We know that being sexy and having confidence is a state of mind, but these thigh-high slits and plunging necklines certainly don’t hurt. From Cher‘s barely-there gown in 1988, to Angelina Jolie‘s Versace leg moment in 2012, click through for the sexiest gowns to ever hit the Academy Awards red carpet.
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In the ’70s it didn’t get much sexier than Raquel Welch in a spaghetti strap halter gown and hoops.
As a sex symbol of her era, Sophia Loren knew how to dress her perfect hour-glass figure in a waist-cinching frock.
Barbi Benton got her shine on in a curve-hugging sequin gown with contrasting floor-length fur coat.
Cher left little to the imagination at the 1988 ceremony where she took home an award for performance in “Moonstruck”.
Geena Davis cut a slim figure in this crimson off-the-shoulder gown with matching clutch and lips.
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Not that Cindy Crawford needed help turning heads, but the plunging neckline on her red Versace gown didn’t hurt.
Modeled after her infamous Versace pin dress, the Italian brand created a crystal embellished version for her to walk the carpet at the Academy Awards.
Sharon Stone famously borrowed husband Phil Bronstein’s white tuxedo shirt leaving it unbuttoned and tucked inside a satin Vera Wang skirt.
One of our favorite style icons, Cate Blanchett, dared to bare in a sheer John Galliano gown.
Cameron Diaz earned bombshell status in the late ’90s—and what goes better with a blonde bombshell than a sexy Versace lace dress that shows a little leg.
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There isn’t much that doesn’t look sexy of Jennifer Lopez—even a baby pink Atelier Versace satin frock.
Halle Berry’s Elie Saab gown is one of the most memorable Oscar gowns, not only because the complete sheer top with floral embroidery was a sight to see, but because Berry became the first African American woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress.
Angelina Jolie earned a reputation for being one of the sexiest Hollywood stars—so it should come as no surprise that she could bring such sex appeal to even this minimal white satin halter gown.
Baby got back—Hilary Swank showed off her well toned back in this Guy Laroche gown, after months of training for Million Dollar Baby. But it was all worth it because she took home the gold statue.
When doesn’t Salma Hayek look sexy? The Mexican actress showed off her curvaceous figure in this Prada gown.
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Gwyneth Paltrow showed off her fit physique, and ample decolettage in a blush satin Stella McCartney
Grecian goddess or Academy Awards performer? Beyonce owned the red carpet in this seafoam Armani Prive gown.
A dress thats supposed to resemble fish scales may not seem like the sexiest, but this Jean Paul Gaultier dress accentuated Marion Cotillard’s best assets.
Before Jennifer Lawrence became Dior’s go-to girl, she had this sultry Calvin Klein red carpet moment.
Penelope Cruz showed off post-pregnancy curves in this firecracker number by the late L’Wren Scott.
While this Atelier Versace dress was immortalized as a meme—we’ll never forget how utterly sexy Angeline Jolie looked.
No modern day actress channels old hollywood better than Jessica Chastain. This embellished Armani Prive accentuated all the right curves.
Rosamund Pike’s crimson Givenchy dress covered in rosettes was a look to remember.
Atelier Versace is the go-to brand for instant sex appeal. Jennifer Aniston worked this nude gown with sheer skirt.
Valentino Haute Couture is usually known for their demure and fashion forward gowns—but this plunging neck gown created for Olivia Wilde was a moment to remember.
Priyanka Chopra made quite the debut at her first Academy Awards in this white strapless Zuhair Murad dress with a sheer skirt.
We can always count on Charlize Theron to bring the fire to the red carpet, as she did in this stunning Dior Haute Couture gown with deep-V neckline.
Margot Robbie gave the Oscars statue a run for its money in this gilded Tom Ford number.
From the bold color to her exposed shoulders, Viola Davis taught us a lesson in subtle sexiness in this Michael Kors gown.
Taraji P. Henson worked the vavavoom-factor of her custom Alberta Ferretti midnight blue gown.
Jane Fonda continues to challenge the old “dress your age” adage. At 81 she embraces curve-hugging styles like this sleek Balmain dress.
Eiza González made her Oscars debut with quite the sunny splash in this Ralph Lauren gown with a low back.
Brie Larson dazzled on the red carpet last year in this silver high-neck column gown made by Celine by Hedi Slimane. She finished off her look perfectly with soft waves and natural makeup.
Regina King glowed in one of the few white gowns of the evening: an ivory, strapless number with sculptural hand draping and an asymmetrical train, custom made by Oscar de la Renta.
The actress stepped out in a freshly chopped dark bob and a backless, dusty blue long-sleeved Dior gown. She accessorized the look with BVLGARI’s Serpenti collection, including a white gold double necklace with a matching bracelet, and a diamond necklace of over 75 carats. Bling, bling.
This sculptural black gown from Dior Haute Couture was the ideal silhouette for Theron’s statuesque frame, with a high slit and off-the-shoulder detail. She accessorized with a sparkling Tiffany & Co. diamond pendant necklace perfectly.
Cynthia Erivo made a statement in a fitted gown with a big flared skirt that had all of the fashion super-hero vibes a girl could wish for.
Saoirse Ronan stood out in a sea of black in this black, ivory, and lavender gown with deep V-neck, silk duchesse-waist ruffles and moiré skirt, finished with Gucci High Jewelry earrings and ring.
Rooney Mara’s custom Alexander McQueen creation featured a drop waist, cascading black lace with a slashed and cut away puff-sleeved bodice edged with rouleau loop buttons.
Brie Larson stunned in a Celine sequin cape dress—composed of more than 120,000 sequins, 110,000 glass beads, 13,000 Swarowski crystals, and 6,500 pink strass jewels, requiring over 1,200 hours of hand embroidery. She accessorized with Bulgari jewelry.
Zendaya made an impressive entrance in custom lemon-yellow Valentino Haute Couture featuring a strapless silhouette and cutout detail, while simultaneously debuting a coordinating diamond necklace worth $6 million by Bulgari.
Vanessa Kirby wowed in a custom pale-rose silk gazar column gown with a box pleat train by Alessandro Michele for Gucci. The ultra-feminine hue was offset by a deep-red lip, dark nails, and a subtle cutout detail at the waist. Cartier jewels finished the sleek, ’90s-inspired moment.
Amanda Seyfried was all Hollywood glamour in this haute couture scarlet strapless ball gown spun out of plissé tulle, featuring a deep-V neckline with ruffle accents and a sweeping, dramatic full skirt. Her pretty updo, diamond earrings, and red pout polished off the look.
Carey Mulligan stood out in a stunning gilded Valentino Haute Couture gown that boasted a cutout waist and dramatic full skirt.
Lily James had a fairy-tale moment in candyfloss pink Atelier Versace. The embroidered gown, which was made from Chantilly lace, featured a thigh-high split and frothy georgette skirt, and was from the fashion house’s autumn/winter 2021 couture collection.
Zendaya walked the red carpet in a glittering silver Valentino skirt and cropped satin shirt, finishing her look with Bulgari Serpenti Viper single- and double-coil bracelets.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.
- Angelina Jolie
- Atelier Versace
- Barbi Benton
- Calvin Klein
- Cameron Diaz
- Cate Blanchett
- Charlize Theron
- Cindy Crawford
- Elie Saab
- Geena Davis
- Gwyneth Paltrow
- Halle Berry
- Hilary Swank
- Jennifer Aniston
- Jennifer Lawrence
- Jennifer Lopez
- Jessica Chastain
- John Galliano
- Kylie Minogue
- Margot Robbie
- Marion Cotillard
- Olivia Wilde
- Penelope Cruz
- Priyanka Chopra
- Raquel Welch
- Red Carpet
- Rosamund Pike
- Salma Hayek
- Sharon Stone
- Sophia Loren
- Taraji P. Henson
- Tom Ford
- Viola Davis