Each week our no-holds-barred contributor Grace Gold picks apart a hot beauty topic. It’s our version of an op-ed—with hair, eyeliner and lipstick.

When Kelly Osbourne stepped out on the red carpet at the 70th Golden Globes, she wore side-parted lavender waves, lashy eyes and a rosy complexion. The look’s hair color provided her a twist on classic Hollywood glamour, but The Huffington Post said of it, “As one of our editor’s boyfriends so eloquently put it, ‘She looks like a third-rate Katy Perry.’” When Julianna Margulies came to the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in a sleek ponytail, sultry shadow and a pale glossy lip, she embodied modern elegance. Her ensemble, however, wasn’t up to  Go Fug Yourself’‘s standards. It wrote, “I love that she’s experimenting, but…she needs to keep trying.”

Critics can be rough, so rough that we’re worried they are starting to have an impact on beauty during the awards show season. How many perfectly gorgeous—and perfectly safe—looks have we seen at recent events that were built around classic cascading curls and a red lip? That is why as we count down to Hollywood’s biggest night of the year, the 85th Academy Awards, we did want to take a moment to applaud an increasing number of stars who are truly changing things up on the red carpet despite these critics. We are thinking of women like Ginnifer Goodwin, January Jones, Marion Cotillard, Diane Kruger and Jessica Paré, as well as Osbourne and Margulies. For these leading ladies, pleasing everyone to ensure a top spot on the best-dressed lists just won’t do. Instead, it’s about their expression of style—for better or for worse.

There’s a confidence that these women have that seems to make them more willing to inject some personality and even humor into what has become a very serious business of looking pleasing and not crossing any experimental boundaries. It’s like these stars have rediscovered that beauty and fashion are meant to be joyful. 

“I love seeing a risk on the red carpet,” said Molly Stern, a celebrity makeup artist. “These gals are not afraid to play with the opportunity, and it’s something we everyday women should be inspired by. Don’t be afraid to step outside of traditional beauty guidelines and tap into the fun of playing with makeup. There is beauty in being bold, too!”

Their gumption harkens back to previous Hollywood generations that would simply use their own instincts to create looks, and who didn’t have the constant presence of experts and constant barrage of “style analysis” deconstructing their every bit of lip gloss.

Sometimes the results were questionable. Who could forget when Cher walked the 1986 Oscar red carpet in a Mohawk-inspired Bob Mackie headdress and bodysuit? Sometimes the results made history. Elizabeth Taylor was simply stunning at the 1970 Academy Awards in a head of corkscrew curls and blue lids that coordinated with her violet chiffon dress.

Celebrities like Goodwin, Jones, Cotillard, Kruger and Paré seem to be bringing back that type of fiery spirit that made the legends of the silver screen so memorable, collaborating more closely with their makeup and hair experts to make magic happen—and, better, give us something to truly get excited to talk about the next day.

Photo: Getty Images