The Oscars are generally an easy way of sussing out suiting trends for men: what colours we can expect to see make their way into the stores; will double-breasted ever regain that fever pitch it had back did in 2015; socks or no socks – you get the drill.
Suffice to say, unless you had a microscope handy, the 92nd Academy Awards didn't provide too much variety as far as menswear trends were concerned. It felt, and looked, very much like guests would rather be comfortable than daring. No one was chasing best on ground this year, but nor was anyone making waves with the kind of outfit that once upon a time (in Hollywood… see what I did there) would have created social media havoc.
Brad Pitt, who finally has a statue to put in the good room back home after winning Best Supporting Actor for his turn in Once Upon A Time ... in Hollywood, kept it clean and sophisticated in custom-made black velvet Brioni. It was as traditional a tux as one could get, with little in the way of flourish or fanfare. Joker-star and Best Actor winner Joaquin Phoenix looked like a tidier version of himself from controversial mockumentary I'm Still Here, sporting a black suit with Ray-Bans.
The Irishman stars Robert De Niro and Al Pacino were an evening class in good taste, with Pacino adding some signature panache with embroidered detailing on the jacket and matching black silk scarf and shirt. While I get that silk can be a bugger to keep wrinkle-free, it's still no excuse not to tuck it in.
Usually the most anticipated fashion presence on a red carpet, Timothee Chalamet ditched the suit in favour of a Prada zip-up jacket and trousers. Deliberately ignoring the dress code is a gamble regardless of the event, but Chalamet has the kind of star-power wattage that can get away with it. It's not like security weren't going to let him in, now, was it?
Spike Lee's homage to the late Kobe Bryant was the only sartorial wave in a very still ocean – the director rocked a purple suit with the late NBA star's player number 24 sewn on the lapels.
Interest in the glitter and grandeur of the Oscars has been waning over the past decade – last year was the lowest viewing numbers in the history of the broadcast. Important movies and artists are continually overlooked, revelations of a toxic culture behind the scenes that is even now being played out in court along with the kinds of movies that audiences seem willing to watch and studios keen to make (cough Marvel cough) have all contributed to a diminishing of the event's theatrical sheen.
This might be the reason we're seeing a more subdued approach to styling: just like theatre, Hollywood-made movies are still part of the arts. Could be that we're being reminded that the reason for the night isn't so much a fashion show or celebrity hoedown but to appreciate an art form that has succumbed somewhat to its own commercial needs – unless it makes massive amounts of money, it's not a success. Call it the Star Wars effect. The Academy Awards are technically meant to reward artistic practice, not profitability.
So while we might be seeing a rise in better quality films as directors and actors attempt to reclaim the authenticity of their craft, this might make for a few years of quieter red carpets. Putting on make-up and playing pretend is a serious business, after all.
Check out the gallery up top to see the best dressed men at the 92nd Academy Awards.