By Laura Compton and Maghan McDowell

By Laura Compton and Maghan McDowell

San Francisco Chronicle, Copyright 2014

It's spring, so it's only natural that white, metallic and embellished nudes were pervasive on the red carpet at this year's Academy Awards. Those looking for sartorial surprises will have to find satisfaction with the occasional black dress, as bright colors were all but absent. Another not-so-shocking surprise? Despite having the world's styling prowess at their fingertips, the breadth of ill-fitting strapless dresses proves even celebrities don't always come out winners.

Here are some of the stars who got it especially right.

1. Kate Hudson: Like a vintage caped red-carpet crusader, Hudson took a page from the 2012 Gwyneth Paltrow playbook in a stunning, sculptural Atelier Versace sparkler.

2. Naomi Watts brought a white embellished column by Calvin Klein to life with a red lip, unusual Bulgari necklace, geometric clutch and modern twist on straight hair.

3. An expecting Olivia Wilde, in Valentino, looked modern and beautiful in a black column dress that kept the attention on her glowing face, and white drop earrings.

4. Lupita Nyong'o worked with her stylist to design this deep-V, light blue pleated Prada, accented by a diamond and gold Fred Leighton headband, resulting in a modern Cinderella effect.

5. Glamourpuss Charlize Theron maintained her best-dressed record with a black Dior that gave the illusion of strapless -- with a twist.

6. Julia Roberts loves black, but mixed it up with a romantic, lacy Givenchy gown with peplum details, and not-too-fussy hair

7. Cate Blanchett played up her ethereal, timeless beauty with a nude jeweled Giorgio Armani that, although reportedly heavy, seemed to have her floating above the red carpet.

8. Navy and colored jewels are a combo that work for the stunning Amy Adams, proven once again with this sophisticated Gucci Couture gown.

9. Pharell Williams, after wearing a large hat at the Grammys that had many scratching their head, dared to wear a "shorts tuxedo" by Lanvin that was just the right amount of different.

10. Jared Leto got the white tux memo (also given, apparently, to Matthew McConaughey and Ryan Seacrest) and paired his white Saint Laurent jacket with a burgundy bow-tie.