It was in vivid contrast to the last two years, when war in Iraq and the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks darkened the mood of the country and the "red carpet" procession.
...."I wanted to be in something a little dark but royal," said pregnant best supporting actress nominee Marcia Gay Harden, sporting a royal blue gown.
....Many of the actresses wore their hair pinned up in glamorous "up-dos" or softly curled, reminiscent of the golden era of Hollywood, punctuated by shaded, dangling diamonds.
"The key words in fashion this year are light, airy, feminine. It's the same thing with the jewelry," said Carol Brodie, a spokeswoman for jeweler Harry Winston.
Winston's long stiletto diamond earrings were a big favorite with the stars, as were his bracelets, wore in stacks by several stars.
While black is usually always a safe bet for some awards attendees, actress Liv Tyler's stunning black Givenchy seemed to stand out in sharp contrast to the colors.
Lucrecia Perez, who did the music for the nominated documentary "Balseros," wore a head full of neon multi-colored dreadlocks, while Katja Esson, director and producer of a "FerryTales," nominated for best documentary on a short subject, wore an orange top accompanied by a brightly tie-died skirt.
....There were no real fashion disasters, although some critics said Uma Thurman's white layered gown with bolero jacket and colored sash fell short of her usual high standards.
Some red carpet viewers also were disappointed that Diane Keaton did not depart from her signature Annie Hall black bowler hat, and noted that Angelina Jolie's tattoos detracted from her gorgeous white gown.
Amen to that: she couldn't have looked much better, other than the tattoo (I only saw the one on her arm), which clashed like hell with the elegant, classic look. But, hey, it's infinitely better than the vampire look.
And don't forget Joan and Melissa's fashion recap tonight:
- Academy Awards Live Fashion Police
Because we all know it's not about the awards, it's about the outfits! Watch Joan and Melissa Rivers blow the whistle on the evening's best and, yes, worst dressed. Join them live, as they team with fashion expert Leon Hall to offer up incisive insights on the getups chosen by your favorites. It's a must-see.
Premieres: Mon., Mar. 1, 10 p.m. ET/PT
Encores: March 2, 6 p.m.; March 3, 2 p.m., 9 p.m.; March 4, 10 p.m.; March 5, 1 p.m., 6 p.m.; March 6, 7 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.