The newspapers might be full of reports about how the little black dress reigned supreme at tonight’s Baftas but for me it was all about the facial hair. And I’m not referring to the women (Helena Bonham-Carter sorted out that little problem years ago). No, I’m talking about acting’s male elite, because this year’s Baftas saw the emergence of a new hirsute hierarchy in Hollywood. Facial hair was everywhere – from Affleck, Clooney, Phoenix and Jackman to Bardem, Mendes, Pegg and Wishaw. Even host Stephen Fry was sporting suitable face furniture for the event.
My Twitter feed, meanwhile, was positively bristling with excitement at the amount of unashamed beardage on display. So who, some of my followers wanted to know, won the Bafta for Best Beard, in my professional opinion? Without doubt, it was Affleck, whose facial hair is on a par with that of Jake Gyllenhaal’s and is everything a good beard should be: thick, even and neat without being overly manicured.
What struck me most tonight, though, was how far we’ve come in embracing the beard. Where once facial hair would elicit derision now it gets admiring oohs and ahhs from both men and women. Affleck’s family may well have hated his beard when they first saw it but it certainly hasn’t done his career any harm – the opposite in fact – and along with the raft of other actors currently sporting facial hair, it’s proof that 2013 isn’t the Year of the Snake at all – it’s The Year of The Beard.