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Jan 21 2020

Alternative Best Costume Design Ballots

byCláudio Alves

The Best Costume Design category at the Oscars tends to be a place where one can find idiosyncratic choices.While it's true the Academy has a taste for the extravagant and period-looking, the Costume Branch is usually unafraid of celebrating films otherwise ignored.That's how we get such wonderful nods like those forBright Star's Regency fashions,I Am Love's early aughts glamour,Jane Eyre's Victorian severity, andMirror Mirror's fairytale lunacy.

This year, for the first time in the category's history, all five nominees are Best Picture contenders.The arguable quality of the designs aside, this is a sad state of affairs that makes the usually cool Best Costume Design category look tediously similar to all the others.In an attempt to right the Academy's wrongs and offer a more varied look at 2019's achievements in film Costume Design, here's an alternative set of nominees, none of which were shortlisted by the Academy...

Honorable Mentions:Downton Abbey's fashions are immaculate,Her Smell's chaotic stylings delights andRocketman's razzle-dazzle is a feast for the eyes.However, there can only be five.

Speaking of which, here are five great feats of Costume Design that the Academy ignored in order to heap more nods upon some of the Best Picture nominees:

Clothes that function as character arcs and historical milieu, as cultural touchstones, sight gags and visual ambrosia for the audience that gazes upon them.爆炸全身就像暴风雨的颜色模式d everyone looks like the movie stars they are, even those whose bodies diverge from the conventional paradigms of starlets and matinée idols.

Costumes designed by Paul Tazewell
Great use of texture contrasts and evolving uses of fabric to denote the passage of time and the main character's transformations.A wardrobe that works as an invocation of the historical past at the same time it appeals to a sense of cinematic iconography like that seen in the western classics of yore.

Costumes designed by Mitchell Travers
As I'd previously written in anFYC piece: "As Janet Jackson announces at the start of the movie,Hustlersis a story about control.Mitchell Travers understood that and the true genius of his costumes is how they delineate this very same dynamic.Forgive the cliché, but in this movie, a fur coat is never just a fur coat."

Costumes designed by Andrea Flesch
The perversion of Scandinavian folkloric attire is this nightmare's showiest sartorial choice, but it's far from being the only meritorious one.The way the American outsiders are dressed is a marvel all on its own, making them into illustrations of modern maladies and vices ranging from the weight of grief in grey cotton to the evils of selfish men in Henley shirts.The climatic mountain of flowers is the cherry on top of this poisonous dessert.

Costumes designed by Jacqueline Durran
A snapshot of History that encompasses everyone from the downtrodden that starve on the streets to royalty draped in perfumed silks and scratchy lace.Few period films have so vividly captured the reality of an entire society just in the way everyone is dressed, the different fabrics that enclose their bodies and the varying silhouettes that transform them into representatives of their different classes.

As a bonus, here are five wonderfully costumed films that weren't in the Academy's eligibility list, despite opening in the US in 2019:

Costumes designed by Catherine Rodríguez

Costumes designed by Jo Thompson

Costumes designed by Jacqueline Durran

Costumes designed by Grace Snell

Costumes designed by Khadija Zeggaï

What would your Best Costume Design ballot look like?

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Reader Comments (17)

Dolemite was the most shocking omission to me.Did the Academy not watch this one?

January 21, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterCash

Hustlers, Rocketman, In Fabric, Dolemite...I love the Mary Magdalene suggestion.That movie is beautiful to watch (maybe even too much for the subject matter).

January 21, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Did not see Peterloo coming...but fair and interesting choice.

January 21, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterMe

Still haven't seen it, but just from stills I'd think Paradise Hills would merit consideration.I'm surprised Dolemite didn't get in.Good call on The Souvenir.And I could see an argument for Shadow.Out of the 5 that were nominated I'd keep Durran's work in Little Women.

January 21, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

"Portrait of a Lady on Fire" and "Knives Out!"

January 21, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

I was SO angry that DOLEMITE IS MY NAME wasn't short listed by the Academy.Are they blind?

January 21, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

The list is disqualified for missing Knives Out.

What in the world happened with Mary Magdalene?Was it only a UK release?Is it any good?

January 21, 2020 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Once Upon A Time Hollywood
Little Women
Motherless Brooklyn
Maleficent 2
alt: Knives Out

January 21, 2020 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Every new outfit that popped up inLittle Womenhad my jaw on the floor.Durran is a goddess.

January 21, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterMJ

"Dolemite is my Name" had costumes that were amazingly flashy and specific (to character/time frame).How did that miss?

January 21, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

There were so many great contemporary costumes this year.Of course they never stood a chance (:sobbing:) but I'm partial to the costumes of Queen & Slim, Knives Out, and Booksmart, plus Midsommar and Hustlers as mentioned above.

January 21, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Loved this article, Cláudio!Great choices.

January 21, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

Dolemite Is My Name
Little Women

January 22, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterWorking stiff

I guess Dolemite misses to make space for its Netflix cousin, The Irishman which imo, only got in bcos o Sandy Powell.It's such a challenge designing all those suits, u kno

I wish Netflix has paced itself n not released all four Oscar contenders in 2019!!Unfortunately now it seems tt Dolemite is the one who gets the short shaft

I hope Netflix win notink this yr to punish them for their greed for gold!!

January 22, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Dolemite is my name
Little women

And I think beside Durran’s amazing work someone should mention timothee chalamet for styling himself in little women !

January 22, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterAmirfarhang

I went 6 wide for all my categories this year and landed on Dolemite Is My Name, Little Women, Midsommar, The Nightingale, See You Yesterday, and Us.Midsommar is my win.Missing Link was the last film I cut from the category.

January 22, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

I NEED that hooded cape from Portrait of a Lady on Fire RIGHT NOW.

Still can't understand how BOTH Dolemite AND Rocketman missed.

January 22, 2020 | Unregistered CommenterDancin' Dan

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