Time was when Clark Gable, Gregory Peck and Cary Grant were abiding icons of Hollywood glamour and timeless, masculine style. But in the lead-up to the Academy Awards on March 7, a new style muse for the entertainment industry's alpha males has emerged: Grizzly Adams.
In recent weeks, several Oscar front-runners have sported all manner of weird beards: from balbos to goatees, Vandykes to Fu Manchus, soul patches to full-on Gandalfs. Blame it on looser grooming standards ushered in by the down economy or on an impulse to physically distance themselves from the characters they portray on-screen -- or simply the zeitgeisty embrace of the hipster beard as a handy signifier of nonconformity-conformity. Nevertheless, a close reading of these manly (yet still well-moisturized) men's facial thatches will answer the question on everyone's lips: Who will win the Oscar for best beard?