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The Oscar winner these men wouldn’t applaud

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Among the numerous happy stories to come out of the 2016 Oscars was a disappointing show of shallowness from the Hollywood audience.

When British costume designer Jenny Beavan walked to the stage to accept her second Academy Award (from a staggering 10 nominations), the camera caught a number of high-profile men who were too busy giving Beavan the stink-eye to clap her.

Oscar-winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu was among the group of men who sat quietly and looked Beavan up and down as she walked past.

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Compared to the howling rapture that exploded when Leonardo DiCaprio later took home his first award, it was radio silence.

The reason behind the snub? Beavan was dressed down, in a leather jacket and black pants.

“I don’t do frocks and absolutely don’t do heels, I have a bad back,” Beavan told reporters backstage after her win.

Although it’s unlikely to have perturbed the plucky designer, this was the second time in weeks Beavan made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Not Beavan’s first outfit controversy

Just two weeks before the Oscars, Beavan took home the best costume designer at the BAFTAs, but again it was her outfit that made headlines.

English comedian and author Stephen Fry, who hosted the awards, found himself in hot water when he made a tongue-in-cheek remark about Beavan’s wardrobe choice on the night.

Beavan's similarly-casual outfit at this year's BAFTAs. Photo: Getty
Beavan’s similarly casual outfit at this year’s BAFTAs. Photo: Getty

“Only one of the great cinematic costume designers would come to an awards ceremony dressed as a bag lady,” he joked to the audience of Beavan’s choice of loose-fitting pants and jacket.

The audience may have tittered, but the Twittersphere was (as always) quick to attack Fry for the apparently politically incorrect joke.

It didn’t matter that Fry later clarified he was an old friend of Beavan’s, and the joke had not been at her expense.

Eventually, the saga caused Fry, prolific tweeter, to close his account. It was a big move for a man with millions of followers and a reputation for being wickedly funny.

On his personal website, Fry described the Twitter of today as “a stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous who love to second-guess, to leap to conclusions and be offended – worse, to be offended on behalf of others they do not even know”.

As for Beavan? She remained mum on the issue until backstage at the Oscars, when she explained ballgowns were simply not for her.

“I look ridiculous in a beautiful gown,” she said.

Should she have stuck to the dress code?

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Alicia Vikander and other celebrities made more traditional choices. Photo: Getty

It’s ironic Beavan’s own outfits have now twice overshadowed her award wins this year, seeing as she clearly doesn’t hold much stock in everyday clothes.

Five years ago, when Beavan was nominated for The King’s Speech, she rocked a tuxedo, telling reporters: “I have no interest in my own clothes or in clothes in general. My love is creating character through clothes.”

This year, Beavan explained her outfit (a black leather jacket with a diamonte skull on the back, black pants and a silk scarf) was a tribute to Mad Max: Fury Road.

“I obviously didn’t get it quite right at the BAFTAs, the scarf was meant to be an oil rag,” she joked, referring to the subject matter of the post-apocalyptic film that took home six technical gongs on Monday.

As a 10-time nominated designer, it’s clear the Academy appreciates Beavan’s body of work.

It seems others in Hollywood are more absorbed by her own choice of costume.

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