The trail to an Oscar may be lengthy and winding or sudden and quick, however regardless of the route, it ends on a pink carpet guarded by lots of of photographers.
“I actually walked in right here and the primary individual I noticed was you,” Lucas Hedges, a greatest supporting actor nominee for “Manchester by the Sea,” stated to Ryan Seacrest, the night’s unofficial interrogator in chief. Earlier than the stage, earlier than inevitable delays, earlier than teary speeches, there’s the query of costume: Who’re you carrying? (It is without doubt one of the night’s odd ironies that that is the one query Mr. Seacrest habitually forgets to ask.)
So they arrive and parade, divided, by and enormous, between the princessy and the sultry: those that maneuver their huge ball skirts (Janelle Monáe in Elie Saab, Kirsten Dunst in Dior, Leslie Mann in Zac Posen) and people who strut in attire glossy, slinky, usually high-slit or sheer (Nicole Kidman in peachy Armani Privé, Naomie Harris in white sequined Calvin Klein, Taraji P. Henson in plunging, blue-velvet Alberta Ferretti, the night’s early standout).
They clutched night luggage and suffered in silence in what had been virtually definitely uncomfortable sneakers — save Octavia Spencer, the “Hidden Figures” greatest supporting actress nominee, in feather-frilled Marchesa, who stated her forgiving Stuart Weitzman sneakers made her “a really blissful lady proper now.” A number of outfits had been pinned with a blue ribbon, to point out help for the American Civil Liberties Union.
Developments are inclined to fall by the wayside, although this yr many caught to black (Ms. Dunst, final yr’s greatest actress winner Brie Larson), white (Ms. Harris, the mannequin Karlie Kloss, Chrissy Teigen) and optimistic Oscar gold (Emma Stone, in flapper-fringed Givenchy). Ruth Negga, a greatest actress nominee for “Loving,” was a welcome flash of shade in pink Valentino; likewise Viola Davis, in pink Armani Privé.
“I’m in love,” Ms. Negga advised the cameras on her manner into the present — along with her costume.
That love is the work, months within the making, of a small military of stylists, designers, brokers and publicists conspiring to decorate the night’s stars and drape them in tens of millions of ’ value of borrowed jewels. (“There’s like 20 bodyguards following me round for this,” Dakota Johnson, a presenter, advised Mr. Seacrest about her Cartier jewellery.) A whole business spins round securing the starlets and a second of media airtime through which they dutifully recite their labels. The times of Edith Head, the good midcentury costume designer (and eight-time Oscar winner), whipping up a robe for certainly one of her actresses are lengthy previously. Clothes are massive enterprise, and Oscar attire the largest of all. Not for nothing did the costume designer Lizzy Gardiner present as much as acquire her Oscar in 1995 in a sheath customized product of Amex Gold playing cards.
With equipment so grand, competitors is fierce and tempers run sizzling. Simply earlier than the Oscars, Karl Lagerfeld, the designer of Chanel, touched off a global incident by claiming, in Girls’s Put on Day by day, that Meryl Streep commissioned, after which declined to put on, certainly one of his robes, saying she had been paid to put on one by one other designer. Ms. Streep fired again, in no unsure phrases, in Folks. (Mr. Lagerfeld apologized.)
Ms. Streep, for the file, there to have fun her 20th Oscar nomination, finally selected a robe by Mr. Saab. “Good costume, by the best way,” Jimmy Kimmel, the night’s host, known as out from the stage. “Is that an Ivanka?”
Subsequent to those flaring passions, most males correctly embrace a coverage of decorous restraint. A foray into navy from fundamental black was so far as many males dared. (Pharrell Williams, in chain-bedecked Chanel, shouldn’t be many males.)
Casey Affleck, a greatest actor nominee, had gone to the Impartial Spirit Awards the day earlier than carrying, in a extra impartial spirit, a shirt of his personal design that spelled out “love” in Arabic. Right here he opted for a Louis Vuitton tuxedo with the basic bow tie and studs. Mahershala Ali, who took one of the best supporting actor trophy early within the night, went, as he usually has this awards season, for Ermenegildo Zegna, this time in black on black.
A minimum of one nominee went even lower-key. “I bought my tux at San Marko in Yonkers, N.Y.,” Lin-Manuel Miranda, up for the award for greatest authentic tune, advised Mr. Seacrest, “the place I bought my promenade tux in 1998.”