A-Listers Lead the Way at AFI Fashion Parade

It's a wrap! Diane Sawyer poses with husband Mike Nichols, recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award.

Hollywood’s elite turned out in force to honor filmmaker Mike Nichols at the 38th Annual American Film Institute Life Achievement Award gala, and with one A-lister after another, we almost got whiplash trying to keep up. We were all about the fashions, and some of them really earned that “A.” There was Annette Bening of the forthcoming The Kids Are Alright, stunning in turquoise blue satin, on the arm of dashing-as-ever husband Warren Beatty, and Diane Sawyer (Mrs. Nichols), out from behind the news anchor desk in an elegant black and silver gown with matching wrap. Brothers & SistersCalista Flockhart, who recently wed Harrison Ford, rocked a figure-hugging knit column in a signature Missoni print.

Others merited a solid “B.” Meryl Streep, who presented the AFI award to her frequent director Nichols, showed off her shoulders in a white wrap top and black palazzo pants, a classic silhouette she’s worn before. Kate Capshaw matched hubby Steven Spielberg’s tux in a simple, below-the-knee length ivory satin sheath belted low with a black tie, and WeedsMary-Louise Parker accentuated her rear view in an edgy black gown with a deep V.

Alas, we have to hand out failing grades to a few stars. Emma Thompson’s chocolate Vivienne Westwood sheath, puckered in all the wrong places, didn’t do her any favors — the bodice didn’t fit and the bottom made her hips look wider. Candace Bergen’s shiny silver satin pajama outfit was similarly nonslimming and wrinkled — it looked like she’d slept in it. Helen Mirren, usually the epitome of tasteful fashion, made a rare misstep in an empire-waisted, full-skirted dress with an apron overlay and sequined bolero, an outfit reminiscent of a Heidi costume. Her face was fab, though, and we can’t wait to see her as a Nevada brothel madam in Love Ranch, which opens June 30.

While we didn’t love Julia Roberts’ long-sleeved floral-on-black print Dolce & Gabbana, or the shapeless peasant-blouse style of Oprah Winfrey’s dress (the peach color was great on her, though) the red-carpet-skipping pals seemed to be having a great time in the audience. Cher, of course, was in a fashion category of her own, gothically glam in a metallic Chrome Hearts vest over a sheer black top and skirt. We want to see Burlesque (coming in December) for her wardrobe alone!

When was the last time you took a fashion risk?

Photo credit: Todd Williamson/WireImage