The men hitting the red carpet at the 87th Academy Awards seemed to be divided into two broad camps. The overwhelming majority were traditionalists, arriving dutifully in their mostly unremarkable, mostly black, peak-lapel tuxedos.
But there were also a few were sartorial risk-takers, thrill-seekers and envelope pushers – guys who managed to spin the sartorial color wheel to good effect or tweak the details of their tux just enough to stand out without sticking out.
And then there were a few real head-scratchers, too.
There were two notable trends among the old-school crew. The first was an unusual number of tuxedo Jackets with a shawl-collar lapel. Among those going shawl Sunday evening were nominee Benedict Cumberbatch, Adam Levine (in Giorgio Armani), nominee and presenter John Legend (Gucci), Channing Tatum (Dolce & Gabbana), Chris Pratt (Tom Ford) and Ethan Hawke (Prada).
Oscar host Neil Patrick Harris even managed to double-down on the shawl-collar tuxedo – arriving in gray flannel number by Brunello Cucinelli, which, by the time he'd hit the stage for the opening musical number, had been swapped out for a black shawl-collar tuxedo.
The pocket square also seemed to be having a moment among the menfolk in the form of a crisp white horizontal stripe in the breast pocket It was a simple exercise in accessorizing that helped add a dash of dapper to at least a dozen dudes including Chris Pratt, Mark Ruffalo, presenter Terence Howard, and nominees Michael Keaton, Robert Duvall and Steve Carell.
There was one man among the safely-dressed set that deserves special mention: presenter Josh Hutcherson who hit the carpet in a midnight blue, one-button, peak-lapel tuxedo with grosgrain lapel details and grosgrain bow tie from Ermenegildo Zegna Couture. The combination of the perfect-fitting tux, the faintest trace of facial hair and hair that was groomed back neatly resulted in a look that was classic Hollywood glamour at its finest.
Nominee Common straddled the two camps, opting for a navy velvet Prada dinner jacket and white bib-front shirt but switching things up ever so slightly by opting for a white satin bow tie. Contrast that with Kevin Hart's ensemble – literally since Hart's outfit was practically a photo-negative of Common's – consisting of a white jacket with a contrasting peak lapel. The color of the lapel, combined with a black shirt and black bowtie resulted in an unfortunate bib-like look that was way out of proportion with the actor's physique.
Perennial risk-taker Jared Leto arrived to the festivities in a light lavender-hued shawl collar tuxedo paired with a white shirt, white bow tie and what appeared to be diamond stud tuxedo buttons. It was a custom Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci tuxedo and a bold move that had social media abuzz with comparisons to prom-wear of yesteryear. Strictly speaking, on any other human being on the planet this pale purple ensemble would be considered an unmitigated failure. But Leto's combination of rock-star looks and charisma somehow make it work. All that can be said is that no one else should attempt to duplicate this look lest they end looking like an ice cream push cart vendor.
But the standout risk-taker of the evening had to be actor David Oyelowo, who hit the red carpet wearing a red, one-button, shawl-collar Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo, white dress shirt, red waistcoat and red silk bow tie. Not your run-of-the-mill men's formalwear to be sure, but why should women have a monopoly on the red carpet's red threads?