Oscar night: It’s, as the ads say, Hollywood’s biggest night. The final and most important of all of the many movie awards shows, absolutely every major actor, actress, and filmmaker is in attendance for the annual celebration of good-to-great movies. Attendees make their way down the red carpet, jubilantly laugh at the host’s irreverent jokes, and cry through their emotional acceptance speeches (or sit in their seats pretending to be happy for the colleague who beat them.)
Be they winner, nominee, presenter, or just attendee, these stars do it all in priceless, elegant evening gowns … or boring tuxedos with bow ties. (Or, if they’re Björk, the single greatest garment in fashion history.)
For all us regular folks watching at home, celebrities really have just one job when they hit the red carpet: wear clothes, and look good in them. Alas, that’s just too tall of an order for the handful of celebrities unfortunate enough to experience an Oscar night "wardrobe malfunction."
California gurls will split their dresses
At the 2017 Academy Awards, Katy Perry rocked a sparkly and tastefully asymmetrical Jean Paul Gaultier gown with uneven shoulders and a shredded, floor-length skirt component — but even more of it got ripped up while the pop star was wearing it.
As Perry leaned over to watch a live feed of the Oscars while waiting for Vanity Fair‘s post-Oscar party to start, a photographer snapped an unfortunate photo of the singer from behind. In the snap, the top part of her dress has separated from the bottom part of the dress, exposing a few strips of fabric and some of Perry’s derrière.
Any other year, Perry’s dress splitting open would be the most discussed and Googled moment of the night, but her fashion oops remained relatively obscure because it happened right around the same time as the biggest Oscars oops in history — when La La Land was erroneously announced as the best picture winner due to an envelope mix-up.
Blanca Blanco’s nude illusion
Blanca Blanco, star of obscure movies such as Teen Star Academy, is probably best known for a wardrobe malfunction at the 2017 Academy Awards. She attended with her boyfriend, actor John Savage (who’s starred in Oscar-recognized films such as The Deer Hunter and The Godfather: Part III,) and she arrived in a chic, greenish-yellow piece.
The gigantic poofs of fabric on the shoulders and around the neck were eye-catching, but they didn’t distract much from the dress’s incredibly high-cut slit … which revealed Blanco’s swimsuit area. She wasn’t going commando under the dress, but she was wearing a bodysuit that so closely matched the color of her skin that it seemed like Blanco was flashing everybody on the red carpet.
She had no idea she’d revealed her undergarment (or more) and made a viral splash until her phone started blowing up during the Oscars ceremony. "When I was watching the show, people were texting me and saying, ‘You are like everywhere, they are saying you don’t have underwear,’" Blanco told the Daily Mail. "I’m so embarrassed."
In a twist of tragic irony, Blanco had reportedly worn the dress as the centerpiece of a calculated effort to land on a "Best Dressed" list. After all, her 2015 Oscars garb — a flowy, oddly-made, red-and-black gown had earned her a spot on more than one "Worst Dressed" list. "I was hoping that this year it would be different," she said.
Just when you thought Anne Hathaway couldn’t get any perkier
When one thinks of "Anne Hathaway" and "Oscar disaster," one probably thinks of that time she hosted the ceremony alongside a sleepy-eyed and smarmy James Franco, but perhaps the most unfortunate Hathaway Oscar moment occurred the night she won the 2013 best actress Oscar for Les Miserables.
Hathaway walked the Red Carpet in a pink Prada gown that was quite lovely and tasteful, except the stitching across the front lay across Hathaway’s chest in such a way as to point out and accentuate her bosom.
Oddly enough, this wasn’t the only wardrobe mishap Hathaway experienced during that awards season. At the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, her dress strap broke, and the zipper on the gown she wore to the Screen Actors Guild Award almost gave out.
By George, Elisabetta Canalis is saved!
Remember Elisabetta Canalis? She’s a lovely and talented Italian actress, but in the United States she’s best known as one of the many romantically doomed women George Clooney had to settle for before he married the former Amal Alamuddin, a human rights lawyer who looks a lot like Anne Hathaway.
Anyway, Clooney brought Canalis to the 2010 Academy Awards, where he was nominated for his performance in Up in the Air. Canalis wore an elegant red strapless Roberto Cavalli number … which split down the back just as she and Clooney were supposed to hit the red carpet. Canalis had brought along celebrity stylist Jonathan Antin in case of a hair-mergency, but according to Antin, it was Clooney who saved Canalis from falling out of her dress.
"George said, ‘Hold on a second, I have experience with this. I used to work on suits, honey,’" Antin told the New York Post. That’s when Clooney "grabbed the needle and thread and started sewing her zipper in. He did an amazing job."
Gwyneth Paltrow meshed up big time
There’s not a whole lot Oscar-winner, GOOP guru, and conscious uncoupler Gwyneth Paltrow has in common with heavy metal legend Glenn Danzig — except that they both chose to wear see-through mesh tops in public.
It makes sense for the "Mother" singer and Misfits frontman — it’s super "metal." But Paltrow is decidedly not metal, even though she wore an Alexander McQueen dress with a see-through mesh bodice to the 2002 Academy Awards. One thing she didn’t wear to that ceremony: a bra.
In 2013, Paltrow apologized on GOOP (via Today) for the controversial "goth" garment. "There were a few issues; I still love the dress itself but I should have worn a bra," Paltrow said. If she could do it all over again, she said she’d also style her hair differently and wear less makeup. "Then, it would have worked as I wanted it to — a little bit of punk at the Oscars."
Judy Greer endures a killer bead attack
In 2012, delightful character actress Judy Greer — Kitty Sanchez on Arrested Development — got to attend the Academy Awards and mingle with the pantheon of A-list demigods because she’d appeared in multiple nominee The Descendants. However, it was not the magical evening at Hollywood prom that we hoped it would be for Greer, and that was due in large part to her dress.
Greer wore a piece from designer Monique Lhuillier. She described it in her book, I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star (via Vanity Fair), as "tight, black, and altered to fit my every curve, and there are a lot."
Greer says that literally the moment she stepped on the red carpet, someone accidentally stepped on the hem of the dress, which led to a rapid loosening, unraveling, and scattering of the stripe of silver beads that adorned the front of the garment. Greer added that she "was starting to get trampled due to the fact that I couldn’t move because my publicist was on all fours in front of me trying to sew my dress back together and stop any more beads from falling all over the place with the tiny sewing kit she kept in her purse."
Oscar night: ruined. "I stopped for photos but couldn’t do any interviews," Greer lamented. "I was afraid if I opened my mouth to speak, I would cry, because I was sobbing on the inside."
‘E!’ stands for ‘even reporters have flimsy zippers’
Wardrobe malfunctions don’t just curse the stars walking the Oscars’ red carpet — they can also stymie the folks that are there to cover the carpet. In 2014, E!’s Giuliana Rancic, who normally would report on and analyze the clothing mishaps of others, became the story when she almost bared all to a live TV audience of millions.
Rancic looked and felt like a princess as she surveyed the goings-on outside Hollywood’s Kodak Theater in a silvery gown from Australian designer Paul Vasileff. "I’m all about Australian designers right now," Rancic told viewers. "I feel princess-y. A girl deserves to feel like a princess once in a while."
That magic subsided when, right after coming back from a commercial, Rancic announced that her zipper had broken. Fashion Police host Kelly Osbourne was first on the scene, trying to hold Rancic’s dress together so she didn’t go naked on television. Before long, fellow E! correspondent Ryan Seacrest ran up with some blue tape, which worked briefly as a stopgap solution.
Emma Stone and the unexpected virtue of underwear
Emma Stone attended the 2015 Academy Awards as a first-time nominee for her role as a recovering drug addict in best picture-winner Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). She didn’t win that night (losing to Patricia Arquette in Boyhood), but she did make quite a few "Oscars best dressed" lists for her delicate, green, be-sequined Elie Saab Haute Couture dress that looked like it was made out of the most gorgeous diamond-studded seaweed the oceans had to offer.
But Stone’s dress would also land her on other lists … like this here collection of unfortunate, near-profane Oscar dress mishaps. That gown was such so light and airy —and sported a large slit that went all the way up to the thigh — that Stone briefly revealed her flesh-colored underwear to various and assorted Red Carpet photographers and star-watchers.
Jenny McCarthy gets schooled by Valentino
It’s hard to imagine now, but there was once a time in history when Jenny McCarthy could score an invite to the Academy Awards. That time was 1997, and McCarthy made the most of it by wearing a Valentino gown that’s so extremely late ’90s that just looking at it will get OMC’s "How Bizarre" stuck in your head for the rest of the day. It’s got a spangled floral pattern and see-through sections down the side, and it all comes together tightly at the neck with no cleavage-baring areas, so yeah, very ’90s, but also not one that’s going to allow anything to slip out, right?
Wrong. McCarthy somehow managed to mess it up. She told Us Weekly that while the dress made her feel "like a million dollars," it was all extremely tight around the chest area. When she ran into the actual Valentino (he just goes by "Valentino") at the Oscars, she nevertheless thanked the legendary designer for dressing her, to which he responded with an explanation as to why her gown was so incredibly uncomfortable: "You’re wearing it backwards."
The one time Oprah made a mistake
This news may come as a shock: Oprah Winfrey is an imperfect human being. Sure, she’s superior to, like, 99.9 percent of all people, but she is a mortal who sometimes makes bad decisions. In 1986, Winfrey attended her first Academy Awards, where she was nominated for best supporting actress for her role in The Color Purple. Prior to the big night, Winfrey didn’t do the one thing everybody knows you’re supposed to do with clothes: try them on.
As she related on a post-2012 Oscars edition of Jimmy Kimmel Live (via Access), Winfrey called the 1986 Oscars "one of the most horrible nights of my life." She’d used a dressmaker known for his work with Dolly Parton, "and he’d come over to [do] some fitting earlier in the day," after which he took the dress away for some alterations. When he brought it back, Winfrey didn’t try it on again.
"So when I went to put it on half an hour before going to the Oscars, it didn’t fit," she said. She couldn’t get it over her hips, so her hairdresser "had to lay me down on the floor and push my butt down and zip." Winfrey had to lay down in the limousine that took her to the ceremony and then sit rigidly upright all night at the Oscars. "I was praying for someone else to win," Winfrey said, "’cause I knew I couldn’t get out of the chair."