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Costume Designers Guild Hustling for 'Gatsby', '12 Years a Slave', 'Her'

Glenn here to share the Costume Designers Guild nominations that were just announced this morning (what? you think they pay attention to whether other award organisations are announcing the same day?) I think it's safe to say that the costume category is The Film Experience collective's favourite category outside of the actressing ones, and this year's category looks like it will be a fight to the death between the spectacle of The Great Gatsby, the refined flare of American Hustle, and the authenticity of 12 Years a Slave. All three showed up in today's guild nomination - the first "below the line" guild citations of the season - alongside titles like Blue Jasmine, Her and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Excellence in Period Film

  • 12 Years a Slave, Patricia Norris
  • American Hustle, Michael Wilkinson
  • Dallas Buyers Club, Kurt & Bart
  • The Great Gatsby, Catherine Martin
  • Saving Mr. Banks, Daniel Orlandi

The aforementioned three plus Saving Mr. Banks were obvious selections (and Nathaniel was already predicting them for Oscar), but the low-key '80s Texas ranch duds and Rayon's striking color-blocked ensembles of Dallas Buyers Club feel like a surprise. Or, they would if Jean-Marc Vallee's film hadn't been charging through the precursors already, I guess. Sad to see the fleetingly eclectic and generation-spanning work of Ruth E. Carter in Lee Daniels' The Butler miss out. Whither Oprah's crocheted disco suit. Likewise the sumptuous work of William Chang on The Grandmaster, the divinely textured albeit little seen fashions of Ralph Fiennes' The Invisible Woman, and (despite my loathing of the film) Julian Day's less-jokey '70s Rush attire including Chris Hemsworth's procession of fabulous, retro tees that I wish I owned and open-necked button-ups I wish I had the body to pull off.

Contemporary, fantasy, TV and Sandy Powell after the jump.

Excellence in Contemporary Film

  • Blue Jasmine. Suzy Benzinger
  • Her, Casey Storm
  • Nebraska, Wendy Chuck
  • Philomena, Consolata Boyle
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Sarah Edwards

I'm happy as long as the sweaty Chanel of Blue Jasmine (which abstew stumped for last month) and the slooping, colourful shirts and high-waisted pants of Her got in! I haven't seen Walter Mitty (nor do I intend to), but the nominations for Nebraska and Philomena look to me like pure laziness. Which do you remember more? The neon bikinis of Spring Breakers or Philomena Lee's floral scarves? Greta Gerwig's reappropriation of the crisp white tee and pencil skirt or Bruce Dern's plaid shirt and winter coat? Or how about The Bling Ring which, just like The Devil Wears Prada several years ago, completely revolved around its contemporary costume work? And, of course, there's Stoker which certainly had the most dreamily symbolic fashions of the year.

Excellence in Fantasy Film

  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor, Bob Buck
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Trish Summerville
  • Oz: The Great and Powerful, Gary Jones, Michael Kutsche

Last year saw two eventual Oscar nominees pulled from the fantasy category (the guild winner Mirror Mirror, plus Snow White and the Huntsman), but this year the guild had to shrink it down from five to three due to lack of competition and I doubt we'll be seeing any of these three nominated on Oscar night. I suspect The Hunger Games' Trush Summerville takes this for her sleek gaming attire and fantastical "capital" dress wear. It would feel very strange if the Academy never once acknowledged this franchise when they've dolled out nominations to far worse and less popular properties over the years. Especially strange given these are films that actively indulge in fantastical design (costume, production design, make-up and hair). Will the Hunger Games get their Oscar due? 

Not nominated was the one and only Sandy Powell for Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street. I'm going to assume it's early '90s business attire was submitted into period category rather than contemporary where it easily could have won. It was both a blessing and a curse that the costumes in Wolf didn't go for cultural gags (like, for instance, The Butler's fluorescent workout clothes), but that blurry period line likely cost it. It didn't look period.

And for completion sake here are the TV and commercial nominees. Nice to see Mad Men remembered by somebody! Also, I am not surprised that House of Versace's likely only nomination ever came from this guild. They love it when anything is distinctly about fashion, dahling.

Outstanding Contemporary Television Series
Breaking Bad, Jennifer Bryan
House of Cards, Tom Broecker
Nashville, Susie DeSanto
Scandal, Lyn Paolo
Saturday Night Live, Tom Broecker, Eric Justian

Outstanding Period/Fantasy Television Series
Boardwalk Empire, John Dunn, Lisa Padovani
The Borgias, Gabriella Pescucci
Downton Abbey, Caroline McCall
Game of Thrones, Michele Clapton
Mad Men, Janie Bryant

Outstanding Made for TV Movie or Miniseries
American Horror Story: Coven, Lou Eyrich
Behind the Candelabra, Ellen Mirojnick
Bonnie & Clyde, Marilyn Vance
House of Versace, Claire Nadon
Phil Spector, Debra McGuire

Excellence in Commercial Costume Design
Call of Duty “Ghosts Masked Warriors”, Nancy Steiner
Dos Equis: “Most Interesting Man in the World Feeds a Bear”, Julie Vogel
Fiat “British Invasion”, Donna Zakowska

We find out the winners on February 22.

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Reader Comments (17)

Blows my mind how REVENGE (abc) misses out on this nomination with all the beautiful Hamptons attire!

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave

But how would you do early to mid 90s clothing gags in this story? You'd probably have to finagle up an excuse for Jordan Belfort to go to a rock concert for that, considering the 90s pop cultural clothing gag is "grunge" wear.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Even SaBu's spacesuit would've been a better choice than Philo-fucking-mena! I don't get this cattle mentality sometimes...and you're right, I immediately thought "The Blind Ring" and "Frances Ha", but "Spring Breakers", heck "The Great Beauty" and many others would've been so much better. Also, slightly dumb question, but how is "Her" (which I LOVE so don't get me wrong) contemporary and not fantasy? (It's even set in the future for crying out loud)

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJose

I'm torn. I want Patricia Norris to win because she's a legend, but Wilkinson's work in American Huste is to die for. Can we get a tie?

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Volvagia, that's what I'm saying. By excluding the more ridiculous fashions of the era the film's costumes probably didn't stand out enough for even a perennial like Sandy Powell to be nominated in the period category. If it was submitted as a contemporary then... well, I have no idea why it didn't get nominated. Perhaps they thought for themselves in at least one aspect.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

i love NEBRASKA but i am flabbergasted by that nomination. I guess it's another slumdog millionaire. It's going to be a best picture nominee so it has the best everything!

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

No Inside Llewyn Davis? Shame!

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Mud for discovering the relic and luxury of a Fugazi t-shirt./kidding

Philomena and Nebraska are WTF nods. I get the latter is showing normal people but it seemed... like I could believe those clothes actually belonged to all of the actors.

Like I said previously, Sandy Powell should not be punished for truly nailing the heinously ugly corporate early 90s fashions. I really disagree in that I think it looked period. But the 90s 'are back' in ways that include fashion so maybe that line is blurred.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

That's what I'm saying. The fashions of WOLF didn't look period. But, then, this guild has iffy understanding of "contemporary". There's no definitive ruling on years per se as films set in the '80s have been nominated for each category in the past.

January 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

I am weirdly angered by The Bling Ring and Stoker getting snubbed. I though for sure at least Stoker would get a nom.

January 9, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersilvard

Harry Potter was completely snubbed by Oscar while stuff like Narnia and Lemony Snicket got rewarded, so it wouldn't be surprising at all if The Hunger Games ended up going wholly ignored by the Academy, too, when all was said and done.

January 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

The Harry Potter series had 4 nomination for Production Design (Episodes 1, 4, 7.1 and 7.2) and 1 for Costumes Design (Episode 1), so I wouldn't say it was completely snubbed by Oscar in the "design" field.

January 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCCA

Claire, as CCA pointed out, the Harry Potter series was far from "snubbed". There was also visual effects nominations and make-up nominations.

It's just odd because the HG films are very well received critically to go along with their huge box office and technical prowess.

January 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

I don't get the Nebraska, Philomena or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty shout-outs AT ALL especially when there's so much more interesting contemporary work being done elsewhere, as everyone else has noted. I'm surprised they didn't give any mention to The Bling Ring, frankly, since that movie partly defines itself on those trendy (stolen) character clothes. They just didn't think outside the box enough. Every one of the other nominees makes sense for citation tho. Glad they didn't actually go there and nominated Gravity like I was shaking-my-head-in-advance for.

Overjoyed to see that Trish Summerville is looking more like a real contender now -- big fan of her work recently.

January 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

I think the best costume certainly deserves for The great Gatsby, it was so accurate. I love The Borgias!!

In a better world Mother Of George would be in that contemporary costume design category.

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTB

All of the nominated for the Excellence in Period Film category did a superb job. In each film they were able to capture the era in each character and really bring to life the times they were portrayed through their wardrobe.

May 8, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCaleb

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