The History of Old Hollywood Glamour at the Academy Awards

This year's nominees should take inspiration from the Oscar winners of decades past.

British actress Audrey Hepburn poses with her Oscar for Best Actress for the film "Roman Holiday" on March 25, 1954 during the 26th annual Academy Awards in New York City. AFP PHOTO
Audrey Hepburn cuddles up with her Oscar for Best Actress for “Roman Holiday” in 1954.

In the hopes that this year’s nominees will bring their own oversized sleeves and understated makeup to the Oscars this Sunday, let’s look back at some of the classic looks that have graced the red carpet. In recent awards seasons, certain events are inevitable. Marchesa gowns will sweep the red carpet, minorities will be criminally under-represented and Jennifer Lawrence will fall, which will lead to a rush of activity on the Internet questioning if it was all a ruse for some social media action.

In the days before listicles, awards shows guaranteed safe but stylish long gowns and elegant up-dos, not meant to look undone in any way. This year’s nominees should take inspiration from the Oscar winners of decades past.

British actor Julie Andrews (right) holds her Oscar while standing with Belgian born actor Audrey Hepburn (1929 - 1983) at the Academy Awards ceremonies in Santa Monica, California, April 5, 1965. Andrews won Best Actress for her performance in the film, 'Mary Poppins,' directed by Robert Stephenson.
Julie Andrews poses with Audrey Hepburn at the Academy Awards in 1965

Audrey Hepburn might be most famous for her Tiffany’s pearls, but her award show style was equally as elegant. Above, Ms. Hepburn poses with Julie Andrews, who was celebrating her Mary Poppins win.

American actor Donna Reed (1921 - 1986) signs an autograph while holding her Oscar trophy at the Academy Awards, Los Angeles, California, March 25, 1954. =
Actress Donna Reed at the Academy Awards in 1954

Donna Reed wears an ultra-luxe silk coat while signing autographs with her Oscar in hand; in the background, a woman wears a leopard coat with a black collar eerily similar to jackets worn by many New York street-style icons.

1952: American actor Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957) receives a kiss from actor Claire Trevor (1909 - 2000) while standing backstage with the Best Actor Oscar he won for his role in director John Huston's film, 'The African Queen,' RKO Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles, California.
Claire Trevor at the 1952 Academy Awards

Claire Trevor kisses Humphrey Bogart backstage while wearing ruffled sleeves, strands of pearls and long gloves fit for a queen—or for an Audrey Hepburn Halloween costume.

19th March 1947: Olivia de Havilland receives her Best Actress Oscar from actor Ray Milland (1907 - 1986) for her performance in 'To Each his Own', directed by Mitchell Leisen.
Olivia de Havilland in 1947

Olivia de Havilland poses with her Oscar, won for Best Actress, next to actor Ray Milland. Her detailed, floral gown might be more fitting for a modern day prom, but her statement lip and curls would work on any carpet.

circa 1928: Actress Dolores Del Rio with her art director husband Cedric Gibbons, and Fritz Lang at the Rathbone party. Cedric designed the Oscar statuette for the Academy Awards.
Actress Dolores Del Rio and husband Cedric Gibbons

Actress Dolores Del Rio wears a big bow dress next to her husband, the art director Cedric Gibbons, who designed the statuette for the Academy Awards. The History of Old Hollywood Glamour at the Academy Awards