×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Oscars: ‘Mad Max,’ ‘Cinderella,’ ‘Danish Girl’ Highlight Costume Design Race

Just in time for Halloween, a deep dive into the threads of the season.

Halloween is around the corner, so surely film fans are trying to decide what 2015 movie-themed get-up to rock at this party or that. There are lots of options this year: Whitey Bulger, BB-8, Imperator Furiosa, etc. Perhaps today’s analysis of the best costume design Oscar race will get the synapses firing for last-minute shoppers.

Just as in best production design, covered last week, the costume designers — who finally got their own branch a few years ago — respond to ornate period and fantasy detail. Contemporary work very rarely figures in. So on the period side, we have to again start with “The Danish Girl.” Outfitted by Paco Delgado, who was Oscar-nominated for “Les Misérables” three years ago, the film is particularly notable in this field given Eddie Redmayne’s on-screen transition to transgender pioneer Lili Elbe.

Sandy Powell has 10 nominations and three wins (“Shakespeare in Love,” “The Aviator,” “The Young Victoria”) to her credit. She was a double nominee in 1998 and could be again this year with two drastically different films in the race: “Carol,” with its 1950s upper crust New York threads, and “Cinderella,” with its fantasy-leaning color explosion.

Speaking of color, John Crowley’s “Brooklyn” uses it well throughout the design departments, and that’s particularly so with Odile Dicks-Mireaux’s costumes. From conservative period garb to flashy swimsuits of the era, there’s just a lot at play. Dicks-Mireaux hasn’t been Oscar-christened yet, but the work here makes a strong case.

“The Revenant” and “The Hateful Eight” will be two interesting sides of a coin this year, not in terms of content, but in terms of an untamed aesthetic. Jacqueline West’s costumes on the “The Revenant” won’t be like anything else in the race, a blend of frontier garments and fur-trapper chic. She’s a two-time nominee, for “Quills” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

On “The Hateful Eight,” Courtney Hoffman gets a stab at outfitting a western. Films like “3:10 to Yuma,” “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and “Django Unchained” haven’t broken through for the branch in recent years, but maybe this one can.

Sticking with period, there is women’s suffrage drama “Suffragette” to consider. Turn-of-the-20th-century stylings courtesy of Jane Petrie play up a range, from working class threads to more elaborate outfits. Meanwhile, “Crimson Peak” — costumed by Kate Hawley — takes things much further, with wonderfully detailed work playing within a period/fantasy hybrid to eye-popping effect.

On the fantasy side of the scale there is “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (Michael Kaplan) and “Mad Max: Fury Road” (Jenny Beavan). “Star Wars” is sure to get plenty of attention being a latter-year release, but Beavan’s work on “Mad Max” might be — for this viewer, anyway — best in show so far this year. It’s all instantly iconic, from the eponymous drifter to Charlize Theron’s emboldened Furiosa to the enigmatic antagonist Immortan Joe. Dare I say there’s no justice if the branch can’t recognize the brilliance on display here, and from an Oscar-winning legend (and nine-time nominee) who made her name on Merchant/Ivory costume dramas at that.

Elsewhere, the old Hollywood stylings of “Trumbo” could find their mark, or the period trappings of “Far From the Madding Crowd” (if there isn’t plenty enough to go around above). And like best production design, “Mr. Holmes,” “Macbeth” and “Pan” are lurking as well.

You can keep track of the costume design race all season at the category’s dedicated Contenders page.

So … did you decide what you’re wearing this weekend yet?

More Artisans

  • Jeff Goldblum performs in a sketch

    Inside the High-Pressure World of Late-Night Talk-Show Prop Demands

    Television production is an area where “Hurry up and wait” is a common refrain. However, for the prop teams that work on late-night talk shows like “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Late Late Show With James Corden,” that’s not an option. They typically have only a matter of hours to deliver what’s necessary. Lou A. [...]

  • Smithsonian Handmaids Tale Costume

    Why the Smithsonian Chose to Enshrine 'Handmaid's Tale' Servant Costume

    The iconic red-caped, white-bonneted outfits worn by Elisabeth Moss and the other childbearing servants in Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” created by costume designer Ane Crabtree, have become that show’s signature visual.  Hulu immediately knew it had a good thing, hiring groups of women around the country to parade in the garments to promote the show. [...]

  • Sir Lionel Frost (left) voiced by

    Why 'Missing Link's' Title Character Was One of Laika's Biggest Challenges

    Stop-motion studio Laika pushes design boundaries in every film it makes, and the lead character in “Missing Link” is no exception. “It became pretty apparent that [the character] Link was going to be the cornerstone,” says director and writer Chris Butler. “I did this rough drawing many years ago, and it was basically like a [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    New 3D-Printing Technology Was 'Missing Link' for Laika's Latest Stop-Motion Project

    For the upcoming animated comedy adventure “Missing Link,” stop-motion studio Laika set the bar very high. To execute the designs created by director and writer Chris Butler, artists would have to speed up their 3D printing of character faces — and those faces would have to be the most complex they’d ever created. “Missing Link” [...]

  • The Old Man and the Gun

    Ohio’s Midwest Locations and Flexible Tax Credit Lure Producers

    With its small towns, rolling farmlands and industrial cities, Ohio embodies the American Midwest. Other location lures for filmmakers include the shore along Lake Erie, the campus of Ohio State University, the striking skyline of Cincinnati and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The Buckeye State also provides producers with a 30% [...]

  • Nancy Schreiber Mapplethorpe Cinematographer

    DP Nancy Schreiber Captures Life of Artist Robert Mapplethorpe in Grimy Gotham

    Don’t tell cinematographer Nancy Schreiber that she’s having a renaissance. That would imply there’ve been slumps in her long career, and she won’t have any of that, even if for a time she was taking smaller jobs as the gaps widened between larger gigs. “It’s never been about the money, for me,” says Schreiber over [...]

  • What Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga Share:

    LeRoy Bennett Keeps Top Acts Like Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande in the Spotlight

    You might say that LeRoy Bennett is a shining light among lighting and production designers for pop music. Doing double duty creating both touring sets and their illumination, he started out with a 14-year run as Prince’s collaborator, went on to work with Nine Inch Nails and Madonna and has counted Beyoncé’s and Bruno Mars’ [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content