April 6, 2007

2006 UMA Profile: Best Costume Design

Another look over the candidates for a category of The UMAs, my personal film awards. This time I look at one of my favourite categories, Best Costume Design. The only Oscar nominee that I have not seen is Curse of the Golden Flower so obviously that could come into play later. The only Costume Design Guild nominee I haven't seen is The Illusionist and Golden Flower, so I think I've covered a wide spectrum. But for now, these are the films that may or may not be nominated.

Let it be known that this was a great year for contemporary costume work. Three of the films mentioned below fall within the contemporary realm, with others such as Volver (just missing out here), A Prairie Home Companion, Casino Royale and Miami Vice (and many others) having equally noteworthy work. And judging by the Oscar nominees (two contemporary nominees) maybe their work will start to become more recognised.

Jenny Beavan for The Black Dahlia
Stylish and deadly. With Scarlett Johansson nearly drowning in fur and other assorted wears, Hilary Swank stylishly frumping in black outfits and the men (John Hartnett and Aaron Eckhart among them) walking around in devilish suits, I get the impression that Beaven had a helluva good time dressing these people.

Julie Weiss for Bobby
Some characters who are on the edge of modern, some who are in the past, and others who are little bit of both. Weiss, who is a very noteworthy contemporary costume designer, doesn't have many costume changes (as the film is set in one day, most characters where the same outfit for the majority of the film), but that's made up by every outfit being so character-perfect.

Patricia Field for The Devil Wears Prada
A mammoth undertaking. Not only did Field have to make every outfit (apart from the dowdy ones, obviously) give off the allure of chic and fashionable, she also had to know what was going to be in fashion a year into the future. So many delectable designs. Those montages were to die for.

Sharen Davis for Dreamgirls
Taking cues from several decades, Davis' designs are impecably done. But while they may not be entirely accurate in relation to history, they feel like they balance the line between reality and Broadway to an effective degree.

John Dunn for Factory Girl
I guess the big success of Dunn's work on Factory Girl is that if retro = chic then these designs are very very chic. I can see people wearing these duds today, so I can only presume that even if they're not entirely historically accurate, they're most definitely character and plot serving. I totally understood why observers thought these people were fascinating. That long-sleeved backless number is a wowser.

Jane Johnston for Macbeth
The design of this film hit me with the force of a lead brick. All those deep reds and pitch blacks and glossy silvers. Even the beige is delicious. All that embroidery. There's Asian streaks and mafia suits and the outfits just suffocated me. It must be said that the design in several of Sam Worthington's more powerful scenes were particularly striking.

Milena Canonera for Marie Antoinette
A movie that, along with The Devil Wears Prada, practically begs the viewer to just salivate over the clothes. Such a big challenge to mix the realities of the classical French period with the New Wave punk of director Sofia Coppola's vision (it's the Cons!) and she pulls it off!

Lala Huete for Pan's Labyrinth
The fine work by Huete was probably not as noted because it wasn't part of the fantasy world that helped the film gain such meteoric popularity, but I thought her tailoring of Sergi Lopez's outfits as well as the slum dresses and army garb was just as noteworthy.

Penny Rose for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
More stunning design work in the Pirates films (surely a trend to continue with the upcoming At World's End. This edition added more imaginative and detailed designs to the closet of the pirates and those who revolve around them.

Joan Bergin for The Prestige
Dressing up the celebrities of the day, Bergin's work with Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale's duelling magicians feels just right. Add in sexy assistants, kooky scientists and enough winter overcoats to fill an apartment, The Prestige is a costume haven.

Melinda Doring for Suburban Mayhem
The character of Katrina Skinner is a mean venoumous one, and even though her outfits are downright outrageous at times, that just makes her so much fun to watch. From the boots to the shirts to the mini skirts. I guess it's Skank Chic, and Emily Barclay pulls it off effortlessly.

Sammy Sheldon for V For Vendetta
It's been a long time since I watched this movie (what was it? March? April?) but despite really disliking the film, I remember the costume and production design was particularly striking. And even though the character of V is incredibly hard to read (fey terrorists are like that sometimes) I do love the picture to the side here of him wearing an apron. Charming.

Next up I'll discuss the music from 2006 with Best Original Score and Best Original Song.


adam k. said...

The costume design for Pan's Labyrinth actually won the BAFTA award and the CDG fantasy award, along with a bunch of panish film awards, so I wouldn't exactly call it overlooked. But it didn't get an oscar nod, no.

There were a few fantasy-related costumes.

adam k. said...

*Spanish* film awards... obviously

Kamikaze Camel said...

When people discuss it they mention the sets and the makeup but not much else. I thought the costumes were just as good.

You're right though, it did win those prizes. So, good for Huete.

J.D. Judge said...

Okay, am I like the only blogger who LOVES (even kinda likes?) V for Vendetta? Seriously.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I think so.

J.D. Judge said...

And that is horribly sad. Horribly underrated.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Or just plain horrible?


J.D. Judge said...

[taken back and gasps]

How dare you Glenn?! Do not mess with the most important political film I've ever seen. I loved it. I saw what it meant. I saw the ideas. I saw the fact that Natalie Portman could be better. BUT, that's not important. A great film like is sure for cult status, which echoes it's unseen greatness.

So... :P

Kamikaze Camel said...

But didn't it make something like $80mil? That's not underseen.

I totally "got" the politics. I just thought it was silly. Just like I think protesters are, a lot of the time, silly because while the cause they're fighting for may be worthy, you're not going to get people onto your side by being an arse and ruining their day (or being a terrorist.)

And McTiegue couldn't direct a scene to save his life. Closeups of an inatimate mask? Ugh.

Anyway... that movie is so long ago I don't care to discuss it (search for it and my review will pop up - but I dislike it even more now. Sorry)

J.D. Judge said...


Okay. I'll let it be. And by 'underseen' I meant truly seen. People saw it in the original release because of Natalie Portman's bald head and explosions. And he may be a 'terrorist,' but that is the whole point of the frickin' movie!! It's layered, and if I think it's one of the greatest things I've ever seen, that's all that matters.

And I'm not gonna look up your review because I do not want to fuel the flames of cyberwar. Let's agree to disagree, okay?

[puts sword back in scabbard]

J.D. Judge said...

How did a post on your possible Costume Design nominees turn into a geopolitical smackdown involving masked terrorists and bald Oscar-nominees?