If Oscars were given for fashion...

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There was a time when the annual Oscar red carpet was the place to see the world's most extraordinary actors parading ever more outrageous and exuberant designs.

Back then, the real pleasure was to be had marvelling at the mistakes more than the triumphs. Even movie stars made them: Barbra Streisand flashing her knickers in transparent Arnold Scaasi; Cher in towering feathered Bob Mackie; Bjork in Marjan Pejoski swan dress – complete with giant egg. That, perhaps sadly, is the case no longer.

The odd self-consciously maverick style statement aside – Helena Bonham Carter, anyone? – Hollywood's great and good are now in the thrall of the celebrity stylist. It's their job to ensure that such mishaps no longer happen and, on the occasion of Sunday's 83rd Academy Awards opening ceremony, they'd done their job well. True, the proceedings became more try-hard as the evening progressed: a pair of grown men (Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin) in identical white ties made an appearance and so too did James Franco in full drag, along with co-host Anne Hathaway. For the most part, though, any big entrance dressing was a more well-mannered affair than that.

As we hand out our own awards, it's left to Gwyneth Paltrow to neatly sum up the prevailing mood. "I would say on a night like tonight not to go too far into the avant-garde," Gwyneth Paltrow told ABC reporters on the red carpet.

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