Could Brad Pitt Wear a T-Shirt and Jeans to the Oscars If He Wanted To?

At least one Oscar winner has openly flouted the Academy's stuffy dress code; can you guess who?

By Leslie Gornstein Jan 22, 2012 5:03 PMTags
Brad PittJason Merritt/Getty Images

Is there an official or unofficial dress code for these Hollywood awards shows?
—Debbie P., via Facebook

There's always an unofficial dress code, at least. For ladies attending the Oscars, for example, it's "borrow as much haute couture as you can get away with."

But given all that, you'd be shocked at what at least some red carpet denizens have managed to wear, even on Oscar night:

The most important ceremony of the season is the Academy Awards, of course. The Academy was too important to answer your question directly, but it is generally assumed that the event is black tie. (That doesn't mean that every male attendee wears a tux, of course, or that Brad Pitt couldn't wear a T-shirt and board shorts. But stars don't usually wear flip-flops either.)

Even the media is required to dress up, just to breathe the same air as the people on the red carpet.

And yes, violators in the media have been known to be turned away.

Back in the 1960s, Oscar costume supervisors would send out notes to people planning to attend the ceremony, just to make sure that nobody embarrassed themselves.

"Actresses are requested to wear formal evening gowns either maxi or floor length," one such dictum read, "preferably pastel shades, since the setting is very formal and done entirely in white and gold. As you know, long dresses (no mini or day length) are more graceful on stage and on camera in this type of background.

"The Academy feels that the dignity of this traditional affair on our 40th Anniversary deserves formal dress. Men are expected to wear white tie with conventional formal evening accessories."

Cut to 2006, and a prime example that the rules for Oscars have been...relaxed.

That year, writer Larry McMurtry won an Oscar for his work on the screen adaptation of Brokeback Mountain. He made his speech clad in a dinner jacket, tie, jeans and boots.

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