Oscars Hall Of Hair Fame: A Look At The Best Hairstyles From 2006-2016

As we draw closer to the 2017 Academy Awards, I thought it would be fun to do an Oscars Retrospective and take a look at some of the best hairstyles from the last decade.

While researching for this piece, I came across so many beautiful celebrity hairstyles and was struck by how truly iconic some of these looks are. We might not remember the particular year or the work these stars were nominated for, but one look at the photographs brings back a flood of memories. And when you feel awed and impressed by particular hairstyles or fashion statements all over again after so many years you know you have some real winners on your hands.

2006 Michelle Williams

It’s hard to picture Michelle William’s in anything but her signature platinum pixie cut, but there was a time when the elfin-faced actress wore her hair long and honey-blonde. This looped side bun with loose, wavy strands was one of the most talked-about hairstyles from the 2006 Academy Awards and became the go-to romantic/ formal hairstyle of women the world over.

2007 Jessica Biel

This textured updo/ bun on Jessica Biel in 2007 is the sort of hairstyle every woman should master because it works everywhere: to class, the workplace, drinks with friends, dates and formal events. Use a texturizing mousse and your fingers to create the piece-y waves. There’s the illusion of a lot of movement at the crown and it really makes the classic ballerina bun come alive.

2008 Katherine Heigl

Look at Katherine Heigl serving up some solid retro glamour with her perfectly coiffed shoulder-length bob. Nothing screams ‘Old Hollywood’ quite like big curls. This is a lot of look, but in a way that works. I love the flippy ends around the face; there’s something very Farah Fawcett-esque about the style, albeit in a shorter, more modern cut.

2009 Angelina Jolie

I remember in the post-Oscars week in 2009, the buzz was all about Angelina’s stunning emerald earrings. As hairstylists we’re usually charged with creating a look that works well around all the other elements of a client’s look. The dress, jewelry and accessories are chosen first and the hair and makeup follow and it’s always a fun challenge to take on: crafting a hairstyle that’s a piece of art in itself but doesn’t draw focus from the outfit. Angelina’s voluminous, wavy, slightly messy half-up-half-down hairstyle is a fabulous example of a hairstyle that let the gown and accessories shine without taking a backseat itself.

2010 Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock’s sleek, perfectly finished down-do is one of my favorite formal hairstyles of all time. The look is so simple but unbelievably polished. The trick to making a basic hairstyle look sophisticated is in adding a few subtle touches: the side part creates a lovely forehead-skimming swoop, there’s a hint of volume at the back of the crown, the asymmetrical placement of some hair over one shoulder makes the hair look intentionally styled and the neatly shaped ends add drama without competing with the outfit.

2011 Kate Beckinsale

The sexy ponytail is the ultimate cool-girl hairstyle, and styled right it can really hold its own in a sea of formal updos and braided hairstyles. Glam up this old favorite by taking your cues from Kate Beckinsale’s 2011 Oscars hairstyle: create a bouffant for tons of drama, curl the ends for a fun, frisky vibe and hide the base of the ponytail by wrapping some hair around it for a polished finish.

2012 Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain makes for one of the strongest cases for red hair in Hollywood and her soft, flowing half-up-half-down hairdo from the 2012 Oscars features in just about every ‘best styled’ list there is. The subdued beehive-like volume at the crown is softened up with lots of loose, face-faming strands. The whole thing was very romantic and organic-looking.

2013 Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron’s close-cropped pixie haircut from 2013 continues to be one of my favorite short hairstyles for women ever. You want women’s cropped haircuts to exude that gamine Twiggy charm and not look too masculine and Charlize’s cut was both refreshing and delicate. With super-short haircuts there’s always the concern that you don’t have a whole lot of styling options until the length grows out, however the devil’s in the details: the slight quiff accent at the hairline and the darker roots add enough drama and flair to the look to make it red carpet-ready.

2014 Emma Watson

Emma Watson’s deconstructed ponytail from the 2014 Oscars is the perfect marriage between formal and edgy fashion statements. The artfully messy twisted and tousled part-ponytail-part-HUHD hairstyle is striking without being out of place. Emma’s stylist softened the look up with some bejeweled star-shaped barrettes, adding some interest at the back and upping the glam quotient.

2015 Gwyneth Paltrow

Mention Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar style and most people hark back to 2012 and that peerless white Tom Ford cape and gown.  My personal favorite of the actress’ Oscars style choices is this sleek, segmented down-do. Layering sections of long, straight hair creates all sorts of dimensions and beautiful volume at the crown while keeping the overall effect very smooth and pristine.

2016 Brie Larson

When Brie took home the big win last year for her performance in Room nobody was surprised. And she looked spectacular doing so. The half-up-half-down hairstyle is elegant and an excellent example of how statement hair accessories ought to be deployed. The jewel encrusted Arielle Chignon Wrap Comb by Jennifer Behr is the sort of splurge I absolutely recommend.   

I hope you have fun recreating some of these unforgettable celebrity hairstyles. Which one is your favorite? I can’t wait to see what the 2017 Oscars Red Carpet brings us later this month.