16 Oscars Hairstyles That Will Go Down In History

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Erika Stalder
·6 min read
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The 2021 Oscars production might be different than years past, but the 93rd Academy Awards show will go on this coming Sunday, April 25th, on ABC. While we're not sure what that will look like, we can bet on a snub and a kerfuffle or two, but one thing remains a bright spot in the increasingly confused Oscars production: celebs showing off stellar beauty looks.

Remembering the best of Hollywood's biggest beauty pageant isn't just pretty to look at — it feeds our hairstyling inspo (and Pinterest boards) for years to come. Remember Michelle Williams' perfect side-swept updo and bangs at the 2006 awards? It looks just as fresh today. Think you can't bring versatility to a buzzcut? Check out Danai Gurira at the 2018 awards. Afraid headbands are best left in the seventh grade? Lupita Nyong'o proves otherwise.

We could go on — and we do, ahead, with 16 of the most impactful, timeless, and copied hairstyles in Oscars history.

<strong>Julia Roberts, 2001</strong><br><br>Coiffed updos can be tricky: Thanks to the popularity of bouffants in the '50s and '60s, the sculpted style can easily feel retro. But with a deep part and just a bit of volume at the crown, Roberts ushered in a take on the style that proved to be timeless (and just as memorable as her black-and-white Valentino gown).<span class="copyright">Photo: David McNew/Getty Images.</span>
Julia Roberts, 2001

Coiffed updos can be tricky: Thanks to the popularity of bouffants in the '50s and '60s, the sculpted style can easily feel retro. But with a deep part and just a bit of volume at the crown, Roberts ushered in a take on the style that proved to be timeless (and just as memorable as her black-and-white Valentino gown).Photo: David McNew/Getty Images.
<strong>Halle Berry, 2002</strong><br><br>In the annal of perfect pixies, Berry's remains a standout, thanks to piece-y styling and subtle highlights that picked up the golden and burgundy hues of her gown.<span class="copyright">Photo: KMazur/WireImage.</span>
Halle Berry, 2002

In the annal of perfect pixies, Berry's remains a standout, thanks to piece-y styling and subtle highlights that picked up the golden and burgundy hues of her gown.Photo: KMazur/WireImage.
<strong>Michelle Williams, 2006</strong><br><br>The timeless pairing of <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/matching-makeup-clothes#slide-2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:matte red lipstick with a mustard-yellow dress" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">matte red lipstick with a mustard-yellow dress </a>tends to get the credit for this iconic beauty look, and for good reason... but Michelle’s hair! The bafflingly undone, yet Oscar-worthy updo, thanks in part to perfectly-shaped bangs and face-framing pieces, is one for the books.<span class="copyright">Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.</span>
Michelle Williams, 2006

The timeless pairing of matte red lipstick with a mustard-yellow dress tends to get the credit for this iconic beauty look, and for good reason... but Michelle’s hair! The bafflingly undone, yet Oscar-worthy updo, thanks in part to perfectly-shaped bangs and face-framing pieces, is one for the books.Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.
<strong>Jennifer Aniston, 2009</strong><br><br>When it comes to effortless beauty, <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2020/02/9337602/jennifer-aniston-haircuts-hairstyles" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Aniston might be the reigning queen of Cali-cool" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Aniston might be the reigning queen of Cali-cool</a>. But even she kicks it up a notch for Hollywood's biggest night. Here, the star upped her third-day beach wave game with a sleek little hairline braid.<span class="copyright">Photo: Dan MacMedan/WireImage.</span>
Jennifer Aniston, 2009

When it comes to effortless beauty, Aniston might be the reigning queen of Cali-cool. But even she kicks it up a notch for Hollywood's biggest night. Here, the star upped her third-day beach wave game with a sleek little hairline braid.Photo: Dan MacMedan/WireImage.
<strong>Viola Davis, 2012</strong><br><br>The celebrated actress made a major statement on the 2012 red carpet by ditching her <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/best-wigs-for-beginners" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:wigs" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">wigs</a> and showing off her natural hair. "Hair by Mae Alice Davis, my mama," she said. <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2017/02/142397/viola-davis-natural-hair-makeup-beauty-meaning" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:She later told us" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">She later told us</a> of her decision to wear her natural hair publicly that year: "It was liberating to be on that carpet on <em>my</em> terms."<span class="copyright">Photo: Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images.</span>
Viola Davis, 2012

The celebrated actress made a major statement on the 2012 red carpet by ditching her wigs and showing off her natural hair. "Hair by Mae Alice Davis, my mama," she said. She later told us of her decision to wear her natural hair publicly that year: "It was liberating to be on that carpet on my terms."Photo: Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images.
<strong>Angelina Jolie, 2012</strong><br><br>This was the year Angelina Jolie's leg got all the attention — and its own <a href="https://twitter.com/angelinajoliesl?lang=en" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Twitter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Twitter</a> account. But we were (and remain) firmly focused on the full-bombshell hair.<span class="copyright">Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.</span>
Angelina Jolie, 2012

This was the year Angelina Jolie's leg got all the attention — and its own Twitter account. But we were (and remain) firmly focused on the full-bombshell hair.Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.
<strong>Lupita Nyong'o, 2014</strong><br><br>We remember Lupita’s first red carpet season like it was yesterday. A standout among so many noteworthy looks from her debut? This Oscars moment, in which she arrived like a princess wearing the most sparkling of Fred Leighton headbands — something that made us run out to <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2014/03/63636/lupita-nyongo-oscars-headband" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:cop our own" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">cop our own</a> (well, give or take a few figures).<span class="copyright">Photo: Jeff Vespa/WireImage.</span>
Lupita Nyong'o, 2014

We remember Lupita’s first red carpet season like it was yesterday. A standout among so many noteworthy looks from her debut? This Oscars moment, in which she arrived like a princess wearing the most sparkling of Fred Leighton headbands — something that made us run out to cop our own (well, give or take a few figures).Photo: Jeff Vespa/WireImage.
<strong>Zendaya Coleman, 2015</strong><br><br>Seeing Zendaya’s gorgeous waist-long locs on the red carpet was a breath of fresh air, and a welcome moment of representation (despite the <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2015/02/82786/zendaya-giuliana-rancic-dreadlock-comment" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ignorant comments" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">ignorant comments</a>). “My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough,” she shared on <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/zeGVEhJmGE/?modal=true" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Instagram" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Instagram</a>.<span class="copyright">Photo: Jeff Kravitz/WireImage.</span>
Zendaya Coleman, 2015

Seeing Zendaya’s gorgeous waist-long locs on the red carpet was a breath of fresh air, and a welcome moment of representation (despite the ignorant comments). “My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough,” she shared on Instagram.Photo: Jeff Kravitz/WireImage.
<strong>Jennifer Lopez, 2015</strong><br><br>If there's one <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2019/07/238506/jennifer-lopez-beauty-hair-makeup-looks" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:hair look J. Lo does well" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">hair look J. Lo does well</a>, it's the grown-up pony. Her trademark style is always perfectly-coiffed: pulled back tight and cascading straight down to the center of her back.<span class="copyright">Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.</span>
Jennifer Lopez, 2015

If there's one hair look J. Lo does well, it's the grown-up pony. Her trademark style is always perfectly-coiffed: pulled back tight and cascading straight down to the center of her back.Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.
<strong>Chrissy Teigen, 2016</strong><br><br>Sure, Chrissy Teigen's Rapunzel-like braid looks cool from the front, but check out the <a href="http://www.thedrawingroomny.com/wp-content/uploads/chrissy-copy-f554da2f-47ad-4d95-9296-07fc7296cbda.jpg" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:detail" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">detail</a>: a cluster of smaller, uneven plaits join a single voluminous braid down her back.<span class="copyright">Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images.</span>
Chrissy Teigen, 2016

Sure, Chrissy Teigen's Rapunzel-like braid looks cool from the front, but check out the detail: a cluster of smaller, uneven plaits join a single voluminous braid down her back.Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images.
<strong>Emma Stone, 2017</strong><br><br>When you're up for the biggest award in your field — and countless photographers will be taking your picture — it's about landing on a hairstyle that looks modern, yet feels timeless. Stone's stylist <a href="https://www.instagram.com/mararoszak/?hl=en" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mara Rozak" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Mara Rozak</a> created a deep-cut lob that was both a nod to '30s Hollywood glamour and a style we all wanted to bookmark for later.<span class="copyright">Photo: Jeff Kravitz/WireImage.</span>
Emma Stone, 2017

When you're up for the biggest award in your field — and countless photographers will be taking your picture — it's about landing on a hairstyle that looks modern, yet feels timeless. Stone's stylist Mara Rozak created a deep-cut lob that was both a nod to '30s Hollywood glamour and a style we all wanted to bookmark for later.Photo: Jeff Kravitz/WireImage.
<strong>Danai Gurira, 2018</strong><br><br>Between her roles on <em>The Walking Dead</em> and <em>Black Panther</em>, fans know Danai Gurira as an on-screen badass. The star carried that symbol of strength straight to the Oscars red carpet last year when wearing a <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2018/03/192518/danai-gurira-oscars-hairstyle-meaning" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:meaningful style" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">meaningful style</a> created by <a href="https://www.instagram.com/byvernonscott/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Vernon Scott" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Vernon Scott</a>, who looked to traditional, ancestral tribal African designs as his inspiration.<span class="copyright">Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images.</span>
Danai Gurira, 2018

Between her roles on The Walking Dead and Black Panther, fans know Danai Gurira as an on-screen badass. The star carried that symbol of strength straight to the Oscars red carpet last year when wearing a meaningful style created by Vernon Scott, who looked to traditional, ancestral tribal African designs as his inspiration.Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images.
<strong>Amandla Stenberg, 2019</strong><br><br>Amandla Stenberg was one of the first celebs to walk the red carpet — and for the rest of the night, we just couldn't shake just how painfully cool her hybridized hairstyle looked. "I️ told <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BuTZkXxlzQ1/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Vernon François" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Vernon François</a> I️ wanted fingerwaves with cornrows," she said of the style on <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BuS3--9gGA9/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Instagram" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Instagram</a>. "He turned that out in two hours. A true artíst."<br><br>For his part, François told <a href="https://www.vogue.com/article/amandla-stenberg-2019-oscars-beauty-1920s-braids-vernon-francois" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Vogue" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>Vogue</em></a><em><u>,</u></em>"We wanted to bring out the glamour and sophistication of the #1920s, but also pay homage to tradition with her texture," he said, "but when I was researching braids in that sort of [finger-waved shape], I couldn't find any. So we were on a mission to create it."<span class="copyright">Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.</span>
Amandla Stenberg, 2019

Amandla Stenberg was one of the first celebs to walk the red carpet — and for the rest of the night, we just couldn't shake just how painfully cool her hybridized hairstyle looked. "I️ told Vernon François I️ wanted fingerwaves with cornrows," she said of the style on Instagram. "He turned that out in two hours. A true artíst."

For his part, François told Vogue,"We wanted to bring out the glamour and sophistication of the #1920s, but also pay homage to tradition with her texture," he said, "but when I was researching braids in that sort of [finger-waved shape], I couldn't find any. So we were on a mission to create it."Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.
<strong>Charlize Theron, 2019</strong><br><br>Sometimes the most newsworthy look is the simplest. Charlize Theron, who's known for her bright blonde hair, made us all do a double take on the 2019 carpet thanks to a dramatic hair makeover. Paired with an equally-chic, streamlined blue Dior dress, her fresh brown bob was one of our favorite looks from the night. <br><span class="copyright">Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.</span>
Charlize Theron, 2019

Sometimes the most newsworthy look is the simplest. Charlize Theron, who's known for her bright blonde hair, made us all do a double take on the 2019 carpet thanks to a dramatic hair makeover. Paired with an equally-chic, streamlined blue Dior dress, her fresh brown bob was one of our favorite looks from the night.
Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.
<strong>Lily Aldridge, 2020</strong><br><br>The former Victoria's Secret model was the picture of glamour at last season's award show, proving that a <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2021/02/10319167/side-part-hairstyle-tiktok-gen-z" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:middle part" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">middle part</a> and hair tucked behind your ears is a chic styling win every time.
Lily Aldridge, 2020

The former Victoria's Secret model was the picture of glamour at last season's award show, proving that a middle part and hair tucked behind your ears is a chic styling win every time.
<strong>Janelle Monáe, 2020</strong><br><br>Before the <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-ca/tie-dye-trend-hoodie-blazer-shirt" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:tie-dye hoodie" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">tie-dye hoodie </a>became a WFH staple, <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2020/02/9383520/janelle-monae-oscars-silver-dress-hood-ralph-lauren" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Janelle Monáe's now-iconic Ralph Lauren sequined gown" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Janelle Monáe's now-iconic Ralph Lauren sequined gown</a> proved that the humble hood doubles as a hair accessory.<span class="copyright">Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images.</span>
Janelle Monáe, 2020

Before the tie-dye hoodie became a WFH staple, Janelle Monáe's now-iconic Ralph Lauren sequined gown proved that the humble hood doubles as a hair accessory.Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images.

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