Like it or not awards season has arrived and predictably for costume design that means little surprises with regards to nominations.
BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) have just announced their line-up for 2013. While all the choices are worthy, one especially, collectively they demonstrate a misunderstanding of exactly what costume design is and what it brings to film. Period, fantasy and spectacle are still applauded above all facets, and even though this is part of costume design it should never be the overriding factor in determining the very best of costume design. Costume serves narrative and whichever film released in 2012 has achieved that most successfully deserves to be rewarded. BAFTA nominations below:
Anna Karenina – Jacqueline Durran
Great Expectations – Beatrix Aruna Pasztor
Les Misérables – Paco Delgado
Lincoln – Joanna Johnston
Snow White and the Huntsman – Colleen Atwood
Moonrise Kingdom: Overlooked, despite those shoes.
So who is missing from the list? Well, Django Unchained (Sharen Davis), The Hunger Games (Judianna Makovsky) and Moonrise Kingdom (Walicka Maimone) to name but three. Lawless (Margot Wilson) also ticks a lot of award boxes – namely that it is period and features an exciting use of colour. If BAFTA were really thinking outside of the box they could have included Moonrise Kingdom, which was both period and kooky. Yet even taking costume design at its most basic, fundamental level, surely anyone could see that Mirror, Mirror (Eiko Ishioka) deserved a mention?
Hopefully the Oscar Academy Award nominations will be a little more inspiring. Again, taking nothing away from those on BAFTA’s line-up, in fact congratulations are in order. But sadly it is obvious that the art of costume design still has a long way to go in being truly understood. Award ceremonies almost broke the mold two years ago with Black Swan (which won Amy Westcott a CDG) – let’s see them do it again.
The British Academy Film Awards take place on Sunday 10 February 2013.
© 2013, Christopher Laverty.