He’s ridden camels. Tilted at windmills. Been king. Tutored an unruly child-emperor. Played an elderly Casanova. The list goes on and on.
All while maintaining a haphazardly dapper visage.
The star of Lawrence of Arabia (and about 70 other movies in the exactly 50 years since), O’Toole’s has had a career that most actors would kill for. And he’s won some awards along the way. But infuriatingly, despite his best efforts, never an Oscar.
We understand it’s sad news—step-and-repeats everywhere have been pouring out liquor for their fallen hero—but it’s also great news for a handful of well-groomed contenders. They’ve been waiting in the wings, slowly building their résumés with promising showings of tuxedomanship, casually dapper park strolls and landing roles with the requisite indie cred. Granted, their “suit and tie shit” might not be infallible just yet, but with a few more of the right moves, they could find themselves on the cusp of greatness. But the question still remains: who will rise to the occasion? Who will be there when fights in the East Village need breaking up, or adorable dogs need companionship? Who will be the new face that launches a thousand “Hey, girl...” Tumblrs?
Perhaps we should be clearer: the question at hand is whether Tom Cruise is a style icon. It’s a fair question, and one we’ve found ourselves pondering for whatever reason in these slow-going post-Oscar, pre-summer-blockbuster months.
First, there are all kinds of reasons he’s not: he isn’t exactly Ryan Gosling off screen; he almost definitely relies on a stylist for the red carpet; and, oh yeah, he’s the leading member of a batshit pseudo-religious organization that may or may not run hard-labor prison camps. [Ed. Note for legal reasons: Allegedly. ]
Toshiro Mifune never received nearly enough credit for making martial arts movies cool.
Not even after starring in 170 of them—the first of which was released while Bruce Lee was still in diapers. Or doing things like leisurely strolling down overcast streets in Japan looking like he just stepped out of an editorial shoot from a fall issue of Monocle 50 years later.
Perhaps the best part about last night’s Fey-Poehler-helmed Golden Globes was that all the tuxedos on the red carpet kept it on the straight and narrow. (It’s a trend we’ve been readily noticing for a few awards shows now.)
There weren’t many faults to find in anyone’s tux—aside from the usual suspects and nitpicking bow tie sizes—so we had a hard time nailing down the winners. The competition was strong. So strong that we think Clooney may have been temporarily dethroned from his notch-lapel tuxedo reign. But in the end, there were a few contenders who became champs last night. And it had nothing to do with who ended up on the podium.
At the age of 7, Naftaly Birnbaum (aka George Burns) landed a job making syrup in the basement of a local candy store. When the mailman, a sucker for tight harmony, heard Burns and his pals crooning away on a barbershop number, he brought them out to the street and a small crowd gathered.
“We called ourselves the Peewee Quartet,” Burns recalled in an interview with Cigar Aficionado 90 years later. “Sometimes the customers threw something in the hats. Sometimes they took something out of the hats. Sometimes they took the hats.”
Shortly thereafter, Burns quit school in the fourth grade to pursue show business full time, which at the time meant singing with a trained seal, trick roller-skating and adagio dancing in small-time vaudeville acts. The fact that he managed to do all this while keeping one hand wrapped around a beautiful woman and the other puffing on a long, thick cigar, right up to his death in 1996 at the age of 100, is an accomplishment that baffles the mind.
We’ve been seriously worried for a while now. For most of 2012, Ryan Gosling has been missing from red carpets, style blogs and, most troubling, our hearts.
Luckily, we can call off the APB we sent out, since it looks like Esquire has found him hiding out in Canada (our mistake for not alerting the Mounties). And thankfully, even after the hiatus, he hasn’t missed a beat. Here he is at the Toronto Film Festival, sporting a Gucci suit in an unexpected pattern and attempting the legendary invisi-tie. It’s a move that was perfected by Phil Collins (perhaps willed by an Invisible Touch) with success that may never be replicated. Esquire pans Ryan for the try, but let’s look at the bigger picture here: His Goslingness has returned.
Just in case, authorities are still on the lookout for his tie.
No one paid much attention to Spud Webb at the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk competition. At 5′7", he was (and remains) the shortest player ever to compete in the contest. The rest of the field dwarfed him by over a foot. Even Dominique Wilkins, Webb’s teammate and the reigning slam-dunk champion, brushed Spud aside. “I don’t think he’s ever seen me dunk before,” Webb said in a pregame interview. Then he did the following:
An elevator two-handed double-pump dunk, a one-handed off-the-backboard jam, a 360-degree helicopter one-handed dunk, a 180-degree reverse double-pump slam and a 180-degree reverse two-handed strawberry jam from a lob bounce off the floor, the latter two of which received perfect 50-point scores in the final round to bring home the gold.
We have no control over how tall we stand—height is fixed from the start. How we stand, though (or soar, in Mr. Webb’s case) is measured in stature. And stature knows no bounds. With that in mind, we proudly present:
Jeff Bridges played at the Democratic National Convention yesterday in downtown Charlotte, reprising his Oscar-winning performance as Bad Blake in Crazy Heart. (Though the wavy locks and abiding grin scream “Dude” all the way, if you ask us.)
No word yet on whether this aggression will or will not stand...
Andy Garcia has given us a lot over the years—he’s been the gold standard of slick bastards everywhere since his first big screen outing in The Untouchables. (It doesn’t hurt to never have a hair out of place and a hint of an accent—he was born in Havana.) And on occasion of his latest turn, as a mustachioed agnostic religious freedom fighter in 1920s Mexico, we thought we’d take a moment to applaud his contributions to the three-piece suit, ascot, Panama hat and round horn-rimmed glasses, to name a few.
Last month we counted down the 10 Greatest Thespian-Athlete Performances of All Time. Some liked the list, others felt we overstated Alex Karras’s impact on Webster. But only one Kempt reader, Gary Oldman, felt it necessary to shoot a video response entitled “Actors Against Acting Athletes” and broadcast it on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “Who the hell told you you could act, the director on your commercial?” he screamed, awkwardly clutching a basketball.
To be clear: we’re big fans of Mr. Oldman’s work. But it strikes us as uninformed at best to label every professional athlete’s foray onto the big screen as “sucking”—particularly before watching Novak Djokovic’s filmic debut in Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables 2 later this year. If Djokovic’s acting chops are anything like his impersonation of John McEnroe, Mr. Oldman may very well have some fierce competition when it comes time to reprise the role of Russian extremist Ivan Korshunov in Air Force Two.