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Oscar facial fashion: goatee, Van Dyke or door-knocker?

February 22, 2009 |  8:49 pm

OnRage_rourkee of the more interesting trends among the men on the red carpet at tonight's 81st Academy Awards was the mix of upper lip/chin hair commonly described -- often incorrectly -- as a "goatee." Nominees Mickey Rourke, Josh Brolin, Brad Pitt and Peter Gabriel were all showcasing variations of facial hair that fell short of a full beard but were more than a simple mustache. And, just now, Will Smith took to the stage as a presenter sporting similar whiskers.

Rourke's style -- a mustache paired with a separate chin beard (think Col. Sanders) -- is known generally as a "Van Dyck" (or "Van Dyke"), after 17th-century Flemish painter Anthony vanRage_brolin_3 Dyck, though some might argue that the thin, narrow nature of Rourke's mustache and diamond-shape beard actually qualifies it as a sub-style of the Van Dyke called a "musketeer."

Such a chin beard -- sans 'stache -- would be a goatee, said to be named for its resemblance to the tuft of hair on a goat's chin.

The style worn by Brolin, Pitt, Gabriel (as well as presenter Will Smith and Sir Ben Kingsley) -- where the mustache frames the mouth and connects to the beard in a rough approximation of a circle -- is more accurately known as a "circle beard," and referred to in various corners of the beard-growing universe as a "door-knocker," "moutee," and, in Spanish, Rage_pittthe "barba candado" (padlock beard).

And, just for the record, we have no idea what to call the two-tone, faux-Phoenix face wig that Ben Stiller was sporting (maybe the "Unabomber") but Adrien Brody's clearly been working his way to a full-on Rasputin beard in the works.

-- Adam Tschorn

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Red carpet glamour rules the night

Photos from top: Mickey Rourke by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images, Josh Brolin by Chris Pizzello/Associated Press, Brad Pitt by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images, all at the 81st Academy Awards on February 22, 2009.

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