All The Stars Explode Tonight

Looking at this year's Best Costume Oscar nominees

Whether you decide to hate watch the Oscars this weekend or turn it into a drinking game (is there really a third option?), I know I’ll be tuning in for at least one category. Best Costume Design is one of the few ways achievements in clothing is recognized in the mainstream media that isn’t on a best/worst dressed list. It doesn’t hurt that it is also relevant to my love of movies. So who’s gonna take home the golden statue? Trying to guess is half the fun (drinking games are the other half).

Anna Karenina
Jacqueline Durran

Durran has been nominated for an Oscar twice, once for Atonement (of the infamous green dress) and once for 2005’s Pride and Prejudice (both by Karenina director Joe Wright), but has never won. As an assistant costume designer, she worked on Topsy Turvy (only one of my most favourite costume porn movies EVER), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (seriously), and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Anna Karenina’s costumes are as lush and opulent as you would expect to find a period piece starring Keira Knightley (translation: every Keira Knightley film that isn’t Bend it Like Beckham). Though the competition is tough and I’m not sure if Durran’s work is enough to charm the Academy over her competition, she’s already won my heart. Really, isn’t that the most important award of all? (Rhetorical question, it clearly is.)


Les Miserables
Paco Delgado

This is Delgado’s first Oscar nomination ever, and as costume designer on Les Miserables, he was responsible for making over 2200 outfits (what did you accomplish today?). He’s receiving international acclaim for his work on Les Mis, including nominations for Spain’s Goya award and a BAFTA. In the past he’s worked with Alejandro González Iñárritu on the costumes for Biutiful, and Pedro Almodóvar on The Skin I Live In. This film and has been getting a lot of attention on the awards circuit, and the costumes were featured in the December 2012 issue of Vogue, but everything is pretty standard historical drama fare (with the exception of the Thenardiers, natch). There are definitely more interesting entries in the category this year, which is why I don’t think this will be the winner.


Lincoln
Joanna Johnston

Despite more than 20 years in the business, this is Johnston’s first nomination. She is particularly known for her collaborations with Steven Spielberg (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,The Colour Purple). Lincoln has also been an award season favourite (because America, duh), and the costumes are pretty good, although it’s mostly just Sally Field’s, and I don’t see it being the winner. It just doesn’t get me excited like any of the other nominees. The majority of the costumes are just old dudes (and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in black wool suits. Maybe there’s a top hat or a patterned vest to spice things up. For the most part, the costumes are booooooooooooring. However, because the Academy is made up of stodgy Olds, that might be a point in its favour. Plus not having it win might be considered treason, I don’t know.



Mirror Mirror
Eiko Ishioka

Remember last year’s Mirror Mirror? Yeah, I don’t think many people did. If you’re going to skip it though, it’s worth at least checking out the screencaps for Ishioka’s fabulous work. She won once before, in 1992 for Bram Stoker’s Dracula—the costumes in that movie are incredible, so justly deserved. She has designed costumes for theatre, film, and print, and was known as Japan’s leading art director and graphic designer. Her first film was Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. She died on January 21, 2012,
and since the Oscars love giving awards to the recently departed, I predict she’s going to win. Plus, even though Mirror Mirror was a total flop, there’s no denying that her ornate, over-the-top costumes are incredible.



Snow White and the Huntsman
Colleen Atwood

Yes, there was more to this movie than Kristen Stewart’s British accent! This is Atwood’s 10th (!!!) Oscar nomination. She has won three times, in 2002 for Chicago, in 2005 for Memoirs of a Geisha, and in 2010 for Alice in Wonderland. The first movie she worked on was the ’80s coming of age film Firstborn (I’ve never seen it, but both Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr. are in it, so I might have to). She is a frequent collaborator with Tim Burton, notably working on Edward Scissorhands. (And on top of Edward, her first Oscar nomination was for 1994′s Little Women, which means she is already a winner in our eyes for getting to play dress up with Winona Ryder on multiple occasions). Unlike Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman is a much darker and grittier interpretation of the classic fairy tale, and Atwood’s costumes reflect that. They’re just as dramatic as Mirror Mirror’s, but lack the whimsy (and colour) of Ishioka’s designs. Given her pedigree with the Academy, if Ishioka doesn’t win, Atwood probably will. Call it the battle of the Snow Whites. And yay for fantasy films being nominated!

Who do you want to win? Join us on Twitter on February 24 as we live-tweet the events.

Goodbye Eiko Ishioka

Eiko Ishioka, celebrated costume designer for film and theatre, passed away two weeks ago at the age of 73. Her success as a costume designer came toward the end of a long career including stints in graphic design and advertising. Ishioka won an Oscar for her costumes in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and became a frequent collaborator with film director Tarsem, designing for all four of his films: The Cell, The Fall, Immortals, and the upcoming Mirror Mirror.

Her surreal and elaborate designs added immeasurably to the look of the films she worked on, often taking place in fantasy worlds or the subconscious. She could create the stuff of nightmares or provide the perfect outfit for a daydream.


Her Oscar-winning work for Bram Stoker’s Dracula was also the only time she was nominated. Who can forget Gary Oldman’s double-bun?
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