Oscars 2013: Nominee style evolutions
The 35-year-old actress was one of Hollywood's best-kept secrets until major roles in The Help, The Tree of Life, and Zero Dark Thirty planted her on every red carpet from L.A. to Cannes. Find out how she cultivated her glamorous style—and yes, we're starting at the very beginning. —Catherine Devine
2007: Gen Art Fashion Week Party
Soft, undone hair. Red lips with virtually no other makeup. A plain black halter dress. At this point in Chastain's career, her resume boasts little more than a string of TV appearances (ER, Law & Order, and Veronica Mars), and she has the minimalist look to match. The upshot? She's a perfect blank canvas.
2010: Before I Forget Something
Chastain is still in her plain-black-dress-and-barely-any-makeup phase for this film screening, but we can't help but feel a little jealous of her: That porcelain skin is flawless. (Let's just ignore the flimsy bangs and wayward curls altogether. And the weird spaghetti straps on her dress. Moving on....)
2010: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and InStyle's Miss Golden Globe 2011 Event
While Chastain's printed strapless sheath is a little too Cheetah Girls for our taste—and doesn't do her figure any favors—we're going to go ahead and applaud her beauty experimentation. Her bronzed skin and well-defined eyes are a gutsy departure.
2011: Entertainment Weekly Party
Her rising-star stock warrants taking more risks—and Chastain's starting to see some gains. This full-skirted red dress frees her from the short-and-strapless corner she had backed herself into, and her pumped-up bouffant brings some edge to an otherwise classic look.
2011: The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala
Holy smoky eyes: For someone who doesn't wear a ton of makeup, Chastain definitely knows how to play the sultry card (and the lacy Pucci dress she's wearing doesn't hurt).
2011: Tree of Life Premiere at the Cannes Film Festival
It's official: Chastain's a movie star. Accordingly, she nails the Old-Hollywood look at The Tree of Life premiere in Cannes. She's stunning in a canary yellow Zac Posen gown, a loosely curled bob, and bold red lips. Her best accessories: Brad Pitt and Sean Penn.
2011: The Help Premiere
It looks like Chastain has found her niche in Cannes. Sweetheart necklines and fitted waists highlight her curves—and this violet Oscar de la Renta gown also flatters her coloring. With her easy waves and glowing skin, she looks like a natural.
2012: Golden Globe Awards
A white-hot look to match an equally white-hot year: Best supporting actress nominee Chastain turned up for the 2012 Golden Globe Awards in a glamorous pearl-covered Givenchy gown, expertly arched brows, and blown-black hair. Tons of volume at the roots and softly flipped ends give it a '60s feel.
2012: Academy Awards
Confidence. With an Alexander McQueen dress, hair straight out of a Greek myth, and skin that actually looks like it's lit from within, Chastain proves that she's got plenty of it at the 2012 Academy Awards.
2013: Screen Actors Guild Awards
A sexier take on retro glamour, Chastain walks the carpet at the 2013 SAG Awards in a Jessica Rabbit-red McQueen dress, just-bitten berry lips, and a diamond necklace that would make Elizabeth Taylor proud.