Oscars Well Played: Jessica Chastain


well-played

In which we throw our hands skyward and shout, “FINALLY.”

[Photos: Getty]

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Comments (98):

  1. Lina
    0

    This is possibly the best she’s ever looked. Hurray for getting her clothes that fit her shape and hair that works in proportion to the dress. The colors are even good, and while I’m not a fan of giant arrows pointing up toward women’s crotches, that part of the embroidery isn’t bothering me THAT much. Definitely a win. The black suit is also good, ignoring the shoes, and the pink is interesting if not quite there. Possibly a different bra would have made a huge difference. I wonder if she got a new stylist or a new tailor or both?

  2. neiges
    0

    Sorry to disagree, but the oscar dress is just some fancy golden vomit for me.
    On the other hand, I think that the second outfit solved the mystery for me (if you kindly choose not to notice the horrid shoes) : she is trying to pull a sweet redhead (like her character in Tree of Life) but she is a fierce, angular, avantgardist redhead.
    I am not saying Swintonian – that’s impossible – but à la Cate Blanchett…
    Really, I assure you, I saw something there.

    • Pink Coat
      0

      I’m not sorry neiges, the Oscar dress looks like a horrid gold butterfly stuck on some black velvet or something. Ugly Ugly Yuck!

      • Softwear
        0

        Yeah, it’s just okay. I don’t like the pelvic adornment, really. The embroidery is beautiful, but the shape of it all over her pelvis area is just meh. And her hair is meh. But in the pink dress she looks fab!!! I actually agree with neiges. She WANTS to be Angie Everhart (well. Who wouldn’t???). But she’s Cate Blanchett. (Jessica – that’s not a bad thing! Just embrace it).

    • AK
      0

      The Oscar dress looks like it’s missing its matching masquerade ball mask.

      Her face and hair look incredible — and based on her interviews she’s great and charming — but I don’t think that the “fancy golden vomit” is doing her figure any favors.

  3. Lisa
    0

    Yay! The Fug Girls post-game analysis has started.

    She looks fab, love the dress, it’s absolutely gorgeous and it’s Not Nude (take note Kristin Wiig who looked meh).

  4. Ariel
    0

    A+ all around for the Oscar dress, don’t think she could have done a better job. The other two are a bit business-caszh, but in the cutest way possible.

  5. Emmy
    0

    This was my favorite look of the night. I actually though of y’all when I saw it, imagining your glee. Well done, Chastain.

  6. Anj
    0

    I think she was definitely the best dressed at the Oscar’s. Not many people seemed to bring their A game but she blew it out of the park! This is quintessential McQueen.
    Her skirt suit on the other hand is unforgivable. It looks like an everyday office suit that isn’t really doing anything for her. I just feel like there are so many suits out there; why this one??

    • Stefanie
      0

      I agree! I was a little underwhelmed last night!

      • Michelle
        0

        This is EXACTLY how I felt! Yes, this dress is lovely… but for it to have been the best says a lot about the level of fashion last night. It’s… I don’t know… safe? It’s black and gold, classic shape, some interesting detailing I suppose but… I really wish there had been some major star power and fashion credibility to liven up the night.

  7. Stefanie
    0

    I REALLY REALLY like this. She looks great.

    (And even though someone jumped up my ass on the live blog last night about comparing them, it still reminds me of the dress Beyonce wore to the Met ball last year. Don’t get me wrong, this is the (way) better version. )

    • billie
      0

      Thank you!! I was just coming to say this! This dress totally reminded me of the dress Beyonce wore … that she couldn’t walk the stairs alone in because it was so tight. Jessica’s is much better, but they are still similar to me. Glad I’m not the only one!

      • witjunkie
        0

        Yes, my first thought was the Beyonce vase dress. I like this OK but I think the gold bit goes too far down the hips. Or something. Like she’s not quite tall enough.

    • Chasmosaur
      0

      Was I the jumpee? I didn’t mean to.

      I just wanted to pull out a link to the dress and point out that while Beyonce’s Pucci was gold on black, that’s about where the comparison stops.

      Many designers over the years have put gold thread to black fabric. This one is far more awesome than Beyonce’s, too-tight-to-take-the-stairs fish-tail.

      I was watching the red carpet while hacking up a lung. Makes my typing a bit terse.

  8. Dru
    0

    Honestly, all I could feel last night was relief that she finally – FINALLY! – chose a dress that did justice to her beauty. She already brought it once before at the BAFTAs so we knew she was capable, but last night was just as lovely (and ALL THE THUMBS UP FOR CHOOSING MCQUEEN, she wore the hell out of it instead of letting it wear her).

    • Dani
      0

      Totally agree. And for once her makeup and hair was flawless. Lately I have felt like those things have been letting her down, but this just makes her skin glow. She looks absolutely radiant.

  9. Sara
    0

    Wow. I agree that this dress is NOT good. It looks cheap. Like an Oscar de la Rente (sp?) that I had for my Barbie’s back in the early 80′s. Yuck!

    • Kit
      0

      I agree, and yet, ironically – apparently, there were something like 2 million dollars worth of diamonds and real gold on that thing. Ugh.

  10. Sarah
    0

    I am so happy to see a strapless dress that fits through the boobs and doesn’t look like it needs to be hiked up two inches.

  11. CJ
    0

    I thought the Oscar night McQueen was gorgeous. I’m not crazy about how it cuts her off midboob — is it a seam? a break in the beadwork? an actual hard corset piece overlapping her boob? Whatever it is, it should have been an inch or two lower. It doesn’t ruin it for me — she looks quite beautiful — but it does distract me.

    Also, in the red carpet clip I saw, she looked quite thin. Shockingly so for someone who looks in dress after dress on this site…well..kind of thick in her middle, even up until last week. Either she has been doing Master Cleanse and has dropped a lot of weight in the last few days or her stylist has a really bad tendency to choose matronly stuff for Miss Jessica that does not flatter her in her midsection. Not my favorite look from Oscar night, but she picked a winner that flatters her. What I would give to see that embroidery up close!

    On another note: It’s really easy to sit here at my desk (in my husband’s pj bottoms and a t-shirt with my hair still unbrushed) and critique. It’s quite another thing to do the grand awards show season circuit for the first time. I mean, it doesn’t seem that long ago that we saw her at Cannes promoting Tree of Life and everyone was asking, “Who is Jessica Chastain?” Remember how she looked at Cannes when she was holding hands with Brad Pitt and I can’t remember who and she looked TERRIFIED and it almost seemed like Brad and the other person were practically holding her up? I’m sure it is thrilling to be working on top tier projects and getting recognition, but personally, I don’t think I could do the publicity these actors and actresses do. One 3-minute turn on a red carpet with flashbulbs going off and dozens of people calling my name and I would probably pass out and have to be in a dark room for 2 days with my migraine medicine. So, at the same time that it is easy to say how this wasn’t a good choice or that needed a 2nd fitting, I really hand it to all these actresses (especially the newbies like Jessica and Rooney Mara) that they can take it all in stride and look as put together as they do, event after event. And they both looked beautiful and quite happy on Oscar Night.

  12. CJ
    0

    Oh, jeez, I did it again. Sorry so long.

  13. me
    0

    The Oscars look was certainly the best…but I liked it only neck up! Her face – so fresh and beautiful, hair a little messy but there was method in the mess…which is exactly what that gown is – a mess! It was just too much for me, the gold heavy brocade so much of it…didn’t work for me! Btw, thoroughly enjoyed your comments over at Vulture last night thank you!

    • mepe
      0

      This! Her face and hair looked absolutely gorgeous but the dress is SO heavy. It’s not bad but it’s not quite right either.

  14. Annie E
    0

    On top of everything that’s already been said about how great this is, I just love that it fits and is flattering. My boyfriend was practically having a meltdown last night over her apparent weight loss, but I don’t think she stopped eating before the awards – she just got a dress that fits perfectly and shows off her figure and collarbones!

  15. Béa
    0

    I don’t like the dress either. It looks stuffy and meh and wrong on her. I don’t think it goes with her skin tone and hair color. Speaking of her hair, it looks, uh, bad. I mean even I can do better in 15 minutes. It certainly could have been worse but if this is her best then she’s got a long way to go yet…

    • Lindy
      0

      I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her hair! I can’t believe you don’t like it. It’s so flattering and soft. Also adore the dress.

  16. Sajorina
    0

    Thank you!!! I LOVE & WANT THIS! That dress is a work of art… Oh, the exquisite gold detail! I’m in love with it! Her hair & makeup are flawless (I would seriously like to employ whoever does her eyeliner to do mine for the rest of my life because those lines are perfect)! And, I love the jewelry & the nailpolish! I wish I could see her shoes… FAB! It’s a WIN for Chastain!

  17. Fiona
    0

    Totally agree about the ‘all four cards’ things. My eyes just keeping going from dress to hair to makeup and back because they ALL look SO great!

  18. Jill
    0

    Her makeup and hair looked great FINALLY. In my opinion, she gets her hair wrong so many times. She really looks best with her red tresses flowing and natural. And her makeup didn’t look washed out. Now the dress….it fit her perfectly and like someone else said, it supported her nicely and didn’t look like it was going to fall down any second. The colors are odd but she just looked so damn good I overlooked it.

  19. maryse
    0

    she looked so pretty. i may not have loved the dress but the overall effect was excellent.

  20. bdecked
    0

    The first thing I thought when I saw this dress was “Add a black veil, and she looks like a Victorian-era queen in mourning.” It’s so heavy and depressing. And I have to agree with Bea… My hair can look like that in 5 minutes. Overall, props for doing something different, but I just don’t care for this.

  21. ellenderavenous
    0

    Fug Girls, we’re at odds. It fits well and it’s not BAD but I’m not breaking into a sweat over it or anything. She looks… nice. Kinda pretty. A little on the Faberge egg side of things for my tastes.

    I’m sad that y’all are going crazy for this but are going to pan Michelle W. I thought she looked so beautiful last night.

    It hurts when we don’t see eye to eye like this.

    • GFY Heather
      0

      We’re just two people — we don’t expect everyone to agree with us!

      • ellenderavenous
        0

        It hurts, I say!

      • GingerLover
        0

        I think I agree, JC just nails the look so well. It’s VERY costume-y yes (and it’s also a very Oscar-y dress), but her hair is nice, she needs so little makeup, expertly applied, and she is owning that muther! And no one made the mistake of wearing it in the year Black Swan was nominated.
        It’s a win.

  22. Allyangel
    0

    See, this is where I call B.S. On ANYONE else I really feel like you girls would say that the big lump of gold embroidery is too heavy and looks like some growth crawling down her bodice and stumpifying her. Just because its not as bad as her other dresses doesn’t mean it’s good.

    • Miss Tee
      0

      TRUTH! Preach, girl! ;)

      • GFY Heather
        0

        I disagree, actually. I’m pretty sure of my own mind. And since we’re very honest when we’re letting personal bias creep into our posts — see Emma Stone, in which I note liking her almost talked me into the dress — I’d have mentioned that.

      • GFY Heather
        0

        Er, not that this whole SITE isn’t our personal bias — it is — but you know what I mean.

    • Mair Mair
      0

      This.

  23. Floss
    0

    I do love it, and think it’s the best she’s looked all season – but am I the only one distracted by armpit boobs? The top of the dress cuts into her in a way that makes her flesh bulge over the top around her armpits, and she’s not fleshy enough for that to be OK. Just half an inch lower, or cut lower in that area, and we’d be properly in business.

    • What what
      0

      YES. The weird armpit thing was all I could see during any of her red carpet interviews.

  24. Miss Tee
    0

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that thought this dress was bad. It looks like old drapes. Gross old heavy drapes.

  25. Eva
    0

    I think the dress is absolutely beautiful and she looks stunning in it. Almost without a doubt, my favourite of the night by far. If I could nitpick, I’d probably ask for more lip colour. Other than that, perfect. I would love it for myself (if I were ever invited to the oscars and such :)

  26. vandalfan
    0

    I adore this elegant, dressy, formal, and was surprised to hear of those who didn’t care for it. Now, I think Jessica’s bete noir is her usually lifeless, fine hair, and lack of proper makeup, specifically eyebrows. Here, she’s got it all going.

    (And I’m so impressed that the Fug Gals actually worked with my hero Joan F’ing Rivers and loved her, too.)

  27. ok
    0

    I also respectfully disagree on the dress, at least on her. She’s a lightweight, personality wise…this dress needs someone with some gravitas to lift it into fierce territory. On Jessica, it just looks like heavy outcast from the community theater closet.

    Also, the hair with this dress DOES NOT WORK. She needs some crazy big updo to even attempt to make this work. Again, the demure hair with this dress just shows she wasn’t the person to wear it.

    • Brooke
      0

      Ah, THANK YOU for helping me figure out what was off with this look. You are so right, it’s the personality and the hair. I could not figure out why an otherwise lovely frock just wasn’t working.

  28. Kristan
    0

    She may not have won the Oscar, but she definitely won the night for me. Gorgeous and lovely in every way (clothes, hair/makeup, personality).

  29. Tess
    0

    The fit is great but all it really makes me think is really fancy rug.

  30. Meropi
    0

    I think this dress would look much more appropriate on someone taller with a different hair colour and more extreme appearance. Instead, this way there’s too big a contrast between her youthfulness and openness and the gloominess of the dress.

    • Kris M
      0

      Agreed. I do think the dress is gorgeous, but would have been better on someone with bolder features and colouring.

  31. Pouncer
    0

    I hated her Oscar dress. I can’t even explain why, just that my reaction is an immediate, visceral NO.

  32. La Fifie
    0

    When I saw this I screamed YES, FINALLY – She BROUGHT HER A GAME!!!

  33. Karen
    0

    It’s a really lovely dress and it looks great on her.

    I am so pleased to see that she didn’t go with something belted: a belt makes her look short-waisted and thick. Going with one long flowing line that clings to her body is definitely in her interest.

    • themis
      0

      I agree, her belted dresses make her look a little hippy, which she apparently isn’t -! This was gorgeous and more flattering and she looked relaxed and happy.

  34. Kim
    0

    Oh man. Really? I was really looking forward to your takedown of this one today. Ugh, it’s so Ren Faire.

    Then again, I also thought Rooney Mara was among the best dressed, so my opinion might be broken.

  35. butterfly
    0

    So close and yet so far….her hair and make-up are flawless…I covet that hair color! But the dress…UGH. And ITA on the black sandals in the other pic (black dress is very cute indeed, but those shoes are hideous) I wish she had gone with a flowing green or blue dress….

  36. Valentina
    0

    I loved this look so much that I can’t remember any other dress. I LOVE YOU JESSICA!

  37. Jasmine
    0

    Favorite dress of the night. This was stunning on her, I think I did a little gasp when I saw her walk up to Ryan.

  38. TaraMisu
    0

    Wow this dress is either a love or a hate… nothing in between :D

    I’m in the love column! I think she looks fabulous, finally hit one out of the park, yay!

  39. Annie
    0

    This dress photographs heavy. It had such beautiful movement on the red carpet, very flowing despite the gold detail, and pictures really don’t do it justice IMO. Lovely.

  40. Sarah
    0

    Ew. Hate it. Ugly.

  41. corriner
    0

    BEST DRESSED OF THE NIGHT, HANDS DOWN!!! I

    I ADORE THIS. I WANT THIS.

  42. Jill
    0

    She looked stunning…from the neck up. The dress was ugly and looked like it was punishing her pits.

    • Lilywise
      0

      Agree. I loved her face and hair. I didn’t care for the dress, and I didn’t like the dress on her. I think she would have looked better in something like Penelope Cruz’s dress.

  43. Tracey
    0

    It just looks really heavy for me… just a little off. I know I should like it, but I don’t. *sigh* Wish I could go with the prevailing opinion.

  44. LG
    0

    HELLO did you not see the closeup HELLO. The top of that bodice was one sharp seam away from cutting her damn ARM OFF.

    In theory: fab.

    In practice: FUG, because it was made for someone with a 9% longer torso.

  45. Ladyblahblah
    0

    To me, this is the very epitome of fug. The kind of thing this site was born to criticize… It’s gold, and black, and emroidered, and very, very Dynasty meets 14th Street shops circa 1985. (Anyone else living in NYC at that time remember the sequined butterfly tops that looked like the top of this dress?)

  46. ChaChaHeels
    0

    It’s a very pretty, toned down considerably Alexander McQueen–and it’s lovely. The adornment makes me think of all his insect-print versions when he was alive, but it just hints at it. In any case, that kind of tailoring and adornment is exactly what Jessica needs, as her waist always looks too wide (she has a more athletic figure, with broader shoulders and a disproportionately wide waist and smaller hips) otherwise. So for once, she’s found a dress that corrects that flaw.

    Now if she could only find a photographer that would do her the favour of taking her photo from a below the eye level angle. Everyone tries to photograph her from the top of her head, so she always looks like she’s got a huge upper body and very short legs. She’s got to learn to school the photographers so she looks better in stills–lots of other, also short, actresses do this.

    • Dru
      0

      your comment is spot-on re: the toning down of the McQueen – this is from the Alexander McQueen Resort collection, not the main line.

  47. Charlotte
    0

    Beautiful! My favourite of the night by far, she looked incredible. A little surprisingly thin in some photos, but I think it was just the corseting!

  48. Kat
    0

    not a fan. it looks dated. She’s too young and cute to wear something so dark and depressing. She should have work a color. This looks like 18th century wallpaper.

  49. Xene
    0

    Thought it was the best she’d looked in ages, but it’s such a shame about her hair. In some shots, it looked down right stringy and didn’t work with such an ornate dress and maybe a relaxed chignon would have done it justice. If you picture swapping out the dress for yoga gear or a casual weekend jeans and tee ensemble, the messy hairstyle fits.

  50. Maisie
    0

    GORGEOUS!!! Stunningly unique. I want that dress, and I want to spend every minute of the rest of my life wearing it.

  51. Josephine
    0

    Dang, I’m just disagreeing with you gals all over the place. I love this dress, but I emphatically DO NOT LOVE IT on her. Despite her McQueen habit, this one doesn’t seem to suit her style. It’s too much look for her. It’s poking her in the armpits and wearing her. Jessica Chastain is a very beautiful woman and fine actor, but she is not half fierce enough to carry this thing off. No one as good-looking as she is should look milquetoast-y at the Oscars, and that’s what I’m seeing here. This may sound weird, but…I think she may be too standard-pretty for the dress. Visually, she’s about as classic and edge-free as it gets, and this dress eats that for breakfast.

    • Chasmosaur
      0

      I get what you’re saying – it is a major dress – I could see someone with a lot of old-school glamour rocking it, like Catherine Zeta Jones.

      But I actually thought she looked pretty confident in this. Then again, I missed her on the Red Carpet – only saw the pics.

    • maria
      0

      I didn’t dislike this dress, but I agree that the bodice appears to be attacking and squeezing the life out of her smallish bosom.

  52. Eileen
    0

    I loved the dress at first then I saw how far down the gold went on the bodice and I can’t get past her lap wings. if the gold had stopped higher up I could have been perfectly happy. But hair and makeup were both lovely and she looked so happy, that I was happy too.

  53. Deborah
    0

    Love, love, love her hair with this. The dress was pretty but I have never been a fan of the fussy appliqued fretwork lace. Kudos to Jessica for not looking swallowed by it. And she brought her Grandma as her date. How can you not adore a girl who does this?

  54. Chasmosaur
    0

    Here’s the thing: If you liked Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, then you should like this.

    http://fashionista.com/2011/04/look-at-kate-middletons-wedding-dress-from-every-angle/article-1381851-0bd3c5e500000578-147_634x733-2/

    Look at the neckline under the lace overlay. The wedding dress has a more flared skirt (and obviously longer train), but that dress obviously inspired the one Chastain is wearing.

    I loved this dress. Because my family had dressmakers in it, and I know that Chastain’s dress is a testament to needlework and tailoring, much like the best of Alexander McQueen’s work.

    It’s not edgy or fashion or anything – it’s just an incredibly constructed dress worn by a pretty girl who knew is wearing it well. Sort of like in 2010 when the GFY populace voted Cameron Diaz’s gold ballgown as best dressed. Sometimes it’s just about pulling it all together with an amazing dress. And that dress – love it or hate it – represents a whole steaming pile of amazing.

  55. Chrissy
    0

    I don’t really agree with this one. It’s too much gold junk on the dress. Less gold and I might have liked it. Overall, the coloring works well on her and her hair looks nice. But there’s just something tacky about all those gold splotches.

  56. Shiitake
    0

    The dress didn’t seen to fit quite right, the bodice seemed to be riding too high on her body.

  57. AKA
    0

    Have I seen this dress before? It looks too Alexander McQueen-y and reminiscent of their usual work. Her hair looks too light when it’s parted this way.

  58. Amanda
    0

    It’s pretty hideous, IMO, but i have no idea who this woman is so maybe it’s an improvement? scary town.

  59. Megan
    0

    I really liked this!! I just wish she’d done something different with her hair to complement it. But it’s a great dress.

  60. Moi
    0

    Seriously, Fug Girls? This was one of the worst looks of the night for me. It just seems so . . . obligatorily McQueen.

  61. esther
    0

    the only reason i know of jessica chastain is through this site, so i don’t have much to go on, but….i don’t think this was the right dress for her.

    as someone else mentioned above, someone fiercer say, Catherine Zeta-Jones? would have really come alive in it, rather than looking weighed down.

  62. LibraryChick
    0

    Around the waist area I can see the beginning of what look like bull horns. Wonder if she’s a Longhorns fan? Though if I keep looking at the pattern long enough, I’m also seeing some slight ovary/fallopian tube action.

  63. Rubee
    0

    I’d rather have this pretty smile and lively face than her usual zombie-like look. But I don’t like the ‘Boleyn girl’ vibe of the dress: it is too dramatic and overwhelmes Ms Chastain’s pale complexion, while the light hue of the hair coloring is not helping, either. A ‘fine’ for me.

  64. renae
    0

    January Jones is wearing practically the SAME gown in this photo, but carries it off better:

    http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2011/12/29/fashion/20111229_REDCARPET2011-14.html

  65. NYCGirl
    0

    I wasn’t sure I liked it, thinking it might be one of those facelike patterns. But now that I see that’s it’s embroidered flowers, LOVE. I think it might be even better if the skirt were unadorned.

  66. NYCGirl
    0

    That, not that’s.

  67. Mahastee
    0

    She looks… better. I’ll give her a Well Played because she does look good and FINALLY she is wearing something that shows off her figure instead of frumping it all up.

  68. Janis
    0

    What neiges said. To me, it just looks overwrought. And not a particularly flattering colour.

    I’m willing to admit it is better than expected.

  69. kate
    0

    (i am SO LATE i know)

    You guys: this is totally Blair Waldorf’s prom dress. Remember?