AWARD SHOW FASHION TIP OF THE WEEK: SOMETIMES IT'S NOT what you wear that counts, but what you don't wear. Take ER's Julianna Margulies, who swapped her hospital scrubs for a tight-as-a-tourniquet Valentino gown at the 4th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on March 8. "I don't have any underwear on," confessed the winner of best female actor in a TV drama. "You can't wear anything under a dress like this. It'll show."

Margulies wasn't the only one letting it all hang out at the ceremonies, a festive affair with all the glamor but none of the gut-twisting anxiety of the Oscars. Among the TV and movie stars honored at L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium (winners are voted on by the Guild's 90,000 members) were several sentimental favorites: Jack Nicholson (best actor for As Good as It Gets), Elizabeth Taylor (who, at home healing from hip and back injuries, sent Gregory Peck to pick up her life achievement award), and Gloria Stuart (best supporting actress for Titanic). "I've waited 60 years for a moment like this," said the misty-eyed actress. Even the gang from Seinfeld, saluted as best cast in a TV comedy, got serious—briefly—during the awards. "It's like getting up from a table after a good meal," said Julia Louis-Dreyfus of the show's end. "It's nice to get up before you're really too full, and that's what this feels like."

Ally McBeal's Courtney Thorne-Smith, tucked into a tight champagne-colored Escada, also opted for temperance: Anticipating the lavish spread at the postshow party (cosponsored by PEOPLE), she planned to put off dinner. "I'm very busy holding in my stomach," she explained. Which brings us to Award Show Fashion Tip No. 2: Sometimes you have to suffer to look your best. "I'm walking around wearing 50 pounds of sequins," groaned Good Will Hunting's Minnie Driver, of her silver Mila Schön dress. "I may develop osteoporosis by morning."

ALEX TRESNIOWSKI
STEVEN COJOCARU and MONICA RIZZO in Los Angeles

  • Contributors:
  • Steven Cojocaru,
  • Monica Rizzo.