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Entries in Costume Design (215)

Thursday
Mar032016

How Jenny Beavan won the Oscars

Tim here. I watched the Oscars this year completely without the aid of social media of any sort – absolutely worth doing, if you haven't recently. It lets you enjoy the ceremony for the ceremony.

What that means is that I didn't realize for two whole days that there was quite a furor over my very favorite visual from the whole night, Jenny Beavan's outstanding outfit that she wore on the way to collect her Best Costume Design award for Mad Max: Fury Road. It turns out that there were quite a few people who did not share my view that it was the night's clear highlight. Several of them were sitting right inside the Kodak Theater with her, in fact, rather visibly failing to be delighted by her attire. That's especially true of an epically grumpy Alejandro González Iñárritu. He and several other conspicuous non-clappers were the subject of a Vine that went viral on the spot.

The internet has obligingly and appropriately pushed back, including a magnificent Paddy Considine tweet that I dare not show here on account of the very curt language Considine fired off in Beavan's defense, but it's very much worth checking out.

I did not come to rehash all of that, but to take us back to the outfit itself.

What was buried in the clapping controversy was that Beavan was wearing just about the coolest outfit to have graced the Oscars this decade. It's an instantly classic entry in the annals of "Costume designers just do not give a crap" alongside Milena Canonero's form fitting Victorian men's suit in 2007, and Lizzy Gardiner's 1995 American Express dress (another controversial outfit that many people hate but remains one of the greatest things anyone has ever worn). Just look at it! 

All other considerations aside, that is badass. And it's also really on-point. The inherent ruggedness of (fake) leather, the heightened cartoon gaudiness of having a sequined image on the back, the fact that the image is a sort of cult identity marker, the way that her accessories suggest scavenging. She is, in effect, wearing the movie on her body, and taking it up to win the Oscar with her. More importantly, it's a way to put her own personality on display during a moment that should be entirely about here. And there is far more of Beavan the human being in that moment than any stock Hollywood figure wearing stock evening wear – this is a woman whose primary medium of expression is clothing, after all. As she put it backstage:

I don't do frocks and absolutely don't do heels, I have a bad back. I look ridiculous in a beautiful gown… I just like feeling comfortable and as far as I'm concerned I'm really dressed up."

And as far as we're concerned, she won the whole Oscar ceremony.

Tuesday
Mar012016

Pt 2: New Oscar Trivia, Stats, and Curiosities

Picking up where we left off after the headliner categories. But click not away. The below the line crafts and specialty categories are just as important and trivia-interesting. I promise.

FOR THE EYES

Production Design: Colin Gibson, Mad Max: Fury Road
Makeup and Hairstyling
: Mad Max: Fury Road
Costume Design: Jenny Beavan, Mad Max: Fury Road

Jenny Beavan previously won the costume category for another perfect film A Room With a View. Not since arguably Dianne Wiest has a two time winner won for such polar opposite achievements. Yes both of Wiest's Oscars are from Woody Allen pictures but those star turns couldn't be more different stylistically / emotionally / pscyhologically. Mad Max Fury Road is also the first sci-fi winner EVER in this category... unless you count Star Wars (1977) though some people prefer lumping Star Wars into the fantasy genre rather than sci-fi... and there have been multiple fantasy winners.

I can't think of any interesting stats to go with the Makeup and Production Design Oscars but they were richly earned, don't you think?

More after the jump including further Star Wars coincidences...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb162016

TV MVP of the Week: Younger, The Magicians, Grandfathered... 

I keep trying to get Team Experience to tell you what they're watching but they're weirdly shy about the small screen. But with the lines continually more blurred between screens we're trying to give television more room here. Nevertheless most of us do watch TV when we can squeeze it in between movies. 

Here's a few of our favorite things from the past week's viewing...

Patricia Field & Jacqueline Demetrio, Costume Design of Younger
Not since the glory days of Sex and the City has a show relied so beautifully on costumes (OK maybe Gossip Girl is up there, too) but in Younger they serve a purpose beyond aesthetics. Take for example the warrior-like costumes Miriam Shor's character wears, glittery armors, oversized jewelry and in one case a McQueen scarf that seemed to have the skulls of all her victims. That the very scarf was used by another character to reveal her weaknesses was pure brilliance.
-Jose Solis 

Gillian Anderson in The X-Files
We may quibble with the overall quality of this protracted sequel season of The X-Files but we should never complain about having more Gillian Anderson in our lives. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb122016

Interview: Sandy Powell on Color, Character, Carol, Cinderella, and Cate

Sandy Powell on the set of CinderellaSome people rush to movies if their favorite movie star's face is prominent on the poster. Others swear allegiance to directors. Obsessive cinephiles go for all sorts of reasons. One of ours at The Film Experience is Sandy Powell. If she's the costume designer, we're there, no questions asked. We sat through The Tempest (2010) just for her and trust me that that's devotion.

Meeting her in person earlier this season to talk Carol and Cinderella, which brought her her 11th and 12th Oscar nominations and could well bring her a 4th Oscar, was a personal joy. I had talked to her once before by phone but in person we were able to look at costume stills together and had a great conversation. This cinematic MVP was a fun, lively, and personable interviewee. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did. 

NATHANIEL R:  I intervewed you once a long time ago and I was really taken aback by something you said. You implied that you were surprised and amused by analytical readings of your work.

SANDY POWELL: I was talking about that today with Judy Becker and she said thing "I've learned so much about my work today!". People read things into it that you weren't consciously thinking about. But they're not bad things! You start thinking "maybe subliminally..." You start taking credit for it! 

A lot of the time you work so fast that you make snap decisions and you don't know what it's based on. I do work instinctively and intuitively. I don't sit and analyze. I don't think about the significance and "What shall I consciously put on her or him or her to convey that?"  I do what feels right. And quite often just by doing that you've got it right, you actually have given something so symbolism.

NATHANIEL R: Do you start thinking of full outfits while you're reading a script?

her answer and much more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan312016

Thoughts I Had... while staring at this photo from the set of "xXx: The Return of Xander Cage"

Thoughts I had in the order they came to me after the jump...


Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan292016

Beauty Break: Costume Design (Personal Ballot & Oscar Shortlist) 

We're about to wrap up the "traditional" portion of the Film Bitch Awards which are essentially Nathaniel's Oscar ballot were he to have one in every category. (There will be more awards each day until we're finished -- before the Oscars, mind you! -- but they're the fun "extras")

Oscar's costume branch and I were fairly sympatico on our shortlists this year differing by only two pictures. Yet citing only 7 pictures (all featured after the jump) feels stingy. Costume heavy period pictures like Macbeth, Crimson Peak, The Assassin and Brooklyn definitely had their moments. Two contemporary pictures worth noting for their clever work were Youth and Chi-Raq. And then there are the pictures that have one costume so special it's what you always think of later on when you're picturing the movie: that lime green slit-to-there dress in M:I - Rogue Nation, the perfect action hero simplicity of Chris Pratt's functional but very tight outfits in Jurassic World, the barely visible sight of Jennifer Jason Leigh under huge furry everything in The Hateful Eight, that stylish pilot jacket in Star Wars: The Force Awakens that traded hands and so on...

In short, if you don't love costumes -- get outta here! Let's celebrate the five Oscar nominees plus two Nathaniel nominated in his own awards after the jump. Crazy gorgeous photos ahead...

OSCAR'S COSTUME DESIGN NOMINEES

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan072016

Costume Designer's Guild Nods: Sandy Powell x 2. And More... 

It's Guild Week. The week when many artists get their hopes up for nominations since the guilds have so many categories for their particular craft unlike Oscar's mere 5 for the altogether. But since we love costumes, the more the merrier. Congratulations to the nominees who we'll discuss after the jump...

Click to read more ...

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