At risk of both offending Tim Gunn and exposing myself as a fashion moron, there really aren't too many differences in men's suits and tuxedos. At least not in the suits and tuxes you'd catch any non-ridiculous celebrity wearing in public. After all, there's a reason male models are as rare as tearless episodes on Project Runway, and why Joan Rivers' fashion police rarely call men in front of their verbal firing squad.
So outside of a loud-colored tux, a male Hollywood star's best chance of making red-carpet headlines is to bring a date that leaves people talking. Plenty of actors have hopped out of plenty of limos with plenty of impossibly beautiful women on their arms, but some have gone in a different direction: They brought their moms to the show. Before the 84th Academy Awards air this Sunday, Feb. 26 on ABC (7 p.m. ET), here are some memorable leading men and the "safe" dates they brought to the Oscars.
"Of course I would take my mum down the red carpet." That's what Fassbender told reporters last month, before he was officially named a Best Actor Oscar nominee for his role in Shame. Now that it's official, I'm guessing the guy isn't going to break a promise (even if it wasn't a direct promise) to his mother.
There's a PR benefit to this, too. I've read that Fassbender is trying to get people to focus on his acting performance in Shame and downplay all the attention that his "exposure" during the film has received. Taking his mother, Adele, to the Oscars certainly eliminates some of the off-color jokes people might have cooked up and makes him appear more like a wholesome guy who's not really a sex addict like his movie character.
In 1999, the year he won Best Actor for his role in American Beauty, Spacey's date to the Oscars was his mother, Kathleen. (She passed away in 2003.) Who knew Keyser Söze was the type of guy to bring along Mom to an awards show?
I've heard Baldwin tell a few endearing stories about his mother, Carol, on talk shows and in interviews. So I'm guessing she's nothing like the nightmare of a mom his Jack Donaghy character has on 30 Rock. Considering she had four sons who grew up to be movie stars -- well, maybe Billy Baldwin doesn't quite make the "star" roster -- Carol was probably due to walk the Oscars red carpet sooner or later.
Nominated for Best Actor in 2010 for his role in The Hurt Locker, breakout star Jeremy Renner brought his mother, Valerie, as his Oscars date. And in a show of thoughtful consideration any mother would appreciate, Renner even gave his mom the chance to practice the red-carpet walk: He escorted her to a pre-Oscars reception a few days before the big show so she wouldn't be totally out of her element in front of the real paparazzi swarm.
Something tells me Russell Brand will be one of those celebs who isn't going to be famous enough to get an Oscar invite in a few years, so maybe it was good that he brought his mom, Barbara, to the show in 2011 before those invites stop showing up.
This one didn't surprise me at all. Remember that episode of Punk'd when Ashton Kutcher tricked Timberlake into thinking a bunch of his stuff was being repossessed? Before he went into a full emotional breakdown, the first person Timberlake called was his mom, Lynn. The full-time singer turned almost full-time actor escorted Lynn to the 2011 Oscars as his date instead of girlfriend Jessica Biel.
Yes, sometimes the ladies bring their parents to the red carpet as well. Portman, the 2011 Best Actress winner for Black Swan, made her big moment an entire family affair. Not only did Portman bring her parents, mother Shelley (who's also her agent) and father Avner, but she also accepted her first Academy Award while pregnant with her son, Aleph. The kid might hold some kind of record as the youngest person to make it onto the Oscars stage.