LAST week, over 100 actors nominated for Oscars turned up at the Oscar Nominees annual luncheon in Los Angeles. Most of the actors looked relaxed and happy and dressed the part, not quite Oscars night, but a studied casual chic, with under-stated hair and make-up.

One actor, however, let the side down rather badly.

Kate Winslet, who has worn some fabulous Oscar gowns in her time, arrived at the lunch in a dowdy outfit that made her look like a staid English housewife in her 40s as opposed to a 29-yearold Hollywood star nominated for an Oscar.

Wearing a hideous, but not kinky, straight brown skirt and a white wool twin-set with a bow in the centre, Winslet added inches to her normally curvy figure.

Such a truly terrible ensemble is beyond redemption, but perhaps Kate could have pulled it off had she done something decent with her hair and make-up. Instead the Titanic star had her hair scraped back from her face in the kind of severe gelled look that 15-year-old school girls favour, while she interpreted 'casual chic' as 'no make-up whatsoever'.

Perhaps Kate should have taken a leaf out of Cate Blanchett's book, who was dressed down in a soft, chic suit, with movie star hair and make-up. Meanwhile, Winslet looked like she was off to Tesco's after lunch.

We can only hope that Kate is leading us all a merry dance of mock dowdiness before she finally unveils herself on Oscar night as a spectacular beauty in a gorgeous dress.