Oscars Gown Showdown: Charlize Theron vs. Nicole Kidman -- Pick Your Favorite!

02/25/2014 at 09:45 AM ET

Oscar Gown Showdown: Charlize Theron, Nicole KidmanJeff Kravitz/FilmM; Gilbert Flores/Celebrity Photo

The Showdown: Charlize Theron in Dior (2013) vs. Nicole Kidman in Balenciaga (2007)
The Editor’s Pick: Charlize Theron
Who Made the Call?: Zoë Ruderman, Deputy Style & Beauty Director
Why She Chose It:

Phew. I’m really glad that you guys chose Nicole over Gwyneth Paltrow in the previous round, because I would have needed to take a personal day to spend some serious time alone with my thoughts to decide between Charlize and Gwyn.

But back to the showdown at hand…

I’m not saying this choice was super-easy (it was no Cameron vs. Sandra showdown, which, ahem, most of you didn’t agree with me on!) — I just didn’t need a whole day to mull it over. But I did find myself belaboring the call a bit so — just like when I couldn’t decide at age 7 which crush I should eventually marry — I made a list. I’ve assigned points to each of the positive attributes. (Picture this written in my Lisa Frank diary.)

-the bright-white color +5 for unexpectedness and how it flatters her skin, +2 for offering up fresh wedding gown inspiration to brides everywhere
-the unique neckline +3
-brings the drama without a major voluminous skirt +2
-does the peplum thing before every dress, top, skirt and bathing suit bottom had one +7
-stole everyone’s attention without a single cutout, sheer panel, Swarovski crystal, floral embroidery or view of underboob +10

-red (my favorite color to wear) +5
-also dramatic without being ballgown-ish +2
-also nabbed attention without all those extras +7 (because I don’t think it got quite the buzz Charlize’s Dior did)
-neckline competes with hair down over her shoulders -1 (only 1 because her hair does look very pretty)
-coordinating lip color +3

It’s simple math, people. Nicole earned 16 points and Charlize comes out on top with 29.

Check out the full Oscars Gown Showdown bracket here!

Voting is now closed but click here to see who came out on top — and to weigh in on today’s matchup: Anne Hathaway vs. Michelle Williams!

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Showing 10 comments

Ugonna Wosu on

wow, I’m surprised to see that Charlize won the round against Penelope. I thought though I prefer Charlize’s style generally, that Penelope would slaughter her with that showy dress.

Tony on

No offense, but the peplum trend was well underway by 2013. If anything, this was one of the few times where Charlize was following a trend and not creating one. As early as the fall of 2011 and certainly by spring 2012 peplums were everywhere. Charlize looks nice, but again she has had better looks on the Oscars red carpet this past decade. I simply cannot vote for something that is not her best look. Not to mention Nicole Kidman’s dress was one of my favorite from the past decade. Simple but with enough stunning details to make it memorable.

gloria on

There is no contest here, IMO. Nicole Kidman took my breath away when she showed up in this dress. Simply elegant. Goes to show that critics don’t always know what the public really likes.

Ugonna Wosu on

yes, Charlize has worn better dresses than Nicole plenty of times, but in these two pics, I cannot claim that. I am not a big Nicole fan(I don’t dislike her at all, she’s cool I’m just not gaga for her), but I have to go with her in this contest.

Ugonna Wosu on

Nicole’s dress isn’t all that either, but at least its a bit more original.

Wednesday on

I’m sorry, but how in the world was Theron’s dressed more “buzzed” than Kidman’s Balenciaga? I remember Kidman’s gown that year and I remember it being one of the dresses everyone talked about the day (and years) afterwards, whether they loved it or hated it. It was very bold and new and, unlike Theron’s peplum (which, as has been mentioned here, was a trend for months by that point), it made a big statement. It’s a gown that’s only grown in stature since 2007, and Emma Stone recently wore a gown very similar to it a couple years back and got lambasted by some for attempting to copy Kidman’s gown. It’s easily the better and more memorable choice here, despite Theron looking gorgeous.

Jason on

^ So true about that gown having grown in stature. I’m a regular watcher of Fashion Police on E! and I remember their reaction to Emma Stone’s Giambattista Valli gown. All of the panelists (Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Clarkson, George Kotsiopoulos and Joan Rivers) really went after Stone and the designer for attempting to copy something that’s become “iconic” (Clarkson called Kidman’s dress one of her favorites ever) and the fact that at least three of them used that term threw me for a loop. I’ve always been a fan of Kidman’s gown, but I’m pretty sure Joan Rivers herself hated the gown back then and here she was in 2012 having a complete turn around about it. Quite a few people have had that change of heart with this gown, I’ve noticed. And that’s what innovative fashion is all about in my book.

So, yes, Kidman takes this for me quite easily.

Tony on

I think a few posters above hit the nail on the head when they called Nicole Kidman’s dress “iconic”. That is probably the best way to describe it. Her gown and look that night is still remembered now and will probably always be remembered as one of Oscar’s best. Love it or hate it, everyone was buzzing about it the day after. In a way, this dress has become legendary and only grown in appreciation as time has gone on. I love Charlize, but I agree with everyone else here that Kidman takes this in a cake walk.

Angie on

I agree with some of the other posters. To me, Charlize’s dress wasn’t special. And when I look at Theron’s dress, it’s just a dress Yeah, it has some nice details but I don’t remember it. Kidman’s was a showstopper. I still remember it, the red, the bow. It was amazing. I would never wear Theron’s unless I was phoning it in but I would jump at the chance to wear Kidman’s. And don’t listen to the fashion police people, they show favoritism to the people they like and often cut down people they don’t like. I seem to remember people not liking Kidman’s dress. If that is so, it was because in the last few years Kidman has fallen out of favor.

Cohen on

charlize’s may be my in top3 dresses at last year’s oscars but man, nicole’s balenciaga is in my top 3 dresses at the oscars-of the past decade! its not just the bow detailing (seeing that charlize has done that in 2006)-its the overall package and effect, nicole was quite the queen of the red carpet that night

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