83rd Academy Awards Snub Big Costume Movies

Today’s Academy Award nominations were not especially surprising in most of the headline categories. Well, maybe no Christopher Nolan for Best Director or Andrew Garfield for Best Supporting Actor, but in the Best Costume Design category there were a couple of major upsets.

First of all, the actual nominees:

Alice in Wonderland – Colleen Atwood

I Am Love – Antonella Cannarozzi

The King’s Speech – Jenny Beavan

The Tempest – Sandy Powell

True Grit – Mary Zophres

Nothing wrong there, and with no desire to take anything away from the recipients, it is especially great to see Antonella Cannarozzi for I am Love (actually made in 2009). However, where is Mark Bridges for The Fighter or Jeffrey Kurland for Inception or Jacqueline West for The Social Network, among others? Most surprising of all, where is Amy Westcott for Black Swan?

There is an argument that these are not period nor fantasy films so not as smiled upon by the Academy, but even that does not really hold water. The Fighter is a period film (as recognised by the CDG) and strictly so is The Social Network. Clearly if The Fighter had been set a littler further back, say in Victorian Times, it may have been in with a shot – damn real life getting in the way there.

Again, the actual nominees are worthy choices, just perhaps at the expense of some particularly high profile snubs. Inception is not just controversial for missing out on Best Director, but also for Costume Design. A shame most press coverage will only focus on the former.

Source: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

© 2011 – 2014, Lord Christopher Laverty.


  • Lisa

    King Speech had some amazing clothes so I hope this wins!
    Does anyone know just when the thriller film Frozen Moments comes out starring the new Spartacus Australian hunk Liam McIntyre?

  • Kai

    I absolutely adore True Grit and what Mary Zophres did, excellent work in my opinion. Also I have to disagree on Black Swan there, most of the heavy lifting was done as a collaboration with fashion designers. So I am fine with it not getting a nod. Though Jeffrey Kurland for Inception not getting anything is a little heartbreaking.

    • Chris Laverty

      Your comment about ‘heavy lifting’ demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the costume designer’s role. Nonetheless, we have yet to learn the full details of Rodarte’s involvement with Black Swan. I am pleased to see Mary Zophres on the list – been a fan since The Big Lebowski. Inception definitely deserved recognition too.

  • Cynthia Abel

    Sadly, the real, or best costume designer for each year gets overlooked at nomination or outvoted for a “popular” name. I read recently that Edith Head, often took the credit or was assumed to have done the best costumes in more than one movie that were actually done by others. This year’s snub has gone to Amy Westcott, the main designer of the costumes for “Black Swan” Hopefully her talent and hard work will get the recognition in a future film.

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