Oscars Fug(ish) Carpet: Octavia Spencer

You guys know how great we think Octavia Spencer is. She spent all of last awards season looking amazing, and she was a scream on 30 Rock this season. So I want the best for her. Sadly, although I don’t think this is a complete strike out, I fear she’s behind on the count:

When you’re the outgoing Best Supporting Actress, I think you’re in a rough spot. You obviously want to look great, because you are human, and an actor. But you also, if you are a smart and sensitive person, you realize that this evening is not All About You, so you want to have the glam turned up to only about…say, a nice strong 7. How do you manage to juggle Fantastic with Not Making It All About You? I don’t know (which is one of the many reasons I am not a stylist, which has got to be a really hard job). And I think this is really close, but perhaps not completely on target. It’s drifting down from a 7 and closer to a 5, and a 5 is not good enough for Octavia Spencer.

[Photos: Getty]

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Comments (92):

  1. Kristina

    If this had been a jewel tone, I think it would have rocked the house.

  2. Sarah

    No. I think she looks great.

  3. Erin

    I object!! I think she looks fantastic. I agree, a little color would have been nice, but it fits, it flatters her figure — two out of three ain’t bad. If only she could introduce Melissa McCarthy to her stylist…

  4. Lizzy

    I think it’s a pretty dress on her, but I wish it had been in a color. She looks so good in purples and blues it seems a shame to be in a bland ivory frock that is so similar to all of the other bland ivory/silver/pale pink frocks.

    • LouLou

      I actually like that this was in a neutral shade, because it was a departure for her. I think this was one of those dresses where the colour is just right for the style, and it wouldn’t have worked in another shade.

  5. Michelle

    I have to respectfully disagree, ladies; I think she looked wonderful in this.

    • lor

      Yep, I concur. WAY better than a 5. I thought she looked absolutely lovely, and in fact this is one of my favorite outfits she’s ever worn.

  6. Edith

    I have to disagree – this dress is doing spectacular things with her figure, or her figure is doing spectacular things to this dress. In any case, Dress! Figure! SPECTACULAR!

  7. Francesca

    Well, it was an evening of neutrals and metallic, so she didn’t stray far from the crowd. I think she quite pretty in this, but I still can’t shake the vibe that she just didn’t seem happy to be there.

  8. Callie

    I think this is lovely, though it’d be better in a colour. I feel like I’m thinking that about every dress this year though. Where’s the colour?! Seriously. Still, I think she looks very beautiful, if not very dramatic.

  9. Ana_Ranjado

    I think the color is a little meh on her- but OH, the fit! Her stylist is earning that paycheck. Octavia always looks incredible.

  10. Alessandra

    I think the bodice fits her very well and the texture of it gives it something special. The color isn’t too bad actually. She DOES look good in purples but she can’t wear that for the rest of her life! And I think the off-the-shoulder part looks quite nice on her! She looks fabulous!

    This picture is tricking me though, looks like those lights are really a giant bow in her hair and it’s throwing me off!

  11. BrownEyedBetty

    I gotta say this was one of my favorites of the night. The cut is feminine, flattering, even a little bit frothy with that gorgeous tulle around her neck. Love that it’s asymmetrical..a nice twist. The beading detail showed up when the camera skimmed her as she walked out. OooAhh… And the color against her skin: sublime!

    What was it you didn’t like about it, in particular? You didn’t say….

    • AmandaD

      I agree, one of my favorites as well.

    • Jessica

      I think it’s incredibly matronly and the color is really really boring. She looks like a well-fitted mother of the bride.

      • Kate

        Yessssssssss! I think people are inclined to give her a pass because she is not stick thin, so they feel bad saying anything negative – if the dress fits at all, people tend to rave. However, she can and has looked better than this. This is boring and matronly. Sure, her figure looks mostly flattered (don’t love the balance of the shawl thing up top, personally), but that should not be the only criteria for her, just like it’s not for the more “typical” Hollywood bodies.

      • Steph

        Hrm.. I think that in a jewel tone it might have veered to mother of the bride, but in this colour it’s gorgeous.

  12. Lexi

    i don’t love where the bodice ends, and color would have been lovely. Overall Its Meh.

    • Julie

      I think that might be my only issue with this dress, as well – the bodice does end in a really weird place on her hips. (I wonder what it would have looked like with the beaded part going all the way down, instead of making the skirt tulle?) Otherwise I think it’s beautiful.

  13. Leigh

    This photo proves that her outfit would have been improved ten-fold with the addition of glowing cat-ears.

  14. sarah

    absolutely agree with the commenters – i thought she looked gorgeous! in fact, while looking through slideshows this morning i decided she was probably my third best dressed (behind stacy kiebler and naomi watts). i DO think it looked better on the telecast than in pictures, but i still say she looks fantastic and it was super flattering on her.

    • BrownEyedBetty

      I agree. The photo does not do this dress justice….either in the color or the detail on the bodice. And, BTW, her hair and makeup are perfecto. Such a beautiful woman.

  15. gin_in_teacups

    She looks great! I totally love the fit of this on her. My one quibble would be the color. I really liked a lot of the paler dresses this year, but Octavia’s is the one I would have most like to see in a real standout color.

  16. Cris

    I feel like I would have liked this more in a different color. Maybe a midnight blue or aubergine. But I love Octavia, so no hate.

  17. Bella

    Ones of my favorites. When I saw her, I thought she looked beautiful. The dress accents her figure well.

    • LawyaGal

      Agreed. I think it’s just dramatic enough but not too showy. The fit is fabulous and her hair and makeup are great. A jewel tone would have been incredible, but this is more understated.

  18. greatwhitenorthchick

    I think she among the best-dressed; she’s lovely.

  19. Mrs. Ditter

    I’m wishing she’d had this dress in emerald green, but oh my gosh–the fit, the fashion, the freaking beauty of her. She looks amazing.

  20. Mary

    Passionately disagree! This was one of my top three gowns of the night! My only disagreement was the color. A nice coral would have made me swoon even more, but as it was, I gasped when I saw this. Lovely, lovely.

  21. mollie

    I’m just happy that those are lights positioned behind her head and not some sort of unfortunate Minnie Mouse bow.

  22. Ann

    She looks like a delicious meringue! Two sugary thumbs up!

  23. TaraMisu

    Oh I think this is lovely!! Just lovely. She is in my top 5 best dressed, the cut suits her figure and while the color is wan, it manages to look really good on her. WELL DONE!

  24. Mongerel

    Drifting down from a 7 and closer to a 5?!? Oh man, I strongly disagree. It makes her a beautiful hourglass with its perfect fit, it looks soft as a dream, and I love the clutch. I think she struck the perfect balance.

  25. Christy

    I really have to disagree. I think the dress is beautiful and classic and ultra-flattering. I covet her shoulders/collarbones. She looks absolutely perfect. I can’t find anything wrong with this. What’s the objection?

  26. Lyg

    I thought this was more proof that she has an innate sense of style and of what flatters herself. She looks gorgeous!

  27. Maisie

    Wow, I’m shocked at your assessment, Jessica! As soon as Octavia came onto my screen, I smiled and said aloud, “She looks absolutely gorgeous! A fabulous dress for a fabulous woman!”

  28. Ellie

    You are SO wrong about this. She looks fantastic.

  29. maryse

    i liked this dress a lot and i thought she looked stunning.

  30. Nathalie

    I think she looks amazing!

  31. Elle

    Au contraire! She looks spectacularly lovely!!! And the color against her skin tone and dark hair is particularly wonderful!

  32. Camille

    I actually thought she looked gorgeous. A different color would have been spectacular but this color is still very flattering and she looked incredibly classy and I felt like the cut was figure flattering.

  33. Squirrel!

    That is all.

  34. ginny

    Surprised at this one. I thought she was a best-dressed top 3. stunning, perfect for her figure, flawless.

  35. Esme

    Nah–it’s a 5.

  36. Mare

    I just saw the top half of this last night while she was presenting, and I thought she looked great. My top five.

  37. Lauren

    I thought she looked fantastic.

  38. Charlotte

    I guess I’m in the minority, but…I don’t care for this. If Jennifer Lawrence’s dress was bridal, then this dress is “Mother of the” Bridal. (If, you know, your mom was a jerk who wore [near] white to your wedding.)

    At least the fit is great. Why can’t Christina Hendricks get it right like this?

  39. Eli

    I thought she looked fabulous. Melissa McCarthy should take a master class from her on how to dress when you are curvy.

    • Kate

      To be fair, Melissa McCarthy’s body has a very different shape, and I think is probably a lot harder to dress.

  40. Sajorina

    This is a Well Played for me! I think she looks FABULOUS! I get what you’re saying about turning it down a notch, but Meryl didn’t do it either, so I say WIN!!!

  41. Kate

    Good grief, I saw it from further away and thought she was wearing a crazy Mini Mouse bow on her head!

  42. Helen

    On her, the pale color works, and it’s great from mid-hip on up. It’s just the skirt… if the textured bodice fabric continued down to ankle-length, and stayed fitted down the hips and legs, with a modest slit on one side so she could walk comfortably, this would be positively socko.

  43. Frances

    Gorgeous, just gorgeous. And even if there were a lot of neutral colour gowns there, she’s working the cream colour much better than 99% of the others. I think she nailed it.

  44. JillC

    I thought she looked AMAZING, so much so that I said it over and over again to my bored boyfriend. One of the best of the night!

  45. leah


    • Jessica

      Girl, calm down.

      • Kate

        Dang, as I keep scrolling down this thread, I just cannot understand all the extreme love for this dress. I, too, keep thinking, “calm down!”

        Again, I think people tend to give actresses without supermodel measurements too much of a pass. This is a beautiful woman with a great body and shape – she doesn’t have to dress like a mother of the bride (as we know from past events). Just thought the whole look was boring and only somewhat flattering – and I’m usually pretty much in the majority on this site. Ah well.

  46. Katie

    I disagree. She was one of the very very few that I thought “YES”. She looks amazing. Def top 3 of the night.

  47. Tiffany

    I think she looks great. Not my favorite, but definitely beautiful.

  48. Gigi

    I thought this was a wonderful nod to Audrey Hepburn: the heavy bangs and chiffon bodice shawl thinggie. Classic 60s chic. And chocolate skin almost always does bridal-adjacent better anyways.

  49. Sylvia

    I love that she’s loyal to her designer and that he makes her look fantastic. I admit I’m comparing this to last year, but as you said, it was her night last year. She isn’t a 10, but I think she’s a bit higher than 5. I think this is 7 material, especially when you look at last night as a whole. And going along with my beef for the whole night, more color. I would’ve given this a 9 or 10 with more color.

    I will say, this looked awesome on television. I think it doesn’t photograph as well (Cher Horowitz, Polaroids DO lie), but she was gracious and she’s still making awesome films. So, yeah, I’m okay with this. Not blown away, but okay with it.

  50. Olivia

    I think she looks gorgeous- the fit is perfect and while the color could have been punchier, she looks radiant. Melissa McCarthy needs to take notes from her, and also get with her stylist because this is how beautiful, curvy women do it.

  51. jen

    I think she looks beautiful! A little bridal, but beautiful. Gorgeous fit on her.

  52. Eirwen

    The fit is great but the lower half looks synthetic, flammable and cheap but the top half is good. An emerald green would be awesome on her. Forget dialling back to 7 -go full 10! Or 11 if you’re channeling Spinal Tap. It’s the freakin Oscars!

  53. Ellelake

    She is lovely in this dress.

  54. Audrey Jo


    Now, seriously, Octavia: the BANGS NEED TO GO.

  55. patricia

    I voted this one of my top looks of the night. It looked fantastic in the stage lights!

  56. Girl in Sydney

    Good to see so many positive comments. This woman pretty much rocks everything.

    Actually this is the one time I don’t mind ivory at all.

  57. LouLou

    I’m joining the ‘disagree’ chorus on this one. She looks as stellar here as she did throughout her triumphant run on all of last season’s red carpets. MAYBE, if I had to pick a nit, the bottom could be a bit less froufy, but the draping and beading on the top half is just lovely and balances it. And, as always with this lady, the fit is perfection. Someone please hook up Melissa McCarthy with Octavia’s stylist!

  58. Ashes

    I thought the lights behind her head were a giant bow at first. When I found out they weren’t, I was so relieved I had to love the dress, out of sheer relief.

  59. Jane

    She is an authority on how to dress a plus-sized body in order to look fan-freaking-tastic. She should offer her consulting services to the hapless Melissa McCarthy (who I love but, come on – a grey Hefty bag??).

  60. FuginB'ham

    I have to disagree. When I first saw a picture of this, I thought the color was amazing on her and I love what it does for her figure. Which surprises me because She may be the first person I thought looked good in that style dress since 1989.

  61. j

    Are you nuts? This was one of the night’s best outfits, she looks positively stunning, as always

  62. bmj

    It’s just a bit too Glinda the Good Witch for me. Too much tulle, not enough cool.

  63. Nancy

    I think she looks lovely, for the record.

    I also think that the expression on her face is one of discomfort. It was with Octavia Spencer in mind that I commented about Melissa McCarthy’s grey dress. I recall thinking how wonderful Octavia looked last year. Then I recalled seeing an interview with in which she commented that she was so uncomfortable in her multiple layers of Spanx that she couldn’t enjoy the event at all.

    So, on the one hand, celebrities at this level just need to deal with it and walk the red carpet and look fab (according to our prevailing standards of “fab”) even if they’re crying on the inside. On the other hand, maybe we should cut them a break sometimes and expand our own horizons of “fabness”?

  64. Beth

    5?? You are crazy! This is one of the best shes ever looked on a red carpet!

  65. luxsword

    It’s a FAB !

  66. Chrissy

    I LOVE this. I think she looks great. She looked great last year, but she looks much younger this year. This is one of my favorites.