“Dude, I’m a wreck for these things,” says Jamie Dornan. “I’m a total wreck. As ridiculous as it sounds, I hate having my photograph taken.” At 39, with a career that’s seen him become one of the biggest male models in the world before starring in everything from Once Upon a Time to The Fall to Belfast—which is up for Best Picture at the Oscars this year—it might seem a little odd that the Northern Irish actor hasn’t fully acclimated to the limelight. But he’s thought about that.
“I know people would say, ‘That’s what you’re signing up for. Blah, blah,” he explains when we speak by phone the Friday before the broadcast. “But you’re kind of not. If getting your photograph taken loads on the red carpet is why you want to be an actor, then you need help. I know it is all wrapped up in it and it is part of it, but it’s not the thing. You can still be uncomfortable with it. it can still be the part of it you like the least. That’s okay. I think I’m getting better with it, but it’s always nice when that bit finishes.”
Crucial to running the red-carpet gauntlet at the Academy Awards, he says, is something that makes you feel more comfortable in a situation that’s inherently not. And this year, for the 2022 Oscars, that’s a just-left-of-center tux from Valentino. Double-breasted, a little bit longer than you might be used to, and generally more chill than the average bit of black-tie tailoring, it was exactly what Dornan and his team were looking for on Hollywood’s big night.
“For the Oscars, we wanted Jamie to have a look that matched his elegant and relaxed style with expert tailoring in the way only Valentino can do,” says Dornan’s stylist Jeanne Yang. “I selected Valentino as we knew Pierpaolo Piccioli’s modern take on menswear was a perfect match for Jamie as he is a modern movie star.”
Dornan, for his part, appreciates not only the aesthetic, but the more functional aspects of it, as well. “It’s very beautiful—and very comfortable as well,” he says. “Which is big when you’re going to be sat in a chair for four-plus hours whilst the Oscars goes on—and everything that goes on afterwards. So, comfort is pretty key. Not only does it hopefully look great and photograph great, but it feels great too, which is the nice little bonus.”
In addition to the tux, there’s also a watch. It’s an Omega Speedmaster ’57, a stainless-steel chronograph that manages to bridge the gap between “hard-at-work” tool watches and “I’m going to the Oscars and I should probably look like it” elegance. Dornan’s working with Omega officially now, but the origins of the partnership are genuinely organic. “I was one of those people who went, ‘Why do you need a watch?’” he says. But on his third anniversary—the theme, for those keeping track at home, is “leather”—Dornan and his wife, Amelia Warner, bought one another vintage Omega Seamasters on leather bands. His was a 1969. Hers, a 1972. “And then we opened the same Omega box, both opened the same watch,” he says. “It was crazy. And that then started the slippery slope once you have an affinity of watches. And now I love them.”
Despite his desire for comfort, there is one concession to the pageantry of the red carpet that Dornan is willing to make. See, he like his watch to fit tighter—”I actually like it to leave a bit of a mark, if I’m honest”—but that won’t work when you’re getting you’re photo taken. “When you’re wearing something on the red carpet, you need it to drop below the line of the cuff,” he explains. “So you wear it looser. I know I’ll spend my night shaking my wrist to make sure it’s sitting there. The reality is I’d like probably one link at least to be taken out of it for my personal use, but I’m willing to obviously those comfortable feelings aside for, for an occasion like the Oscars.”
And even if he’s shaking his wrist from time to time, Dornan seems poised to stay in the right mind throughout the evening. “Style for me is all about comfort and confidence,” he says. “And I couldn’t stand there in something that didn’t feel like it was me and pull it off. I would just look too self-conscious. I’d look like I want the red carpet to swallow me whole. So if I’m there feeling something that is stylish, fashionable, very Valentino, but also me, then that’s a win.”
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