Oscars 2015 Makeup: Who Got It Right (And Who Got It Wrong)

Waking up on a Monday morning to photos of what actresses wore to the Oscars the night before has to be an official cure for the Monday Blues, right? The dresses! The jewellery!!Hair and makeup-wise there were some clear trends this year, the big focus being on the eyes (more to follow in another post). But for now, let’s see who wore it well and who not so much..


Natalie Portman at Oscars 2015
Natalie Portman at the Vanity Fair after party 2015


Part One: The Winners
Ballet Chic

Can this woman do no wrong? Everything about this look is simply divine, from her barely contoured skin to the natural (powdered?) brow. I particularly love the combination of mocha smokey eye – the perfect backdrop to her luminous brown eyes – and that shade of pale pink.

Why a bold lip wouldn’t have worked

It can be tempting when wearing a white, cream or black dress to opt for a bold red, fuchsia or burgundy lip but Natalie’s makeup artist here has clearly chosen to allow the makeup to play second fiddle to those statement earrings (designed by Eddie Borgo according to housemate Sal). Absolute perfection.


Cate Blanchett in black dress at oscars
The dazzling Cate wearing Tiffany


The Queen Of Understated Beauty

If I could hope to look like anyone when I’m older it would have to be Cate Blanchett (or Meryl….we love you Meryl!!). Not only is Cate simply a sensational actress (if you haven’t seen Blue Jasmine WATCH IT) but she always seems to strike the right balance, never appearing too young for her age.

Her makeup this year was no exception. Achingly subtle, with a softly defined bronzed eye to off-set those aquamarine eyes, a wash of peach blush and a sheer (is that a hint of tangerine?) lip. Notice the distinct lack of contouring here (one of this year’s notable trends). Could we be experiencing a contouring backlash now the rest of the world has caught up with the trend? Hmm…


Dakota Johnson in red dress at Oscars


Fifty Shades Of Red

Who’s seen 50 Shades? (dying to see it). Regardless how the film fares at the box office lead actress Dakota Johnson’s look is a winner for me. A matte red lip would have been wrong here. By contrast, a slightly glossy sheen perfectly off-sets the matte fabric (velvet?) of her asymmetrical gown. Notice too yet another warm, coppery brown smokey eye (there were countless this year).

Not sure about the hair though with this look… it’s a little too ‘just popping to the gym’. I would have preferred to see a braided up-do with a slightly neater, glossier fringe. @WilliamHunt, what say you?


Chloe Moretz at Oscars 2015


Part Two: The Losers
Be Brow-Wary (not Brow Scary)

I hate to say it because I think the gown, the centre parting and the cuff (oh the cuff) work beautifully together but the brows are simply too distracting. A strong brow can be gloriously feminine but a brow that looks as if it could also be moonlighting as a fake moustache is in dire need of some strategic ‘balancing out’.

If you have naturally bushy or thicker brows opt for powder instead of a pencil and avoid any harsh lines. My favourite brow brush is Illamasqua’s Angled Brush (£19).



Zoe Saldana in pink dress at Oscars


When ‘Nude’ Is Too Nude

Nude dresses stole the show at the 87th Academy Awards but Zoe Saldana, although naturally stunning, ran the risk of looking a bit ill due to the lack of colour in her makeup. If she’d been wearing a block colour dress that ‘popped’ then the makeup would have contrasted beautifully. This makes me wonder whether it’s not the particular nude shade of the fabric that’s the issue here (something warmer perhaps to compliment her warm skin tone?).

Makeup-wise would have opted for a slightly stronger eye (a subtle wash of shimmery emerald over the eyes perhaps?) or a warmer lip. A pop of matte fuchsia would have worked beautifully here or a glossy russet.


Viola Davis in pink dress at Oscars


Shimmer At Your Peril

It pains me to say it because Viola is yet another glorious example of acting royalty but this look fails on two counts for me. Firstly, the lashes: these are far too up-turned and spidery. A natural, curved lash would have worked better here. Secondly, the use of illuminating products blended down the centre of her face make her look shiny rather than ‘lit from within’. 

Always apply illuminisers or radiance products to the outer high points of the face (think cheekbones and just above the temples). If you’re a shimmer-virgin MAC Strobe Cream is fabulous when thinly patted over the top of your foundation (cheekbones only).

Body Makeup

We can see in the above shot that Viola’s clearly had some kind of cream applied to her arms and shoulders. It probably lent her skin an ethereal sheen in the flesh but appears silvery and fake under flash photography (Brides, take note).

Beware too of opting for a foundation which competes with the skin tone of the rest of your body (notice how Kat Dennings’ foundation here is slightly too yellow compared to her arms).

So those for me were the stand out dos and don’ts from this year’s most famous red carpet. What was your favourite makeup look from this year’s Oscars? Anything you’d like to try out yourself? I’ll be having a play with a bronzed smokey eye that’s for sure!

Photography credit: All images Getty unless otherwise stated

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