It feels like every year when awards season rolls around, there’s a fresh-face ingénue taking over the red carpet—but more often than not, it tends to be the year’s breakout actress rather than one of the guys. That’s not to say there haven’t been exceptions—lest we forget Timothée Chalamet’s breakout year in 2018, when he sported plenty of Haider Ackermann and Louis Vuitton, or Leslie Odom Jr.’s killer Versace and Berluti looks last year. Still, discovering a new style star among the men, where many still hew to a more classic black tie formula, feels like a rarer occurrence.
All the more reason to be thankful for Kodi Smit-Mcphee, then, who has been doing the rounds in support of Jane Campion’s widely nominated The Power of the Dog. In the subversive take on the Western, Smit-McPhee plays Kirsten Dunst’s gentle, kindly son who finds himself the target of Benedict Cumberbatch’s cruel, domineering rancher. Just as impressive as Smit-McPhee’s sensitive, moving performance—which earned him a best supporting actor nod at the Oscars this weekend—has been his sartorial flair on the red carpet. Working with stylist Jared Eng, Smit-McPhee has firmly proven himself to be this award season’s standout men’s style star.
While Smit-McPhee’s style formula largely consists of sleek tailoring, it’s his willingness to take risks with the silhouettes and colors he chooses that is most striking. “My mother always told me to not be afraid of color, so I wore anything that I liked, no matter what social kind of category it fit you in,” he told Vogue’s Taylor Antrim back in November. There are the series of Kim Jones-designed Dior Men suits he wore at the beginning of his awards campaign, all featuring a subtle twist—whether a dramatically double-breasted panel, or a pair of stompy white rubber boots. Then, there’s been his ongoing collaboration with Gucci. Not only did he walk in the brand’s Hollywood Boulevard “Love Parade” spectacular back in November, but he also made an appearance at the LACMA Art+Film Gala the following week wearing his boldest look yet: a polka-dot silk suit with ’70s-inspired lapels that featured green ostrich feather sleeves.
From there, Smit-McPhee has continued to experiment with some of the most agenda-setting menswear labels of the moment, from Bottega Veneta—he wore a speckled gray jumpsuit for Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hollywood Walk of Fame Star ceremony last month, and has proven himself a fully paid-up fan of the brand’s cult-favorite puddle boots—to the Y/Project turtleneck featuring an embroidered rose he sported at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. With the red carpet currently being rolled out for this weekend’s Oscars, expect Smit-McPhee to go out with a (very fashionable) bang.