The fashion focus of the Academy Awards has always been — and always will be — on what the women who attend wear. This reality has nothing to do with sexism and everything to with the dictates of formalwear. Here the fairer sex has a leg up (
And for the lucky women who end up taking home lead-actress Oscar gold, a statement-making red carpet ensemble has the potential to be fixed forever in the collective consciousness, the details of their dresses imprinted forever in our memory even while the specifics of their award-winning performances grow cloudy.
The pink taffeta Ralph Lauren gown
On the men’s side? Not so much. Compared with the couture-level confections worn by the ladies, what the guys wear comes across as a parade of penguin-suit sameness, with differences measured in millimeters and lapel shapes and a color palette that rarely strays from the darkest shades of blue or black. Don’t believe us? Try to remember what
Consider it an achievement if you knew, with any reasonable degree of certainty, that DiCaprio wore a classic black tuxedo. But it’s highly unlikely you’d remember, specifically, that it was a made-to-measure black, textured-fabric, peak-lapel tuxedo by Giorgio
Dial it back one more year and even if we threatened you with an endless loop of his
On the other hand, McConaughey's wardrobe choice might very well have caught your attention, especially because he's the only leading actor winner since 1996 to win while wearing a white tuxedo jacket. That's just one of the things that came to light after taking a look back at the winner's-circle wardrobe, specifically the men who took home leading actor Academy Awards between 1996 and 2016, to see what might have been missed while spilling ink and slinging pixels on the women's gowns.
And, as it turns out, the winners have a good deal more in common than winning hardware. For starters, 67% of those lead actor winners (14 in all) showed up in a classic black tuxedo the year they took home Oscar gold. Five went with shades of blue — joining Redmayne in the blue-man group were
Over those same two decades, the black bow tie was the overwhelming (and wholly unsurprising) neckwear of choice, accessorizing 57% of lead actor winners, with just over half (52%) favoring tuxedo jackets with peak lapels (as opposed to notch lapel or shawl collar styles). And the tux shirt preferences are pretty black-and-white, as in, a whopping 85% of winners opted for a traditional white shirt, and just two shirting mavericks (
And, while the provenance of the tuxedos was truly varied (Cerruti, Valentino, Calvin Klein, Gucci, Lanvin, Hugo Boss and Tom Ford were all in the mix as well as the aforementioned labels; the only tux we couldn't identify with any degree of certainty was the one worn by Hoffman in 2006), one name appeared most frequently: Giorgio Armani.
The 42-year-old Italian luxury label ended up being the tuxedo of choice for an impressive 38% of the lead actor Oscar winners since 1996. Tied for second, with two tuxes each were Cerruti (
In addition to DiCaprio last year, the Armani wearers include Sean Penn (who wore the label when he won in 2004 and again in 2009), Denzel Washington (2002),
Additionally, in that same period, 33% of the supporting actor winners took home trophies while wearing Armani tuxedos: George Clooney (in 2006),
For the superstitious sort, those crunched numbers might push a classic black Giorgio Armani tuxedo (peak lapels, worn with a white dress shirt and black bow tie) into "lucky tux" territory — the kind of thing future nominees should keep in mind when suiting up for the big day. The reality, of course, is much more mundane. Much like leaving a Bond film determined to order all future martinis "shaken not stirred," when a guy chooses to shrug into an Armani tuxedo he's seen worn by so many winners, it's building self-confidence. And that will put an actor in the wardrobe winner's circle every time.
No acceptance speech necessary.
For more musings on all things fashion and style, follow me at @ARTschorn.