We are just under a week away from the Orange BAFTA Film Awards so now seems an appropriate time to consider who might win the prize for Best Costume Design (it will be a period drama) and why (because all the nominations are). We should again clarify that Clothes on Film enjoy period and fantasy costume just as much as contemporary, BUT we do consider it a shame that the latter category is often overlooked by simple virtue of being too good to be seen.
If you have been taking advantage of Orange Wednesdays (and who doesn’t?), i.e. texting FILM to 241 from any Orange mobile to get two-for-one cinema tickets, you will hopefully have seen most, if not all of these BAFTA costume design nominees:
The Artist – Mark Bridges
Late 1920s – early 1930s. Nostalgic, fashionable, fun in a Hollywood setting that ironically probably only ever existed in the movies.
Hugo – Sandy Powell
Early 1930s with turn of the century flashbacks. Sumptuous and richly detailed, Hugo is heightened reality; a story told through a child’s eyes.
Jane Eyre – Michael O’Connor
Early 19th century. Stiff and dark with detailed undergarments, cleverly reusing items to reflect the social status of certain characters; this is meticulous costume design with a very specific colour palette.
My Week with Marilyn – Jill Taylor
Mid 1950s. Portraying real life cinematic icon Marilyn Monroe in a less iconic light, i.e. Marilyn at home and at play. Not just the memorable movie costumes but jeans and a trenchcoat too.
Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy – Jacqueline Durran
Mid 1970s. The varying hierarchy of suits, shirts, ties, jeans and sheepskin jackets in the British security services. Subtle yet character specific.
While avoiding any favourites as such, we must admit two from that list really jump out as justifiable winners: Mark Bridges for The Artist and Jacqueline Durran for Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy. Firstly, Mark Bridges has been due recognition as a story focused and creative, yet fiercely practical costume designer for years now (his work on The Fighter was sadly overlooked in 2010). Secondly, Jacqueline Durran; a costume designer best known for that emerald green dress worn by Keira Knightley in Atonement. Yet for Tinker, Tailor we would argue her work is even sharper. Dripping with revealing character notes and acute period detail, this is the kind of costume design they should teach in schools.
Now, as a disclaimer we should say that every single nominee in this category is entitled to triumph. It is not a case of who is the most worthy so much as who on this occasion deserves to be rewarded. It is shame Leesa Evans & Christine Wada for Bridesmaids could not be included or Erin Benach for Drive, but at least BAFTA gave out a contemporary nomination last year – Amy Westcott for Black Swan, even if she did not win.
To find out which films are being talked about most on Twitter and Facebook, thus which have the most buzz for Sunday’s awards, visit Orange Film Pulse for a round-up score. Also, do try Orange’s Film to Go service where you can download a free movie from iTunes every Thursday. We like this idea so much we’ve already been a guest on Peter Serafinowicz’s live show talking about one of last year’s downloads, Coco Before Chanel (2009). Hint for those who missed it: the costumes are beautiful.
The Orange BAFTA Film Awards are on 12th February at London's Royal Opera House.
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© 2012, Christopher Laverty.