The Best BAFTAs Beauty Looks In Recent Memory Are All So Regal

Just breathtaking.

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Michelle Yeoh curls at BAFTAs 2019

It’s not uncommon to hear Americans put the British Academy Of Film & Television’s annual award ceremony into context as “the U.K.’s Oscars” — and that’s not exactly a fair comparison. Honoring the commonwealth’s top movie talent of the past year, the black tie event is a totally distinct, unique event, with a red carpet to match. Britain’s A-listers from every industry gather together in one massive, elegant celebration, and as such, the best BAFTAs beauty looks of all time are worth revisiting.

Film industry it-girls are famous for their ability to balance age-old classics with edgier moments alike, and it’s never more evident than the BAFTAs red carpet. Makeup, for example, ranges from bright, colorful and bold from trailblazers like Scarlett Johansson and Jodie Turner-Smith, barely-there and demure as seen on low-key leading ladies like Gwyneth Paltrow and Emma Watson. Hair follows a similar pattern, but there’s one through-line that connects all of it: a more relaxed approach to the whole affair, especially compared to the ceremony’s American counterpart. It allows for a looser, fun feel that yields excellent aesthetics every single time.

Just below, take a look back through some of the best BAFTAs beauty moments in recent memory.

Elizabeth Hurley, 1997

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Nearly every late-’90s beauty trend is present in this Hurley look, which is still talked-about today. There are the side-swept fringe and skinny brows, but the best part is the matte eyeshadow-glossy lip pairing.

Gwyneth Paltrow, 1998

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Channeling her inner English Rose, Paltrow went for warm, minimalist beauty at the 1998 ceremony. With her hair pulled into a half-ponytail, she could just as easily be out for a Sunday stroll.

Scarlett Johansson, 2003

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It doesn’t get much more early ‘00s than Johansson’s Marilyn Monroe-colored curls and neon pink lipstick. The retro revival was in full swing that year, and it shows in the best way.

Thandiwe Newton, 2006

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One look that would still be a smash today is Newton’s perky ponytail, the ideal textural complement to her tulle-front gown. It remains one of the best award show updos of all time.

Keira Knightly, 2008

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Romantic doesn’t even begin to cover Knightly’s look both at the 2008 BAFTAs and simply in general. Warm-toned brunette curls practically melt into her smudgy, sultry eyeliner — and it’s all an exact match to her eye color.

Emma Watson, 2011

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Did Watson realize when she cut her hair for the first time that she would be going down in pixie history? Shown off at the 2011 ceremony to cap off the Harry Potter franchise, it’s sharp, chic, and very gamine.

Julianne Moore, 2015

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Fact: there’s nothing more stunning than a redhead leaning into her fiery coloring with matching makeup and clothes. Moore was in her fully glory in this literal head-to-toe crimson look.

Michelle Yeoh, 2019

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Regal, elegant, and more than a little ethereal, Yeoh blew fans away with this luminous look in 2019. Her skin shone with a legitimately celestial radiance, like the crystals in her gown were reflecting back up. Face-framing curls and delicate pink lipstick are the ideal finishing touches.

Jodie Turner-Smith, 2021

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Turner-Smith is one of the U.K.’s brightest stars, and she bottles that energy for all of her red carpet appearances. In 2021, she paired the glossiest, healthiest-looking curls — complete with eye-grazing fringe — with twinkly purple eyeshadow.

Kate Middleton, 2023

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Of course, no modern BAFTAs ceremony is complete without the future Queen. The Princess of Wales always works some form of her signature defined-but-not dramatic eye makeup, and it’s especially stunning with this blowout.