Red-Carpet Favorites: Reese, Charlize, Keira Top Designers' Lists

With the Academy Award nominees announced on Tuesday, the race began to dress the stars on the red carpet for the March 5 event.

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LOS ANGELES — Let the games begin.

Forget the Winter Olympics in Turin. The race for the gold kicked off at dawn Tuesday in Hollywood and reverberated through New York, Paris and Milan as the Oscar nominees were announced.

Which stars do designers most want to dress for the 78th annual Academy Awards on March 5? The list is sure to include Reese Witherspoon, Keira Knightley, Charlize Theron, Felicity Huffman, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams.

Newcomer Amy Adams, nominated for best supporting actress, was recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the indie dramedy "Junebug" and designers won't overlook her, either. No-nonsense-type talents such as Frances McDormand, Katherine Keener and Dame Judi Dench are dark horses in the fashion sweepstakes and none has stylists — at least, not at press time.

Stylists, fashion publicists and other behind-the-scenes players stepped it up as the nominations were announced at 5:30 a.m. PST. Knightley's stylist, Rachel Zoe, was getting off a red-eye from Los Angeles to New York when she saw her BlackBerry jammed with messages about her client, nominated for best actress for "Pride and Prejudice." In Manhattan, stylist Anna Bingemann was just getting home from the airport when the phone began ringing with callers inquiring about her plans for Weisz, who earned a best supporting actress nomination for "The Constant Gardner." In Los Angeles, fashion publicist Susan Ashbrook was rushing into the office at 7:30 a.m. to reach her clients, including Lanvin, Escada and Monique Lhuillier and Chopard. And in Milan, movie fan Donatella Versace was considering the possibilities.

"There are too many beautiful and talented women —and let's not forget the men — to choose from," Versace said. Indeed, this year's nominated men are a hunky bunch, including George Clooney, Joaquin Phoenix, Heath Ledger, Terrence Howard, Jake Gyllenhaal and Matt Dillon.

"I would love to dress everyone...but what all these actresses this year have in common is great style, lots of personality and that star quality that makes the red carpet come alive," Versace said.

Versace will be back this year. "Certainly, from an organizational point of view, the Oscars will be easier to handle this year due to our show week falling earlier in February and the award ceremony moving back by a few days,'' she said. "The Oscars is one of the most glamorous and creative moments for the industry and the quality of movies and talent being what it is this year, I will definitely try to be there."
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