Past Oscar nominees and winners dominate this category and it’s a case of the futuristic science-fiction looks of “Dune,” created by Jacqueline West and Bob Morgan, versus Jacqueline Durran in “Spencer” as the two front-runners in the costume design race.
Denis Villeneuve’s epic needed an army of artisans to craft the looks of Arrakis and the different worlds — a mighty task in itself. West and Morgan also had to bring to life the stillsuits, described by author Frank Herbert as “the color of the rocks.”
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“Each one had to be cut on a mold of the actors’ bodies because the movement of the body is what theoretically activates the stillsuit and turns it into a distillery,” West says.
Both in the book and film, the suits take human wastewater and turn it into a gas, “and then that filters through all of the tubing in the suit as a coolant with gauges and regulators. And we put all that on the stillsuits.”
Brit costume designer Durran pulled from looks inspired by Princess Diana, taking creative license to build the looks worn by Kristen Stewart. Durran also collaborated with Chanel to help re-create specifically tailored pieces such as the red coat worn by Diana.
And while “Coming 2 America” was released early this year when theaters were still shuttered, audiences tuned in for the streaming release and saw Oscar-winner Ruth Carter’s fabulously bold colors. She brought in a little bit more of the “real Africa,” says Carter, who worked with Laduma Ngxokolo, designer of the Maxhosa by Laduma label, on the palace uniforms. Velvet and embroidery enhanced the royal attire.
Also in the running is Tony Award winner Clint Ramos who used costume to reflect Aretha Franklin’s emotional state and immersed himself in books of the singer as he created a wardrobe with the guiding principle, “How did she use clothing as armor or as a distraction from her trauma?”
One talked about outfit this year is the “trash dress” from Disney’s “Cruella.” Jenny Bevan crafted 47 costume changes for Emma Stone’s Cruella and 33 for the Baroness played by Emma Thompson rooting her designs in ’70s fashion with a hint of punk.
Pulling double duty were Janty Yates, who outfitted Ridley Scott’s offerings “House of Gucci” and “The Last Duel,” as well as Mitchell Travers on “In the Heights” and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.”
Other contenders include prior Oscar winners Sandy Powell in “Mothering Sunday,” Mark Bridges reteaming with Paul Thomas Anderson for “Licorice Pizza,” and Luis Sequeira, who reunited with Guillermo del Toro for “Nightmare Alley.”
Plus, Tony and Emmy winner Paul Tazewell could very well see himself in the running for an Oscar as the costume designer behind Steven Spielberg’s buzzed about “West Side Story.”
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