Oscar glamour still keeping it simple

The fashion world may be smack in the middle of European collections, but the world's biggest fashion show doesn't take place in Paris or Milan. It happens on a legendary red carpet in Los Angeles each year at the Academy Awards.

With the love affair between fashion and Hollywood hotter than ever, the sky is the limit when it comes to the Oscars. Normally that includes pounds of diamonds. But some of the night's biggest names -- Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts -- passed on the dripping-in-diamonds look.

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AP Photo

Nicole Kidman arrives at the 76th annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles. Kidman exemplified the Hollywood look for the evening: Haute couture (hers by Chanel), but showing a departure from the dripping-in-diamonds look.

But presenter Kidman was one star to cash in on couture. Kidman chose a steel-gray, straight Chanel couture gown that fit her statuesque frame perfectly. Hair loosely thrown up, milky white skin -- it was classic Kidman. Her co-star, best supporting actress winner Renee Zellweger, skipped the red carpet romp, sneaking in the back door in an elegant white gown.

The night was full of color, from presenter Jennifer Garner's bright orange vintage Valentino to Kelly Lynch's powder blue Zac Posen (also hot off the runway). But some of the most elegant looks were understated, neutral frocks with plenty of sparkle.

Take red-carpet veteran Roberts, looking more confident than ever in a gold, draped-satin Armani, a newly blond 'do and little else. Or the glowing best actress nominee Watts, chic and understated in a nude, sparkling Versace gown.

And no one could deny the impact of Charlize Theron's beaded platinum Gucci, though her makeup artist can't be too thrilled with the way the bronze goddess vision translated on camera. The actress was overtinted and appeared to be an unnatural shade of tan.

The men, even fashion renegade and best actor nominee Johnny Depp, seemed to play it safe this year. There was a man for every woman in the best actor category, and what a sexy crew they were: Depp joined Ben Kingsley, Jude Law, Bill Murray and Sean Penn in the honors.

The guys kept it simple with lots of black and white, give a colored tie or bow tie here and there, and most impressive was Murray. He wore a sleek suit by Helmut Lang, who also did the clothes for Lost in Translation.

And of course the night wasn't void of fearless fashions. In typical Diane Keaton style, the actress traipsed down the red carpet showing no sign of skin in an androgynous pant suit, top hat and leather gloves.

And Uma Thurman decided to go in a totally different direction than the glamazon we saw at the Golden Globes. The actress seemed to be sporting a period piece right out of Heidi.

But hey, if anyone can pull it off, Uma can.

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