In 2004, Oscar-winning Hurt Locker writer-producer Mark Boal spent weeks in Iraq risking his life as an embedded reporter with a U.S. bomb-disposal unit like the one seen in his movie — but even that was insufficient training for the anxiety that would come with owning and properly caring for an expensive tuxedo. In a pretty hilarious front-page “Sunday Styles” piece in yesterday’s Times, Boal enumerates to Brooks Barnes the stresses of being a regular schlub running the awards-season gauntlet: “I fully understand how lucky I am,” he says. “On the other hand, it’s astonishing how grueling the process can become. I think there were 10 black-tie events in January alone.”
In some ways, Mr. Boal’s experience can be summed up with the Tale of the Tux. He decided to buy his first tuxedo in September — Yves Saint Laurent — after winning the Gucci Group Award, a prize for movie outsiders who make contributions in film.
But he soon realized that the fast and furious pace of events was no match for a lone tuxedo. “I was never really able to coordinate the dry cleaning,” he said. One day, in a pinch, he tried to wash and iron the shirt himself. He managed to avoid burning a hole in it, but reconfigured the pleats in an unrecognizable way, like bad plastic surgery. He put a second tuxedo into rotation after popping the buttons off the first one at an after-party.
If neither Boal nor Barnes has yet started writing one, we’d just like to say how much we’d love to watch a Hurt Locker–style thriller about a reckless Oscar-nominated screenwriter being shuttled between various precursor awards shows and forced to defuse dangerous tuxedo-maintenance-related situations. We’ll even get them started on the dialogue: “If I’m going to die, I want to die uncomfortable.”