"I thought, 'Why not?' " said Bonham Carter, who is nominated for supporting actress for her performance as Queen Elizabeth in "The King's Speech." "The red carpet is so ruled by fash-ism, and by that I mean F-A-S-H-ism, the fashion industry. Geez, can't we just dress up and have fun?"
For an actress known for her eccentric roles — Bonham Carter is most recognized these days as the Harry Potter series' villainous Bellatrix Lestrange — the bold declaration of independence was entirely in character.
"Actors are really playing a role at an event," said Anne Ready, a media trainer whose clients include Disney and Warner Bros. "Just as they would for a character in a movie, they need to give thought to who they're playing that night. If your purpose is to focus on your acting, mismatched shoes would be fairly distracting. But if you're trying to make a statement about individuality, that would be the way to do it."
After months of strenuous self-promotion, Oscar winners must surmount one final hurdle — deliver an acceptance speech that thanks the academy, their co-nominees, the real-life people who inspired their characters, their costars and crews, the executives and agents who got their film made and the families who cheered them on, ideally with polish and wit and in under 45 seconds.