2012 Academy Awards Red Carpet

The biggest black-tie event of the year wrapped up another awards season yesterday evening and as expected most tuxedos seen on the 84th Annual Academy Awards red carpet were tastefully conservative.  Notable trends were the return of shawl-collar jackets (yay) and wing-collar shirts (yech).  Pocket squares were also very popular.

The Best of the Best

Gary Oldman in Paul Smith bespoke 3-piece suit with trimmed lapels and subtle polka-dot pocket square. Well done, sir.

Rapper turned director Sean Combs in Spencer Hart. Impeccable as always.

The Return of the Shawl Collar

Bret McKenzie, writer of Best Song (and very funny member of Flight of the Conchords).

Note the classic button hole in Colin Firth’s Tom Ford tuxedo.

Actor Zachary Quinto and writer J.C. Chandor.

Bradley Cooper is stunning in midnight blue.

Honorable Mentions

Brad Pitt returns to classic form with a Tom Ford peaked-lapel one-button tuxedo (which could use some shortening of the sleeves and trousers).

Also wearing Tom Ford is Tom Hanks who rocks the double-breasted look.

Gerard Butler looking as dapper as ever at the Vanity Fair after-party.

Tying One On

Tom Cruise (in Armani) and director Tate Taylor show how best to counter the banality of a long tie with a classic one-button peaked-lapel jacket.


As always, the appearance of many perfectly good outfits was ruined by an exposed shirt navel. If omitting a proper waist cover at least keep your hands out of your pockets to avoid splaying your jacket open (Jason Segel) and leave the hip-hugging trouser styles for designer jeans (Brian Selznick).

And for God’s sake keep your jacket closed (unlike Judd Apatow).

Not So Well Dressed

Jean Dujardin may have clinched Best Actor but his shirt sure isn’t going to win any awards. The wing collar is too short to properly dress the neck and the bosom too thin to properly hide the skin tone underneath.

Jonah Hill demonstrates how black-on-black demotes what should be a skillful play in contrast to an undefined bland mass. (Christian Bale also looked like a disembodied head and hands.)

If renting a tuxedo for Hollywood’s biggest night of the year isn’t bad enough, actor Matthew Lillard can’t even find one that fits.

What the hell is that?

Dishonorable Mention

Sartorially speaking, the broadcast got off to a dismal start when host Billy Crystal appeared in a white-tie outfit seemingly assembled by a part-time sales clerk at a Halloween costume shop.  The  shirt lacked the mandatory wing collar, single-link cuffs and reinforced bosom, the bow tie was pre-tied, the waistcoat extended well below the front of the tailcoat, and the coat’s arms were too long to show any shirt cuff. As a result what should have been an elegant, aristocratic ensemble was instead a sloppy, pedestrian mess.

Sadly, American presidents have been committing many of these same faux pas for years but that’s no excuse for the Oscars wardrobe department considering they executed the same outfit so well for host Hugh Jackman in 2009.


  1. Jovan

    They should have hired back the same people who dressed Hugh Jackman and the dancers in 2009. I was also quite disappointed in his “white tie” attire. I suspect they did that because they wanted him to quick change to black tie. Well… it would have been better for him to just be in black tie all night if they can’t do it right.

    Funny, when I saw Jean Dujardin’s wimpy wing collar I thought of the Black Tie Guide calling it just that. 🙂 He’s a handsome man, but a turn down collar would have looked better with his features.

    1. Peter Marshall

      You’re absolutely right about Dujardin looking better in a turndown collar. The proof is in my earlier post on this year’s Golden Globes (http://theblacktieblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/2012-golden-globes-red-carpet/).

  2. A. R.

    I didn’t see the show personally, but from what I’ve heard, creative black tie is all but dead at the awards ceremonies now. Good riddance, attached wing collars should go next.

  3. Cormac Flynn


    As usual you are a voice of sanity on this subject. (I was beginning to think that I was the only one in the world who noticed that Pitt’s pants and jacket were too long. The pants in particular ruined the line. I noticed the same about his outfit at the Golden Globes and was relieved to see Fran Lebowitz comment on it in the New York Times last week.) I thought I was losing my mind when I saw Billy Crystal on one of the “best dressed” lists. (And Jonah Hill’s “I’m in a high school production of “Guys and Dolls” made several!)

    One quibble and one question. The quibble first; did you happen to see the clip when Diddy got out his car and was being lint brushed by his staff? He turned his back to the camera and — the jacket was bunching below the collar. It looked great from the front, but I’m afraid the cut was far from perfect.

    Now the question (and I mean it seriously), why do you keep humoring the folks who insist on wearing a straight tie rather than the requisite bow-tie to black tie events. I mean, I could see it a few years back when it depressingly seemed that it might be a permanent shift in the dress code. You wanted to show how the look would best be done if that is really what we have to live with. But now it seems the tide has turned and it was just a period fad like ruffled shirts. Perhaps it would be better to stop encouraging this resistance to formality and take a harder line on the tie issue.

    Just a thought.

    1. Peter Marshall

      Cormac, I am indeed hesitant to believe that the long tie is going the way of the ruffled shirt. Although it was rare on the A-list celebrities at the Oscars it was abundant amongst the lesser known men in the audience. I also believe that it’s perfectly acceptable as an alternative for celebs that find themselves wearing black tie on a regular basis and are looking for a bit of variety. But you’re right that it should not be encouraged amongst the general public (or even amongst stars like Tom Cruise who seem to wear nothing else) so I have edited my caption for the corresponding photo appropriately. Thanks for your feedback.

  4. Jovan

    Peter: Indeed an improvement there. That was a better choice than a tiny wing collar. (Though Lanvin made a great dinner suit in both cases.) I’ll only disagree with you on the long ties — no matter how good the rest of the outfit is, those totally destroy the point of black tie IMO. I keep wishing they’d trade them in for a proper bow tie.

    A. R.: And thank goodness. I shudder to think of Daniel Day Lewis’ brown suede shoes…

    Cormac: It hurts to look at, because Brad Pitt has been so well turned out before. I don’t understand why he suddenly is wearing his sleeves and trousers too long. Though, actually, it hurts more to see his wife looking so scarily thin! I preferred Jolie pre-nose job, pre-cheek implants, and with a curvier physique. Alas, she doesn’t agree with me and it’s her body to do with as she wants, however aesthetically unappealing it may be.

    I agree with you on the long ties.

  5. Adam Williamson

    Doesn’t Colin Firth’s shirt look a bit long? I mean, the shirt / jacket ratio is correct, but it looks like the jacket’s where the shirt should be, and the shirt cuff is halfway over his hand.

    Yay nitpicking!

    I did rather like Tom Hanks’ back-to-the-1970s outfit. Didn’t rate the beard, though.

  6. Farragut Jones

    Peter — Just out of curiosity, why do you think the celebrities who know how to dress—and who can obviously afford bespoke evening attire—go with designer dinner suits (e.g. Armani or Tom Ford) instead?

    1. Peter Marshall

      From what I understand, houses like Armani and Tom Ford will actually make bespoke suits for clients so it may not be a matter of either/or. I also suspect that the celebrities get these very expensive suits at no cost in exchange for the publicity that the designer will receive.

  7. Anonymous

    You should write a post about the historic red carpet white tie

    1. Peter Marshall

      That’s a good idea.

      1. jovantheun1337

        I totally support this idea. Interested in your thoughts on things like Sidney Poitier’s white tie rig, etc.


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