Oscars 2012: Best-dressed men and Tom Hanks '6' lapel pin [Updated]
Among the most memorable men (and amphibians) at last night's Academy Awards were a Brooks Brothers-wearing Kermit the Frog; Colin Firth, who set the standard in Tom Ford*; and Christopher Plummer, who was twice a winner. Plummer won as supporting actor; the 82-year-old Captain Von Dapper's second "win" was when he took the stage in a midnight blue velvet tuxedo accented by a whimsical flower-petal lapel pin, proving that true style never has an expiration date. (And the acceptance speech mention that his wife deserved the Nobel Prize? That's hands-down as classy as it gets.)
Another standout was best actor nominee Gary Oldman, whom we'd seen a couple of times in the pre-Oscars swirl earlier in the week. First, it was at a star-studded dinner hosted by Vanity Fair, Oxfam America and Italian luxury brand Ermenegildo Zegna (which Times fashion critic Booth Moore, wrote about here). The following night we spotted him at a party at the Paul Smith boutique on Melrose Avenue, where photographs from the set of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" taken by Oldman and Jack English were on display. Smith, as we mentioned in December, served as a consultant to director Tomas Alfredson in the development stages of the film and helped him capture the mood and feel of 1970s-era London. (The exhibition will remain up at the boutique at 8221 Melrose Ave., L.A., through March 12.)
And, although Oldman ultimately went home without an Oscar, he ranks near the top of our best-dressed men with his choice of a Paul Smith Bespoke tuxedo, a three-piece number in black mohair with a notch-lapel jacket with midnight blue contrast taping that was an exercise in George Smiley-worthy subtlety, and accented with a polka-dot pocket square.
Speaking of numbers, Twitter was abuzz last night about the meaning of the metallic numeral 6 lapel pin Tom Hanks was wearing when he took the stage. "It was for the veterans' 'got your 6' campaign," we were informed by Hanks' publicist this morning, with no further explanation.
Based on our parsing of military jargon, the term "I've got your 6" derives from pilots' use of clock points to describe directions. For example, if a plane is at your 12 o'clock, that would put it directly in front of you. If it's at your 6 o'clock, it's directly behind you, so someone who says they've "got your 6 o'clock" is essentially letting you know they've "got your back," i.e. they're looking out for you.
Although Hanks' camp hasn't provided any additional details as to the provenance of the pin -- or what veterans'-related group, cause or upcoming campaign it might be for -- there could hardly have been a higher-profile lapel top serve as its launchpad. That's why we feel pretty certain there will be all sorts of sixs popping up in can't-miss locations before our curiosity is finally satisfied.
And finally, while we don't like to focus on the negative, Sacha Baron Cohen's red carpet turn as his character from "The Dictator" forced our hand. Before his dust-up with Ryan Seacrest (of which we heartily approved, by the way), he was asked who had made his suit. "John Galliano, but the socks are from Kmart," was the response, which not only wasn't funny in the least, it paled in comparison to some of the spur-of-the-moment descriptions and suggestions ("dictator chic" and the like) that were being floated around the Twitterverse.
Frankly, given the perennial military influences in menswear, and the current range of strongman style he could choose from (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Members' Only jackets come to mind) relying on a boxy, poorly tailored suit that looked like it came from a thrift store was simply phoning it in. (We can only guess that he was wearing an actual tuxedo underneath for a quick costume change, but we never saw evidence of that.)
It should serve as a reminder that it doesn't really matter whether you're headed to the Academy Award red carpet as a nominee -- or simply to plug your movie (which, we don't mind -- there should be more shameless plugs just to spice things up), your clothes -- and your jokes -- should be exquisitely tailored.
Anything else is inexcusable sloppiness.
-- Adam Tschorn
*[Updated 2/28/2012, 7:39 a.m.: In an earlier version of this post,the tuxedo worn by Colin Firth was incorrectly identified. It was a Tom Ford tuxedo, not Ermenegildo Zegna.]
Photos: Top left, Colin and Livia Firth arrive at the 84th Academy Awards; credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times. Top right, Tom Hanks sporting a numeral 6 lapel pin that had social media abuzz wondering about its meaning; credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times. Middle, Christopher Plummer in a midnight blue velvet tuxedo; credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times. Bottom, Gary Oldman with wife Alexandra Edenborough; credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times