February–the Little Month with Lots of Awards: From Madonna on Superbowl Sunday, to Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week Starting Thursday, to the Oscar Fashion Parade — Let the Countdowns Begin!

While two-thirds of Americans and one-quarter of people worldwide are expected to tune into today’s Superbowl – many just to catch a glimpse of the commercials and to watch Madonna’s strut her style – starting tomorrow, we at Lives of Style will be counting down to our Fashion Superbowl – Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week – which runs between 9-16 of February. But this tiny month is packed with even more style surprises at Academy Awards on February 26th.

Last Tuesday was one of the most anticipated dates on the Hollywood calendar where ”everyone who is anyone” in the film industry arose before 5AM, eagerly awaiting the announcement of the 2012 Academy Award Nominations.  The nominations once again resulted in some exciting surprises: a nomination for Jonah Hill in “Moneyball” and the best picture nod for “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” Yet there were also some disappointments such as the failure to nominate critically acclaimed performances by Tilda Swinton, Leonardo DiCaprio and Charlize Theron.

With all the excitement surrounding the upcoming Academy Awards, one noteworthy category that gets a particularly high volume of attention is the Best Actress category. Over the years the role leading fashion designers play in helping Best Actress nominees make a lasting impression on the big night has become more and more important. For example we will always remember Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar win occurred when she wore a bright pink Ralph Lauren gown and Julia Robert’s extremely animated acceptance speech for ‘Erin Brockovich” would be far less memorable if it wasn’t for the now-famous black and white vintage Valentino dress she wore on the night.

Lives of Style is all about the best in beauty, fashion, lifestyle and celebrity, so we thought it’s only fitting that we count down to the Oscars by highlighting both the careers and fashion styles of this year’s diverse and dynamic group of Best Actress nominees. This week we will kick-off our countdown by looking at the youngest and least experienced – but by no means least talented member of the group – the 26 year-old, Rooney Mara. This young Hollywood starlet had only appeared in a handful of films before landing the coveted role in the much-hyped remake of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”  The critically acclaimed film – which is on the verge of becoming a 100 million dollar hit at the domestic box-office hit – has earned Rooney rave reviews for her passionate and gritty performance as fiery bi-sexual punk goth artist and has transformed Rooney from a little known actress into an internationally recognized, Oscar-nominated celebrity.

Rooney has also received a great deal of attention for her modern and edgy dress sense and fashion-forward red carpet choices.  At this year’s Golden Globes, Rooney looked the epitome of elegance in a daring, slinky black gown by Nina Ricci and jewelry by Fred Leighton.  The rising star has developed a very unique personal style and is fast becoming one of the fashionista’s favorite young celebrities to watch.  Rooney Mara showed her keen interest in trendy fashion when she attended the Rodarte show during Mercedes-Benz NY Spring-Summer 2012 Fashion Week. Other designers that the newcomer has been spotted wearing include Calvin Klein at the CFDA Awards in New York and Givenchy Couture at the London premiere of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

Make sure to keep following our Oscar Best Actress countdown – leading up to the highly anticipated ceremony on February 26th  – as we will also take a look at the careers and unique fashion style of: Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Glenn Close and Michelle Williams.

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