It's not just the stars who dress to the nines on Oscar day. Everyone within shouting distance of the red carpet -- significant others, personal assistants and PR people, Academy personnel and (yes) the news media -- must wear formal dress as well.
Which leads to the somewhat odd feeling of being one of hundreds of people milling around in a tux or evening gown on a red carpet in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard on a Sunday afternoon, across the street from the novelty shops that sell cheesy T-shirts and postcards.
Still, one must have one's dignity. My wife, being the wise woman she is, urged me to buy a tux several years ago, because you never know when a formal event will beckon. So I am prepared to go into Oscar battle fully formed: polished black shoes, cufflinks and studs, BlackBerry clipped to my cummerbund. And, of course, a bow tie.