“It’s like a marriage,” confesses costume designer Sandy Powell about collaborating with Christopher Peterson on “The Irishman.” Peterson explains, “We’re friends and share on common aesthetic. We don’t agree on everything but we keep talking about it until we do. Or one of us wins. Sandy’s an instinctual designer; I will over-research everything. And we meet somewhere in the middle.” Watch our exclusive video interview with the Oscar nominated designers above.
The Martin Scorsese film tells the true story of Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), a truck driver who becomes a hit man. The film uses de-aging technology in order to portray De Niro and other actors from the late 1940s to early 2000s. Peterson explains that for a costume designer “the challenge was to imagine what the actor was going to look like and dress them appropriately to the age they were supposed to be.” Powell adds, “Over the decades there are very distinctive looks. But the subtle differences are when you go from the end of one decade into the beginning of another.”
While this is Peterson’s first Oscar nomination, “The Irishman” marks Powell’s 15th. She has previously won for “Shakespeare in Love” (1999), “The Aviator” (2005) and “The Young Victoria” (2010). For this nomination Powell reveals, “I was really surprised. This isn’t the kind of film that gets nominated for costume design. It’s fairly ordinary clothing: guys in suits. There’s nothing flashy, showy, wild or sparkly. The costumes that normally get nominated are from earlier periods; have female characters with gowns; or are heavily stylized and colorful. I’m really thrilled that a low key-looking film has been nominated. Films like this and contemporary films never get nominated but are just as difficult and challenging to do.” When she last won for flashy, gown laden “Young Victoria” Powell dedicated the win to designers who work on contemporary films and those that don’t get as recognized at awards.
Reflecting on his work, Peterson says “I got to make a great film with Marty, that great cast and my friend Sandy. It looks great, and it’s being appreciated. Hey man, I’m good. mission accomplished!”
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