Monday, February 10, 2014

Awards-Nazi Award nominations: Costume Design

Some of the Costume Design work this year reached levels of iconography that's hard for even one film to achieve in any year, and not even all of those films made my top five! The threads were just so perfect in so many films. Alas, only five can be nominated, and you can read the ones I chose below.

12 Years a Slave (Patricia Norris)
Norris' degradation of Solomon's clothing throughout the course of the picture provides a poignant visual metaphor for the loss of his identity. Other wily character details include the earthy tones of Patsy's rags and the cut of Mistress Epps' white lace petticoats, which always hover just inches above her heels (lest they should touch the same ground that her slaves walk on).

American Hustle (Michael Wilkinson)
The gaudy glamour garb of the late 70s sparkles just as brightly and boldly as the actors who don them. Irving's waist-stretched three piece suits, Sydney's notoriously plunging V-necks, Richie's belt-flashing blazers and aviator shades; all are ludicrously ostentatious in the best way. Wilkinson also gets bonus points for his great contribution to Man of Steel this year as well.

Blue Jasmine (Suzy Benzinger)
An exemplar of how smart contemporary costuming can artfully embellish character without drawing too much attention to itself. Benzinger's eye for fashion finds the perfect dressings for Jasmine's high society past, and the constant repurposing of her same outfit neatly reflects her withering state of mind. Ginger and Chili's budget wardrobe maybe less handsome but is certainly no less important.

The Great Gatsby (Catherine Martin)
Eye-popping opulence rules the day (as always) in Baz Luhrmann films, often due in no small part to his wife Catherine Martin's dazzling designs. But there's so much more shimmering beneath the sequins and feathers. Daisy's filmy finery, Tom's scratchy sweater vests, Jordan's slimming diagonal patterns; Martin never lets the decadence distract from her precise characterization.

Inside Llewyn Davis (Mary Zophres)
Zophres' expert sartorial selections ensure that this is one of the year's most finely dressed period films, giving each role -- large or small -- distinct visual identity. From Llewyn's thin corduroy jacket (which perfectly captures how ill-prepared he is for adult life), to Jean's tense turtlenecks, right down to those white sweaters on the Irish quartet; the 60s breathe softly through every square inch of fabric.

Just missed:
The Grandmaster (William Chang Suk Ping)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Richard Taylor, Bub Buck, Ann Maskrey)
The Invisible Woman (Michael O'Connor)
The Lone Ranger (Penny Rose)
Man of Steel (James Acheson, Michael Wilkinson)

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