Hollywood's leading ladies were working off the same page as they picked their all-important Oscar gowns. This year's key trend was the off-the-shoulder gown, which proved an elegant choice for a host of style-conscious celebrities. Two-time best actress winner Hilary Swank worked the asymmetric look in black Atelier Versace, while Bond girl Rosamund Pike opted for a Roland Mouret design in pale primrose.
Best supporting actress nominee Amy Ryan looked classic in a Calvin Klein midnight blue affair while both Katherine Heigl and Anne Hathaway plumped for one-shoulder dresses in sizzling scarlet by Escada and Marchesa respectively.
If they weren't one-shouldered, the rest of the gowns were predominantly strapless. Beach babe Cameron Diaz led the way in a feminine Dior by John Galliano creation, while Amy Adams vamped it up Veronica Lake-style in emerald green Proenza Schouler. John Travolta's wife Kelly Preston pushed the boat out in a rich orange, strapless Roberto Cavalli number and Renee Zellweger shimmered through the night in silver sequined Carolina Herrera.
Queen of the night was, of course, best actress Marion Cotillard. The French beauty stole the show in a Jean-Paul Gaultier custom-made fishtail gown accessorised with Chopard jewels. She wasn't the only one adopting the modern mermaid look. Laura Linney had chosen a flattering fishtail silhouette - by Michael Kors - as had Jennifer Garner.
Another of the key trends on the night – which, unlike previous years, featured very few fashion disasters – was flower appliqué and feathers. Penelope Cruz's Chanel Haute Couture gown was feather trimmed, while Jessica Alba also sported plumage on her romantic Marchesa gown. Adding to the romaqnce of the red carpet were Hilary Swank's Versace dress and Anne Hathaway's Marchesa design, both of which featured beautiful fabric flowers.
As always there were glamorous curls and up-dos on display. The surprise look, however, was the ponytail which enjoyed an elegant makeover. Cameron Diaz, teen star Miley Cyrus and Becoming Jane star Anne all adopted the youthful style.