It is no secret that the mix of movies and fashion is (besides one of my favourite things to chat about) a rather unavoidable thing sometimes, especially at this time of the year, i.e. 20 days before the 87th Academy Awards.
Let’s face it, when it comes to the Oscars, every year we tend to focus on “main” four categories (movie, director, actor, actress) much more than any other. Well, let’s try and avoid that this year and chat a little bit about people whose imagination, talent and hard work brought them a nomination for the Best Costume Design at this year’s Academy Awards.
Colleen Atwood, an American Costume Designer who is, among this year’s nominees, probably the biggest “star”. She was nominated in this category 11 times, taking the statue home three times for “Chicago” 2002, a beautiful “Memoirs of a Geisha” 2005 and five years later for “Alice in Wonderland”. If by any chance this is the first time you heard about Atwood, I am sure you will memorise her very well after I tell you that she created a mask for Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs”. This year however it is completely another story. She grasped another fantasy whose costume design brought her a nomination for “Into the Woods”, a musical fantasy film directed by Rob Marshall starring Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp, among others. After awarded experience with Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”, “Into the Woods” was a wonderful stage for already established costume designer to efficiently fluid her imagination through characters from fairy tales like “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Cinderella”, “Rapunzel” and “Jack and the Beanstalk”, which formed a base that inspired this musical. I am not sure if Atwood foundd the costumes too difficult to create baring in mind her outstanding talent and experience, but what I am sure it that it surely was fun.
Mark Bridges, an American costume designer whose ’70s trippy and hippie designs brought him another nomination in this category for “Inherent Vice”, a comedy-drama directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Benicio del Toro, among others. This is Bridges’ second nomination after winning the award for “The Artist” 2011. He began his costume design collaboration with Paul Thomas Anderson for “Hard Eight” back in 1996. Their work together continued the year after with more famous “Boogie Nights” 1997, followed later by “Magnolia” 1999, “Punch Drunk Love” 2002, “There Will Be Blood” 2008 and “The Master” 2012. By creating costumes for film, for years now Bridges managed to create specific concept that surrounds the characters for whom he create them. By looking back from the beginning with “Hard Eight” through the uniqueness of “Boogie Nights” costumes, to simplicity yet sharpness of “The Master”, we don’t need more proofs of the designer’s imagination and suitability. Oh yes, before I forget, in case you didn’t know costume buffs, Bridges created costumes for upcoming “Fifty Shades of Grey”.
Milena Canonero, an Italian stage and film costume designer and yet another star in this race. She was nominated for the Oscar 9 times, taking 3 of them for Robert Altman’s “Barry Lyndon” 1975 (sharing the Oscar with late Ulla-Britt Soderlund, a Swedish costume designer), Hugh Hudson’s “Chariots of Fire” 1982 and fabulous Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette” 2006. Canonero’s first big costume role was for Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” back in 1971, and we surely remember the clothing in this Kubrick’s classic, don’t we? In this year’s nominated film however her focus was on colour, colour and more colour. The beauty of Wes Anderson’s comedy “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is not only in wonderful writing, amazing cinematography believe me. It is also in the outstanding and memorable costumes. Think purple suits, red coats and pastel shirts. You can’t beat that! (yes, I’m secretly hoping this will be the winner, sue me!)
After starting costume designing back in 1989 for “Henry V” with Kenneth Branagh, Jane Clive quickly established herself as someone on whom directors can count on, whatever the subject is. We can clearly see that through her costumes for Bernardo Bertolucci’s “Little Buddha” in 1993, “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” in 1994, or later for Tim Burton’s “Planet of the Apes” in 2001 or Roman Polanski’s “Oliver Twist” in 2005. This year however Clive played with witches and princesses for “Maleficent”, starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning. Dark, sharp and point-to-point!
And last but not the least we have a very talented and already awarded British costume designer Jacqueline Durran. She started designing for film back in 2002 for Mike Leigh’s “All or Nothing” starring Timothy Spall. Durran became known after designing for “Vera Drake” in 2004. A special recognition came a year later after her beautiful and memorable costumes for “Pride and Prejudices”, for which she won an Oscar. This year the cooperation with Leigh and Spall repeated, as the costume focus went on clothing that marked the art world in the 18th and 19th century in “Mr. Turner”, a biopic about J.M.W. Turner, an English painter from Romanticism.