The James Clayton Column: Exclusive! Oscar outfits revealed!

The Oscars are approaching, and the stars are choosing their outfits. Will we see James Franco in a boy scout uniform? James thinks so…

Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!

What’s that buzzing? No, it’s not Brundlefly waking up. No, it’s not those bees that bothered Nic Cage and his bear suit in The Wicker Man remake. It is, of course, Oscar buzz and it’s buzzing out of every media outlet imaginable with a vengeance! Buzz buzz buzz!

And what’s the buzz? Tell me what’s a-happenin’. Well, it isn’t about all the great motion pictures that have been made and released recently, and it isn’t about who and what is actually going to win an Academy Award. It’s really all about what they’re wearing.

Fashion, darling! This whole elaborate affair of industry circle jerking, gong giving and Hollywood high society is just an excuse to host a massive fancy dress party. The key concern is the clothing and the shoes. It’s a red carpet catwalk event and the award ceremony and after parties are like accessories to add a little colour and extra entertainment.

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“So, what are the stars going to be wearing?” I hear the buzz, erm, buzz. Luckily enough, I can offer some exclusive behind-the-scenes insight into the upcoming fashion extravaganza. Thanks to received insider information and a strange, yet auspicious accident, I can tell you about a few of the guests’ sartorial plans.

As I was walking past a large streetside newspaper stand the other day, the gossip magazine rack spontaneously erupted. I assume that the Oscar buzz contained within the glossy pages was too much to hold in and that, consequently, the result was this phenomenal outburst of tabloid terrorism. It looked a bit like the scene in Inception, where everything explodes around a Paris café before Ellen Page decides that Paris shouldn’t be exploding everywhere but folding in on itself.

After a psychedelic flash, I found myself waking up in a secret underground warehouse gazing dazedly into the enormous bespectacled eyes of Edna Mode. The eccentric costume designer from The Incredibles quickly and abruptly explained that, in getting whacked by a copy of Italian Vogue, my third eye chakra had been nudged and subsequently I’d slipped into an out-of-body experience and gone astral travelling.

While my regular body lay cataleptic on the curb by the newspaper rack, my consciousness was now in possession of Edna’s 18-year-old Brazilian personal assistant. A quick physical check affirmed that, yes, I was, indeed, now a 6’2″ ebony Amazon queen with an amazing pair of breasts. I didn’t have long to ponder on this ropey body swap romcom scenario, though, as Ms. Mode quickly proceeded to pull me into a private presentation of her latest creations.

Mad Edna has made original outfits for a select few stars and interpreted my arrival across astral planes as an omen that she should offer an advance preview. Having got a sneak peak, I’m happy to provide this exclusive report on the fashion choices of the following film figures…

Colin Firth

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Riding waves of adulation after his regal turn as George VI (a.k.a. B-B-Bertie), Firth has been keeping things quite dapper and formal in the public eye. This tuxedo and oh-so-terribly-British restraint will be tossed to the corgis come Oscar night, though. To cause a stir he’s going to completely abandon all inhibitions and opt for a regal ensemble inspired by The Emperor’s New Clothes: shiny crown and birthday suit.

Of course, full frontal nudity isn’t acceptable on mainstream TV and doesn’t constitute much of a costume design challenge, so Mode has made a marvellous hairpiece to cover Colin’s modesty. The excess phlegm produced by the actor while stuttering his way through The King’s Speech has been used to gel this astounding golden codpiece together and ensure it retains shape, position and consistency. The overall effect is majestic, like an aurous Ewok attached to Firth’s groin.

Melissa Leo

Conventionally, gentlemen wear sharp dinner suits and ladies wear elegant gowns and dresses at these ritzy events, but the Best Supporting Actress nominee who impressed in The Fighter is keeping it real. Her character Alice Ward, mother to boxing brothers, Dicky Eklund and “Irish” Micky Ward, is probably best described as ‘power tripping rough housin’ white trash bitch from hell’ (Downtown Lowell, Massachusetts) and her clothing choice aims to stay true to the character and film that’s brought her fresh acclaim.

Edna has conjured up a creation that riffs on early 90s urban ghetto junkie chic. Looking like an older, female version of Christian Bale’s Dicky, Leo will be wearing multicoloured baggy pants, a sweaty old Boston Celtics basketball jersey and a neon pink cap tweaked backwards. Mode hasn’t prepared footwear. The actress intends to snatch some sneakers from one of the neighbourhood crackheads on the way to the ceremony.

The Coen Brothers

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Dripping in Western style, True Grit is fancy dress fabulous. Jeff Bridges has an eyepatch! Barry Pepper has bad teeth! Dandy Matt Damon has jingle-jangle bootspurs! However, the most outstanding costume in the film comes when the bearded Bear Man makes his surreal cameo appearance with a dead body in tow (cost: two dental mirrors and a bottle of expectorant, apparently).

Ever enigmatic and inspired by a shared eye for the sublimely absurd, the Brothers Coen will be suited in matching Mode-tailored grizzly get-up on Oscar night. The directorial duo are thus going to provide Hollywood’s finest bear suit moment since Nicolas Cage went bee sting bonkers in The Wicker Man.

James Franco

The host of this year’s Academy Awards is also thinking bear, specifically, Bear Grylls. Having played intrepid canyon climber, Aron Ralston, in 127 Hours, the Best Actor nominee will be adopting an outdoors adventurer look and dressing like a boy scout. Mode calls this ‘Cub couture’.

Wearing long socks, short shorts, a nifty striped neckerchief and special commemorative sash, Franco will be proudly bearing his prestigious badges of merit. (Namely, badges for ‘Survival Skills’, ‘Emergency Self-Surgery’, ‘Choc-Fudge Brownie Baking’ and ‘Performance as a Spider-Man Villain’.)

Natalie Portman

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This year’s star with the most surrounding buzz is Best Actress nominee Portman following her performance as prima ballerina Nina Sayers in Darren Aronofsky’s dark horror Black Swan.Trashing tutu vogue, Edna has drawn upon the psychological themes of the film and designed a gown of shattered mirror shards to symbolise broken aspirations and fragile, fragmented identity.

The red carpet should, hopefully, hide the streams of blood trailing behind prickled Portman when she makes her grand entrance. Looking good hurts. Fashion is brutal.

And I’ll be at the Oscars in the body of a beautiful Amazonian colossus. Keep your eyes on the red carpet. It’ll be trés fabuleaux, darling.

James’ previous column can be found here.

You can reach James on his Twitter feed here, see his film cartoons here and more sketches here.

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