Ah, the SAG Awards, where people momentarily stop pretending they’re here for anyone but the actors! Hilariously, that takes less acting than normal for them. Life is complicated.
This year’s SAGs also got the memo about No Necklaces, which saved it from an awkward social situation in which the SAGs show up at a garden party and the Golden Globes and the Oscars suddenly pretend they have eye ache from the sun and disappear inside without even saying hello.
This time, there’s no look of the night because it would be a four-way tie and this is more a super-congratulatory dinner party Oscar preview than a heavy-duty red carpet, so let’s just dive in.
SO GREAT DIVISION
Rita Moreno. I literally clapped at my desk when I saw this picture. Proceed, madam. ProCEED.
Lupita Nyong’o, who is making this year’s red carpets for me. Fantastic color, simple cut, interesting but not overwhelming statement detail. I love it. (P.S. She won the well-deserved Best Supporting Actress award and I really hope that’s the tipoff for Oscar gold this year.)
Helen Mirren, human wizard, who has to be kidding me with how she looks all the time. I kind of cackled that her polite smiles have given way to a certain “I KNOW, RIGHT?” glee about her fantastic getups.
Cate Blanchett, who if you’re wondering can actually, literally, wear a sequined napkin and look fantastic. (She was in fine form, calling out both a creeper camera and the music playing her off, but the moment of the night for me was one of the surveillance-cam shots when someone called her name and she turned around and went from a normal human face to Movie Star Face and it literally looked like a magic trick.
But really, this was a good red carpet for pretty much everybody, so we’ll just cut straight through the crowd. You’ll know when we get to the questionable ones..
Amy Adams, looking amazing in a full-on Old Hollywood getup in cobalt while still managing some sci-fi asymmetry up top.
Emilia Clarke is not part of the upper echelons of the best-dressed (though she looks lovely), but I always appreciate a reminder that a celebrity on the red carpet is supposed to be able to generate casual intensity while pretending that there isn’t an inane interview happening on one side of her as a handler quietly panics a few feet behind her and the glue holding that carpet down doesn’t smell slightly of unidentified swamp gas.
Michelle Dockery, who has returned to the Kind of Baffling side of her stylist’s studio, but who luckily also has that formalwear ennui that means when you tell her, “It’s like a vest on top of a skirt, but instead of a real vest it’s just the peplum part, and instead of a shirt it’s a strip of white fabric,” she nods quietly for a moment says, “Yes, of course, very well,” and ends up knowing how to make that work.
Lena Headey, who purposely wore this dress so you would feel a little dizzy, I bet, and then you might have to try to step aside to avoid it and she’d pretend you stepped on her hem and guilt you into buying her a drink, but you’d end up having a great time playing hooky from everything, and even after her duplicity was revealed, you’d buy her another drink, because clearly she needed a friend enough to put this dress on at all, and sometimes that’s just how friendships begin, you know?
Elisabeth Moss, while trying to decide how to dress in the haze of her win at the Golden Globes, remembered that this color looks good on her but forgot the part where she looks better in dresses that don’t look like they’re making a vertical escape from your torso.
Jennifer Lawrence, in a Dior someone from her team scrounged up that actually suits her style. May that trend continue.
Gwendoline Christie, who looks gorgeous in an understated gown that also illuminates why she wears cocktail length so often, to break up a leg line that otherwise gets so majestic it can look slightly Burtonian on first glance.
Mindy Kaling, who looks lovely in jersey that includes a kicky drape-belt I’m unexpectedly into.
Carice van Houten. This dress is seriously fabulous – the SAGs are a good time to whip out your tea lengths that might look a little underdone at the Globes – and the shoes are the perfect over-the-top detail to keep the simple black looking deliberate.
Emma Thompson, in a dress I’d like to know more about, particularly as we near the hemline area and I have to decide if that’s an artful Poiret pleat or a concession to her flats. (Which, by the way: I am all for flats at any time. Not these flats. But other flats!)
Meryl Streep, who took home a statuette for her performance here in, “What, This Old Thing?” all the way down the red carpet.
Oprah Winfrey, looking awesome. Please note how low she had to adjust her brooch to pacify the No Necklace Council of the Stylist Guild this year.
Laura Carmichael, whose right hip detail is looking much better here than on her last red carpet! I’m really liking her new fondness for clean lines with a single detail; it’s just a matter of the right detail. (Speaking of detail, I’m not 100% sold on those shores, but we’re fine.)
Anna Chlumsky, looking good and slightly aggravated to be here, which is sometimes a really solid look. Purse those orangey lips, madam, you’ve earned it.
Juliette Lewis is late to the Grandmother’s Parlor thing, but this dress handles its floral photo print very well and ends up being sort of sweet even with its superdrape neckline, so we’re all still fine.
Sophie Turner, still of the age where you can decide Goth Mermaid Two-Piece is your look for the evening and of course it will work.
Did I purposely label this picture Jenna Maroney? I sure did. Would she be seen in a dress in a flat color that’s neither saturated nor pastel and makes her look weirdly 2D? (I mean, probably, being 2D was Jenna’s dream.)
Julianne Nicholson, who panicked at the last second that her dress wasn’t formal enough, robbed a figure skater of her short-program costume for Nationals, and draped it as best she could.
Tina Fey, in a great dress and Nope hair, with daughter Alice, lookin’ cool.
Sandra Bullock. What a great color! What an ’80s bow! What interesting lines! What negotiations just to sit down!
Julia Roberts, who looks so excited because she has a secret: her outfit is in fact a pantsuit! More power to it. Literally; the detail on the bodice looks like she’s a disgraced X-Man (Aurora Dawn) just waiting for her call to leap into the pages of a mid-’80s comic and fight everybody. Archenemy: Dazzler.
Natalie Dormer, not quite getting there in her Natalie Dormer way. Love the hair, love the dress, have questions about the shelf liner sleeve action.
Mayim “Did Somebody Say 80s?” Bialik, in a dress lifted directly from the set of the episode of Dr. Quinn where they go to the fancy party.
Kerry Washington is allowed to wear whatever she wants. I am allowed to think she has made a questionable choice, particularly with the beaded top that’s actually slit up the sides a little, so she’s essentially wearing a jeweled cape with all the hassle of underarm scratchies when she could have just committed to a dual-cape design and been done with it if she wanted me to be utterly flummoxed by her outfit.
Amanda Peet, who is wearing a sartorial interpretation of “taking one for the team.”
And Rose Leslie, who had to invent an entirely new team so she could go and take this for them. That takes dedication, Rose. I’ll give you that.