Oscars Nominations 2011 - Our Red Carpet Predictions

Oscars red carpet dresses look back

Photos: Wireimage

Leading ladies: Nicole Kidman in 1997, Michelle Williams in 2005, Amy Adams in 2008, and Natalie Portman in 2009.

The Oscar nominations are out, and now the real fun begins: talking dresses.

Of course, we'll have to wait until February 27 to see which runway gowns make it onto the red carpet, but in the meantime we're taking a look back at our favorite nominees' Oscar-style standouts while predicting which designers they might wear this year.

Do us proud, ladies.

Nicole Kidman (Best Actress, Rabbit Hole): For us, trying to pick a single winner from Kidman's incredible Oscar-dress history is like trying to choose a favorite child. So let's just call it a tie between 1997's chartreuse Asian-inspired number and 2000's draped gold gown, both by John Galliano for Christian Dior.

Kidman played it safe with a cream sequined Prada at the Golden Globes, but the Australian beauty is always at her best when she cranks up the drama. Now that she's back to her natural red hair, we picture Kidman going for a ruffled, voluminous gown in a striking hue (eggplant? emerald's been done), perhaps by go-to designer L'Wren Scott.

Michelle Williams (Best Actress, Blue Valentine): Williams has a tough challenge ahead in trying to top the drop-dead gorgeous mustard-yellow Vera Wang gown she paired with red lips and romantic retro waves for the 2005 ceremony. The outfit landed her on every best-dressed list and even appears to have inspired Kyra Sedgwick's similar Emilio Pucci gown at this year's Golden Globes.

Speaking of the Globes, Williams's billowing beige Valentino with floral details drew a lot of criticism from red-carpet watchers. Can she return to glory and still stay true to her '60s-ingenue-inspired style? Definitely.

We'd love to see the fair blonde brighten up with a pop of color—some ruffles or ruching to play up her curves. Proenza Schouler, which mastered color with its Spring/Summer 2011 collection, could appeal to Williams's indie streak, but with a starring role as Marilyn Monroe looming, she may take this opportunity to bust out the bombshell with a frothy pink or white gown.

Amy Adams (Best Supporting Actress, The Fighter): Adams, a past Supporting Actress nominee for Junebug and Doubt, typically opts for strapless gowns in intense colors, like the va-va-voom emerald green Proenza Schouler design she wore to the 2008 Oscars. Having worn a deep blue one-shoulder Marchesa dress for the Golden Globes, the auburn-haired star may decide to add a rich purple or fuchsia to her repertoire, though if we were her we'd go with an ivory white Carolina Herrera, which proved lucky for fellow perennial nominee Renée Zellweger in 2004.

Natalie Portman (Best Actress, Black Swan): Though Portman wore a Grecian-inspired Lanvin dress as a 2005 nominee for Closer, it's the 2009 strapless pink Rodarte gown that really turned heads. Now that Rodarte's Mulleavy sisters have been cruelly shut out of a nomination for their stunning Black Swan costumes, will Portman—who wore Viktor & Rolf to the Golden Globes—give them some love? Or will she stay loyal to Dior, whose fragrance she fronts?

One safe bet: The 29-year-old beauty will most likely be opting for an Empire waist to accommodate her growing baby bump. We also wouldn't be surprised to see ballet influences—a bit of tulle, some feathers—to reference her leading role.

And the world awaits …