Monica Corcoran is contributing to Deadline’s Golden Globe coverage.

It wasn’t the best of dresses or the worst of dresses. Rather, this year’s red carpet at the Golden Globes felt more like a Baltimore debutante ball than a ribald Hollywood awards show. Updos didn’t crest like tsunamis, diamonds seemed to be hibernating, and the only cleavage worth ogling came compliments of Sofia Vergara and Salma Hayek.

Diane Lane, Golden GlobesIf nothing else, a nude dress contrasts well with the red carpet. But a bevy of blush gowns hardly induces fashion envy. Charlize Theron, Angelina Jolie, Kristen Wiig and Kate Beckinsale all chose the tame epidermis hue, though Jolie’s slash of crimson at the neckline of her Atelier Versace gown — like a gash to her clavicle — certainly added Shakespearean drama. Purple, too, made a popular showing among nominees like Octavia Spencer, Shailene Woodley, Julianna Margulies and Emma Stone. (The royal color has been heralded as the “it” shade for spring.) Metallics, an awards-show favorite and a shortcut to glamour, turned up on Diane Lane (pictured right), Madonna, Lea Michele and Nicole Richie. Lane’s gilded Reem Acra aced best dress; Michele’s risque molten silver Marchesa didn’t work because the young actress tried to outshine it. Shades of blue — from navy to cerulean — also proved a popular choice. Jodie Foster, bedecked in a beaded teal Giorgio Armani gown with a strapless corset and a cinched waist, looked feminine and unflappable.

Madonna, Golden GlobesAs for skin, there were few plunging necklines. Sigh. Jolie, Jessica Biel and Viola Davis relied on center or side-slits to bare a bit of gam, and it was much appreciated. Rooney Mara’s tough-girl-next-door black Nina Ricci offered glimpses of her skim milk torso, with its bondage-like chiffon cut outs. Glee’s Dianna Agron and Michele competed for squint-worthy exhibitionism with their laser-cut gowns, but neither quickened my pulse. When it came to jewels, oversized earrings stole the show. FYI: If the unemployment rate hovers at 8.5%, stars tend to wisely eschew the quail egg-sized diamonds and blinding ruby chokers. Then, there’s Madonna. The best original song in a motion picture winner wore $2.5 million worth of Neil Lane gems, including half a dozen diamond and platinum cuff bracelets. Material girl, indeed.

In the end, I say, “all hail Tilda Swinton.” The statuesque fashion-forward icon — with the arm span of a yeti — didn’t disappoint in an ice blue Haider Ackerman skirt suit with strong, sharp shoulders. The red carpet always seems to part for Swinton and she deserves it.

Nid
3 years
Tilda Swinton? I kept thinking David Bowie! Uggie - best dressedof all
Jewel
3 years
Yes, Charlize was very pretty and feminine. I couldn't decide if she looked the most fabulous, or...
tracy
3 years
Some really gorgeous gowns last night. Beautiful gown worn by Angelina but girl you need to eat...

Here’s the list of who wore who:

Emma Stone
Beaded, cap sleeved purple and fuchsia chiffon Lanvin with a jeweled belt.

Madonna
Reem Acra dress with a metallic bodice and forest green skirt, one perplexing fingerless glove and Neil Lane gems.

Jessica Alba
Pale purple Gucci gown with a beaded overlay and fish tail; Bulgari jewels.

Dianna Agron, Golden GlobesDianna Agron
Fire red Gilles Deacon gownwith laser-cut swans and Fred Leighton jewels.

Glenn Close
Navy blue velvet Giorgio Armani Prive gown with crystal-embedded bust and matching bolero jacket.

Viola Davis
One-shouldered bordeaux chiffon gown, custom-designed by Emilio Pucci.

Jodie Foster
Teal beaded, custom-designed Giorgio Armani gown with crescent-shaped bustier and side ruffle.

Tilda Swinton
Ice blue skirt and matching jacket by Haider Ackerman with Fred Leighton jewels.

Salma Hayek
Art deco-inspired black and gold Gucci gown.

Jane Lynch
Midnight blue David Meister dress with Lorraine Schwartz jewels.

Paula Patton
Canary yellow Monique Lhuillier gown with Kwiat diamond earrings.

Nicole Kidman
Dove-grey Grecian Versace with gold stud inlay and Fred Leighton jewels.

Angelina Jolie, Golden GlobesAngelina Jolie
Atelier Versace blush column gown with a swath of red at the neckline.

Freida Pinto
Prada bustier strapless silk gown with a duchess satin belt.

Zooey Deschanel
Emerald and black glass beaded Prada dress with an ivory pearl embroidered collar.

Sofia Vergara, Golden GlobesSofia Vergara
Fitted Vera Wang dark blue dress with mermaid tail and Harry Winston diamond earrings and cuffs.

Julie Bowen
Reem Acra peach tulle dress with beaded cap sleeves.

Sarah Michelle Gellar
Tie-dye cobalt blue and white Monique Lhuillier gown with Bulgari jewels.

Diane Lane
Reem Acra gold beaded gown.

Nicole Richie
Silver mesh Julien Macdonald gown.

Rooney Mara, Golden GlobesRooney Mara
Black chiffon Nina Ricci gown from pre-fall 2012 collection with cut outs at midriff.

Charlize Theron
Blush Dior Couture gown with a bow on her right hip; diamond headpiece and jewels from Cartier archives.

Berenice Bejo
Midnight blue strapless silk organza Gucci gown with Chopard jewels.

Shailene Woodley
Lilac Marchesa gown with jeweled bodice.

Julianna Margulies
Purple, long sleeved Naeem Khan dress.

Octavia Spencer, Golden GlobesOctavia Spencer
Lavender draped Tadashi Shoji gown with Irene Neuwirth jewels.

Melissa McCarthy
Olive green, long sleeved Badgley Mischka gown with jeweled neckline.

Claire Danes, Golden GlobesClaire Danes
J. Mendel backless white and black gown with Bulgari jewels.

Jessica Chastain
White high collared Givenchy gown with Harry Winston pearls.

Michelle Williams
Jason Wu long sleeved burnout velvet gown with vintage Fred Leighton head band.

Reese Witherspoon, Golden GlobesReese Witherspoon
Bold red fitted Zac Posen gown with strapless heart bodice.

Mila Kunis
One-shoulder black chiffon Dior dress with Cartier jewels.

Kate Beckinsale
Blush, beaded Roberto Cavalli dress with Lorraine Schwartz jewels

(Photos: Getty Images)