The Oscar for Best Costume Design is sometimes one of the hardest to predict. The Costume Designers Guild offers some assistance, with their awards for Period, Fantasy, and Contemporary films, but since 1999, when the guild first started handing out prizes, they’ve predicted the eventual Oscar winner only seven times (from 1999-2004, the Period and Fantasy Awards were combined; in 2005, the category was split):
2002: Colleen Atwood, “Chicago” (Period/Fantasy)
2003: Ngila Dickson, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (Period/Fantasy, Oscar shared with Richard Taylor)
2005: Colleen Atwood, “Memoirs of a Geisha” (Period)
2008: Michael O’Connor, “The Duchess” (Period)
2009: Sandy Powell, “The Young Victoria” (Period)
2010: Colleen Atwood, “Alice in Wonderland” (Fantasy)
2012: Jacqueline Durran, “Anna Karenina”
This year, the guild honored Milena Canonero for “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (Period) and Colleen Atwood for “Into the Woods” (Fantasy), and both of those are now competing on Sunday for Best Costume Design. The other guild champ was Albert Wolsky for “Birdman” (Contemporary), but he is not nominated at the Academy Awards. Let’s take a look at all five of the nominees and their respective chances of winning:
Milena Canonero, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Canonero is way out front to win her fourth Oscar for “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” with odds of 1/5. The candy-colored period designs – which pop right off the screen – are the kind of work that earned the veteran costumer wins for “Barry Lyndon” (1975, shared with Ulla-Britt Soderlund), “Chariots of Fire” (1981), and “Marie Antoinette” (2006), as well as nominations for “Out of Africa” (1985), “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” (1988), “Dick Tracy” (1990), “Titus” (1999), and “The Affair of the Necklace” (2001). After wins at the ADG and BAFTA, what more is there left to really say? If there’s one category you can bet the farm on, it’s this one.
Mark Bridges, “Inherent Vice”
Bridges scored his second Oscar nomination this year for “Inherent Vice,” after winning on his first bid for “The Artist” (2011). Bridges captures the groovy look and feel of ‘70s era California, with bell-bottoms and tie-dye galore. Unfortunately for Bridges, the recent past isn’t something Oscar voters are keen to embrace, and he’s currently ranked in last place with odds of 100/1. Losing the ADG Period award to “The Grand Budapest Hotel” certainly doesn’t help.
Colleen Atwood, “Into the Woods”
The closest rival to Canonero’s prize is three-time Oscar-winner Atwood. She won Oscars for “Chicago” (2002), “Memoirs of a Geisha” (2005), and “Alice in Wonderland” (2010), and was nominated for “Little Women” (1994), “Beloved” (1998), “Sleepy Hollow” (1999), “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” (2004), “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (2007), “Nine” (2009), and “Snow White and the Huntsman” (2012). Her extravagant designs for “Into the Woods” encompasses witches, princesses, bakers, and wolves, and the CDG recognized her efforts with their Fantasy prize. Atwood’s currently ranked in second place with odds of 15/2, and were it not for Canonero, she might be ranked in first.
Anna B. Sheppard, “Maleficent”
Sheppard received Oscar nominations for her work on “Schindler’s List” (1993) and “The Pianist” (2002), and is back again for “Maleficent,” for which she designed a stunning black gown for Angelina Jolie’s villainess sorceress. She’s been overshadowed in the fantasy realm this season, however, by Atwood and “Into the Woods,” placing her in third with odds of 50/1. Perhaps in another year, Sheppard could be looking at her first win, but for now, she’ll have to remain content with another trip to the ceremony.
Jacqueline Durran, “Mr. Turner”
Durran won her first Oscar for “Anna Karenina” (2012) and was nominated for “Pride & Prejudice” (2005) and “Atonement” (2007). “Mr. Turner” finds her doing similar period work, but with a much more lived-in feeling. She’s currently ranked in fourth place with odds of 50/1, due in large part to the dominance of flashier contenders. So Durran’s prize for “Anna Karenina” will just have to wait a little while longer for a twin.
Since 1948, the Best Picture winner has also taken Costume Design just 20 times:
1948: “Hamlet” (Roger K. Furse) (Black-and-White)
1950: “All About Eve” (Edith Head, Charles LeMaire) (Black-and-White)
1951: “An American in Paris” (Orry-Kelly, Walter Plunkett, Irene Sharaff) (Color)
1958: “Gigi” (Cecil Beaton)
1959: “Ben-Hur” (Elizabeth Haffenden) (Color)
1961: “West Side Story” (Irene Sharaff) (Color)
1964: “My Fair Lady” (Cecil Beaton) (Color)
1966: “A Man for All Seasons” (Elizabeth Haffenden, Joan Bridge) (Color)
1973: “The Sting” (Edith Head)
1981: “Chariots of Fire” (Milena Canonero)
1982: “Gandhi” (Bhanu Athaiya, John Mollo)
1984: “Amadeus” (Theodor Pistek)
1987: “The Last Emperor” (James Acheson)
1996: “The English Patient” (Ann Roth)
1997: “Titanic” (Deborah Lynn Scott)
1998: “Shakespeare in Love” (Sandy Powell)
2000: “Gladiator” (Janty Yates)
2002: “Chicago” (Colleen Atwood)
2003: “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (Ngila Dickson, Richard Taylor)
2011: “The Artist” (Mark Bridges)
As you can see, the award has very little to do with Best Picture: more often than not, the winner in this category isn’t even nominated for the top prize. So while a win here will go a long way for “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” it doesn’t increase its chances of nabbing the big one.
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