Oscar-winning “Cruella” costume designer Jenny Beavan called for pay equity now in the 94th Academy Awards interview room.
Beavan, who won her third Oscar Sunday, spoke backstage and showed off her white shirt, which had “I am woman, hear me roar” on one sleeve cuff and on the other, “Naked without you.”
Her remarks come as Costume Designers Guild members amp up their call for pay parity. The topic is not new to the guild; for years, costume designers have been fighting for pay equity, and the sentiment of feeling undervalued has long existed. Not only are they usually the last people off set, they are there first thing in the morning, CDG members argue. Costume designers are also made up of 85% women, yet are paid less than production designers, which are 85% men.
Beavan was asked about remarks she had made last year about costume designers being cut out of merchandising deals and whether she had entered into conversations with her guild. She replied, “I had a bit of interplay with Disney, with Alan Bergman and Alan Hahn, who I know and who are very kind, and I have kept it very, very polite. I have been really waiting to see how I can help in the most positive way.”
She added she had never felt so disrespected, but it had also promoted her to notice the “wealth of inequality — just walking over you.”
More often than not, costume designers face hurdles as producers question their budgets and labor estimates needed to get the job done, which they say is less prevalent when it comes to departments run by men. It’s not uncommon for costume designers to be paid significantly lower than costume supervisors, who work per hour, while costume designers work to scale. Beavan went on to talk about her current project, George Miller’s “Furiosa,” which allowed her out of its production bubble to attend the Academy Awards.
While considering all that was happening in the world with Ukraine, Beavan made a point to say she didn’t want to be political in her remarks. She ended by saying, “It has not gone away. I think they may have thought it’s gone away, but it hasn’t.”