Color was already a buzzword by the time the first stars showed up at the 95th Academy Awards, thanks to the new champagne rug that replaced the traditional red carpet.
And as nominees and guests started to appear, so, too, did most every color of the rainbow: Angela Bassett arrived in purple and Dwayne Johnson in pink. Cate Blanchett went with blue; Sandra Oh with orange; and Fan Bing Bing with green. Rounding out the spectrum were gowns in yellow, worn by the costume designer Ruth E. Carter, and red, worn by the model Cara Delevingne.
But it was white that might have emerged as the most popular shade of the night: Michelle Yeoh, Michelle Williams, Andrea Riseborough, Harry Shum Jr., Paul Mescal, Emily Blunt and Mindy Kaling all wore it. Jamie Lee Curtis, Ariana DeBose, Zoe Saldana and Eva Longoria also wore white-leaning outfits, some of which sparkled because of liberal bedazzling.
At an event that is basically the Olympics of dressing up, to ask who looked the best is something of a trick question because everyone looked glamorous. (One scroll through our full list of outfits from the carpet makes that clear.) The 21 looks that follow, though, had a little something extra — more polish or personality or panache (or all three) — that made them stand out more than most.
Cate Blanchett: The Most Restrained!
The actress, who took on the role of an imperious orchestra conductor in the film “Tár,” reminded audiences that she is also a maestro of the (red) carpet when she arrived in a strong-shouldered velvet top from Louis Vuitton’s archives tucked gracefully into a trim silk skirt.
Danai Gurira: The Most Updo!
The square neckline on the actress’s gown projected strength. So did her gravity-defying hair — styled by Larry Sims — which Ms. Gurira said made her feel her most “African self.”
Harry Shum Jr.: The Most Asymmetrical!
“East meets West” is how the actor described his custom tuxedo by Adeam, a label that traditionally makes women’s wear. The looser fit, asymmetrical lapel, navy piping and sash belt were all elements that made it more fun than your average penguin suit.
Riz Ahmed: The Most Subtle Pink!
The actor’s Prada look, a black suit with a pink wool cardigan peeking out (and a bare chest peeking out beneath that), was perhaps best described as Batman meets Harry Styles.
Hong Chau: The Most Party in the Back!
A mandarin collar was a detail specifically requested by the Vietnamese actress for her satin Prada gown, which was adorned with a shimmering black train. The look, according to Ms. Chau, paid homage to her roots and to the brand’s 1997 show.
Nicole Kidman: The Most Flowers!
She might not have not been up for any Oscars this year, but that did not stop the actress from dressing (and posing) like a winner in a shiny black Armani Privé gown with giant flowers at the shoulder and the hip and a leg-revealing front slit.
Jennifer Connelly: The Most Mach 10!
The actress’s black Louis Vuitton gown had a gem-studded trapezoidal neckline that soared upward toward her jaw, like a runway lit up at night.
Janelle Monáe: The Most Statuesque!
Orange is reportedly among the least worn colors on awards-show carpets. Fitting, then, that the singer and actress known for taking style risks chose a tangerine-colored skirt to complete her custom Vera Wang ensemble.
Florence Pugh: The Most Doing It!
Shorts? At the Oscars? If anyone could make them work it would be the English actress, who sported a black pair beneath a voluminous gray-white Valentino couture gown made more edgy by her mini bangs and septum ring.
Paul Mescal: The Most Flared (Pants)!
The internet’s boyfriend looked refreshingly retro and ready for prom in his white Gucci dinner jacket, complete with a rose on the lapel, and flared black trousers.
Lady Gaga: The Most Poker Faced!
The singer and actress kept it relatively simple in a sheer black Versace gown straight off the runway. (Days before the Oscars, Gigi Hadid modeled the dress at the brand’s show in Los Angeles.) And instead of incorporating red meat into the look, she went with a red lip.
Angela Bassett: The Most Purple!
The actress’s snake-shaped necklace and soft wavy hair were two elements of a regal look that was anchored by a flowing Moschino gown in a purple shade that Ms. Bassett described as “the color of royalty.”
Allison Williams: The Most Killer!
Like the A.I. humanoid robot she shares the screen with in “M3GAN,” the actress slayed the Oscars carpet in her sheer crystal-encrusted dress by Giambattista Valli, which she topped with a billowing pink satin coat.
Dwayne Johnson: The Most Ballet!
“Ballet pink” was how the actor described the color of his double-breasted Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo jacket, which he said had a wool base that brought out the piece’s “masculinity.”
Cara Delevingne: The Most Rosey!
No red carpet, no problem. Thanks to the model and actress, who wore a scarlet one-shoulder Elie Saab dress with a high slit, the color was not totally absent from this year’s awards ceremony.
Stephanie Hsu: The Most Spacious!
“I am wearing Valentino Haute Couture and it is giving ‘taking up space,’” the actress said of her strapless ball gown, which she paired with simple — if not sparkly — jewelry and side-swept hair in loose waves.
Sarah Polley: The Most Comfortable!
Though the screenwriter and director of “Women Talking” may prioritize dressing practically — “I don’t ever like to be cold, and I don’t like my feet to hurt,” she said of her outfit on the carpet — her ruffle-trimmed shirt suggests she appreciates playfulness as well.
Ana de Armas: The Most Marilyn!
It reportedly took 1,000 hours to make the petals that formed the skirt of Ms. de Armas’s silvery Louis Vuitton gown. In it, the actress looked as much like Marilyn Monroe, whom she portrayed in the film “Blonde,” as any others who have recently tried to channel the Old Hollywood icon.
Halle Bailey: The Most Disney Princess!
Of the many princess dresses on the carpet, the singer’s poufy aquamarine Dolce & Gabbana gown arguably stood out the most. Why? Because of the buzz surrounding her role playing a Disney princess, Ariel, in the forthcoming live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.”
Harvey Guillen: The Most Twirl!
The shape of the actor’s brocade Christian Siriano suit jacket was matched only by his beautifully swirled hair shellacked into shiny waves.
Lenny Kravitz: The Most Lenny!
The rock star showed up to perform at the Oscars looking as fine as ever in a low-cut satin Saint Laurent top with lots of necklaces layered over his exposed chest. When you have a working formula, as he does, stick with it.
Stella Bugbee, Sadiba Hasan, Callie Holtermann, Madison Malone Kircher, Anthony Rotunno and Wilson Wong contributed reporting.