior with side peplums.

But mostly, shades of pale were everywhere -- perhaps a bit subdued for the occasion -- though Cate Blanchett's mega-embellished Armani Privé and Naomi Watts' icy Calvin Klein were stellar. In matching blush tones -- Jessica Biel wearing Chanel Couture, Sally Hawkins in beaded Valentino and Sarah Paulson in Elie Saab Couture, along with Camila Alves donning what seemed like bolts of pink -- were pretty, but a tad overwhelming.

Some of the best gowns were black, notably Charlize Theron in a drop-dead Dior with invisible straps. Julia Roberts redeemed herself from past red carpet sins in a pretty, lacy Givenchy, while saucy Anna Kendrick's J. Mendel was a little tough and a bit girlie. Olivia Wilde, very pregnant, looked smashing in black-and-white Valentino. And speaking of pregnant, Kerry Washington stunned in Jason Wu's sarong of silky purple.

Black tuxes seemed just a bit passé -- Ryan Seacrest, Jared Leto (hair flowing) and Matthew McConaughey wore white dinner jackets, and plenty of the guys did navy, Kevin Spacey and Leonardo DiCaprio included. Then there was Pharrell Williams, who left his Mountie hat at home, and part of his pants. He wore Lanvin shorts.

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