Categories One-by-One: Costume Design

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Costume Design

Postby nightwingnova » Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:26 pm

It is here where I think it is possible for the demographic changes in the Academy's membership to reveal and assert themselves this year.

Traditionalists think that Cinderella will win. But I've been seeing rumblings around for Mad Max.

If the non-traditional Mad Max costumes do pull an upset, then it will be a sign that the changes in the Academy voting membership that the organization has been trying to enable, have themselves already been growing, percolating and changing the Academy's mindset.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Costume Design

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Jan 28, 2016 9:27 pm

I remember, about a week before the Oscars for 2007, in a thread much like this, Damien declared that Elizabeth: the Golden Age was the obvious choice for the costume win. I was startled by this -- I'd been focused on Atonement and Sweeney Todd; hadn't even considered such a poorly reviewed film might win...though I must mention I hadn't SEEN Elizabeth. I did, though, a few days later, thanks to Netflix. And, about 20 minutes into the film, my wife turned to me and said "Hello? Costumes?" -- nearly the exact same words she'd used about Marie Antionette a year prior; another movie we saw just days before the ceremony, and another film that came from nowhere to take the prize.

Those films -- and The Duchess a year later -- cemented my new view of the costume category. Prior to that, I'd though the film had to be some sort of overall contender, preferably a best picture nominee. But these films -- and ones that followed, like The Young Victoria, Alice in Wonderland, The Great Gatsby -- persuaded me that big, bright, eye-catching colors were everything. This is one thing Cinderella has in spades, and makes me agree with BJ et al. that it's the logical favorite. (And even if you're hung up on the idea that its being "fantasy" will kill it, there's more precedent than just Return of the King; Bram Stoker's Dracula also won the prize)

I will back up Oscar Guy in one way, though, and say I, too, thought of Priscilla Queen of the Desert as forerunner of Mad Max: Fury Road in the category. Maybe it's just the Australian locale, but something about the way both films use an audacious design scheme, well out of the usual Academy range, that made me analogize them. It may be worth noting that the Broadcast Critics went with Mad Max, so they, at least, think there might be a landslide that takes in unexpected awards for the film.

As for Carol...I'd love to see it win (though I couldn't begrudge Cinderella, either), but I'm fearful people just have an irrational dislike for Todd Haynes' films and will be reluctant to give him anything.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Costume Design

Postby Greg » Thu Jan 28, 2016 5:03 pm

The Original BJ wrote:OscarGuy, I hear your point about Oscar sometimes going outside the box, but guess I don't view The Adventures of Priscilla as really being a precedent for anything but itself. It's just SUCH a unique case -- a movie where the centerpiece is a literal fashion show, full of wildly over-the-top costumes -- that isn't remotely like any other contemporary winner before or since.


But it is a lot like nominee The Devil Wears Prada.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Costume Design

Postby OscarGuy » Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:33 pm

I'm not saying Mad Max is going to win. Far from it. I'm just highlight examples that might have some influence on those victories. I have Cinderella down as my predicted winner.

However, to be contrary to Tripp here, I'm wondering if we're not seeing the beginnings of a tech sweep for Mad Max. It has serious claims to being a front-runner or close competitor in Film Editing, Cinematography, Art Direction, Makeup, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Visual Effects. It may not and probably won't win all of these, but they are all possibilities. As a result, George Miller might be a stronger competitor for Best Director than we give him credit for. It all comes down to the guilds and the DGA at this point.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Costume Design

Postby Sabin » Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:45 am

Well, I'm sold.

Far From Heaven wasn't nominated for Best Costume Design. I had to look it up.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Costume Design

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:20 am

Since the inception of the award for Best Costume Design at the 1948 Oscars, the award has always gone to the most stunning nominee in the category regardless of whether the award adds to a sweep for the film or not. If you take a look at the nominees vs. the winner in any year you would be hard pressed to say that there was a nominee with more stunning costumes that was shunned.

While there were costume wins for the likes of Gigi, A Man for All Seasons, The English Patient and Titanic, among others, you can't deny that the costumes were knockouts and would have won even if the films didn't sweep.

Sometimes it can be a simple dress as with A Place in the Sun and Sabrina that stands out, that you remember. Sometimes it can be a whole eyeful as with the 1968 version of Romeo & Juliet and The Adventures of Pricilla, Queen of the Desert. This is true even in years when the nominees include a film whose costumes started a fashion trend as with Bonnie and Clyde, which was no match for the elegant cuts of the otherwise lackluster film version of Camelot.

This year the only question seems to be whether Sandy Powell will win for Cinderella or Carol. My hunch is that the simple elegance of the designs for Carol will win out over the eye-popping albeit unreal costumes of Cinderella, but I wouldn't want to put money on it.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Costume Design

Postby The Original BJ » Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:07 am

OscarGuy wrote:All of the suggestions you make, like Marie Antoinette, The Duchess or Elizabeth: The Golden Age, were all costume-heavy period pieces. That's not what Cinderella is. It's a flat out fantasy film.


I guess this is where we can only agree to disagree, and see who is eventually proven right. Because for me, Cinderella is 100% a costume-heavy period piece. (There is literally one scene of fantasy involving the Fairy Godmother and I can't comprehend why that would be a hindrance to winning -- the costumes in that scene are a knockout too.)

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Costume Design

Postby FilmFan720 » Thu Jan 28, 2016 8:22 am

Have you seen Cinderella? Because I finished that movie (which is quite lovely) and the first thing I thought was "well, that's one Oscar category sealed up." The costumes, from the ball to the Stepmother's outfits to the rags, are gorgeous and perfectly composed. Add Oscar favorite Sandy Powell's name to the mix and this seems like a done deal to me. Plenty of films have won without an art direction nod before, and Cinderella feels like a period piece more than a fantasy film.

The problem with your Lord of the Rings and English Patient comparisons is that both of those awards were part of a massive sweep. Do we believe that either of those films was winning without being straight ballot voting? Probably not. Mad Max isn't winning Costume Design as a standalone award...it will have to be part of a massive sweep that I don't see coming. It is so dirty, when was the last time a film without a single pretty outfit won this award? Even Lord of the Rings had Cate Blanchett wandering around in her flowing white gowns (and plenty of royalty in clean, bright outfits).
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Costume Design

Postby OscarGuy » Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:17 am

BJ, I think there is a reverse case issue that might be similar to Cinderella, but a little more loosely so...thought, as I think about it, it's not a great example after all...Here goes anyway: Evita. Tons of costumes, regular changes, yet when the Oscar nomination came out, it was completely ignored. Lots of costume does not make a winner. Look at the costumes in The English Patient, which won that year. There weren't that many costume changes in it. There weren't a lot of gorgeous pieces, just a well made, epic of a film to boost it.

All of the suggestions you make, like Marie Antoinette, The Duchess or Elizabeth: The Golden Age, were all costume-heavy period pieces. That's not what Cinderella is. It's a flat out fantasy film.

The best analogy to a Mad Max victory might just be The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. It is a period film, but one from a fantasy setting without the lush, dense costuming that typically looks pretty. Before that, the best fantasy example is Bram Stoker's Dracula, which could be the precedent that helps Cinderella the most. Then there's Bugsy and Chicago, which were both atypical winners in that neither were period dramas in the traditional sense. Of course, traditions are made to be upended and will Cinderella be a serious enough film to win. Outside of Priscilla (which has nothing to do with a fashion show), how many non-prestige films have ever won this award?
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Costume Design

Postby The Original BJ » Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:55 am

First of all, thanks for everyone for chiming in -- the ongoing diversity discussion is certainly an important conversation, but it is nice to put some of the heaviness aside and have some engaging debates about predicting these categories.

OscarGuy, I hear your point about Oscar sometimes going outside the box, but guess I don't view The Adventures of Priscilla as really being a precedent for anything but itself. It's just SUCH a unique case -- a movie where the centerpiece is a literal fashion show, full of wildly over-the-top costumes -- that isn't remotely like any other contemporary winner before or since.

Actually, I realize there IS a precedent for a movie like Mad Max winning this prize, and that would probably be Star Wars, another fantasy epic without much glamour that had a dominant down-ballot Oscar presence.

But regardless, I'd lean more heavily on a reverse argument -- is there really much precedent for a movie like Cinderella LOSING this prize when it's an option? It just seems like a total bingo for what wins over and over again here. I don't even think its low nomination total is much of an issue, any more than it was for The Duchess or Marie Antoinette or Elizabeth: The Golden Age (which is actually the most recent Costume Design winner without a Production Design nod), all of which won this prize over more widely-nominated movies.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Costume Design

Postby Sabin » Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:04 am

Sabin wrote
Really? I haven't seen the film but it never crossed my mind Cinderella would win. I just wrote down Mad Max: Fury Road.

I'd ask what precedent there would be for Mad Max to win this category and I realized the answer is: about the same precedent there was for Mad Max to get double digit nominations.

I just know that the last film to win Best Costume without a corresponding Production Design nomination was Marie Antoinette. Not to say it's out of the realm of possibility. And when there isn't a clear option for MOST Costume Design (Anna Karenina, The Duchess, The Young Victoria), they just write down whatever won Best Production Design too (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Great Gatsby, Alice in Wonderland). When I look at these nominees, I have no idea what film has the most costume design if not Cinderella. Is it possible it's The Danish Girl?

I'm not remotely confident in predicting Mad Max: Fury Road for Production Design and Costume Design because neither of them were pretty.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Costume Design

Postby OscarGuy » Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:25 pm

One of the reasons I think the Academy picks more obvious costumes and obviously more opulent is that the entire membership votes for the winners. They don't necessarily see intricacy and rich detail as an option when there are pretty gowns. The only time I was ever pleasantly excited about the winner of this Oscar was when they stepped out of the box and gave The Adventures of Priscilla the award. I think, if anything, that's your best precedent to a Mad Max victory.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Costume Design

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:30 pm

Sabin wrote:Really? I haven't seen the film but it never crossed my mind Cinderella would win. I just wrote down Mad Max: Fury Road.


I'd ask what precedent there would be for Mad Max to win this category and I realized the answer is: about the same precedent there was for Mad Max to get double digit nominations.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Costume Design

Postby Sabin » Wed Jan 27, 2016 4:17 am

Really? I haven't seen the film but it never crossed my mind Cinderella would win. I just wrote down Mad Max: Fury Road.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Costume Design

Postby nightwingnova » Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:49 pm

I would predict Cinderella as well, though I wish the voters would think outside the box and consider Mad Max.


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