The manliest of all Oscar categories, the one for the dudes out there forced to sit through red carpet ooing and aahing, the moment when the Kodak Theatre, for a precious moment, becomes a gladiator arena of bloodthirsty barkers and maidens burying their faces from the primal nightmare on display.
Kidding, it's Best Costume Design.
But first, lemme say I'm sorry for going all Oscar prognosticator here. Mainly, it's out of necessity. Not that I'm proud of it, but I just can't bring myself to give a shit about costumes unless they're really special, like the winner below. So as a backup default, I've done some history lesson/prediction shit. I hate it, too. Sorry.
Secondly, there's an AWESOME contest going on over at Get In Media (my favorite entertainment-media website that also happens to pay me sometimes, but not for saying the following!): You can enter to win a Flip Video - Ultra HD by taking a guess at some of the Oscars' more technical categories (they're a tech-minded site). It's free and it's a closest to the pin kind of deal. So enter!
Thirdly - am I stalling? - this Oscar watch party with Wanzie at the Eden Bar looks pretty fucking great. Me? I'm after the Winters Boneless Buffalo Chicken Tenders. If you've seen the film, you know why that's a horrifying and spectacular menu choice. Go! Watch!
This actually could be a very interesting category this year – and every year – if it weren't so easily manipulated. Like most technical categories, the major problem is that everyone - actors, directors, sound mixers - vote on who's the best, leaving most of the behind-the-scenes trolls to grumble that there's no way someone on the outside could understand what it takes to do their job. Yeah, yeah.
But that's glaringly obvious in this category's history, as Julia Turner pointed out a couple years back. Over the last 24 years, 22 of the winners for Costume Design were period pieces. An overwhelming number of those wins involve frilly dresses and tight corsets. It's like voters just can't see past the pretty shiny things, no matter how dull or overproduced they might be.
This year could've been interesting, too: How about those earth-mother, vintage-rack clothes on Annette Benning and Julianne Moore in The Kids Are All Right? Or the slick-as-a-wet-fake-dream suits in Inception? And by the way, both of those films were nominated by the Costume Designers Guild in their own awards ceremony, along with The Social Network, TRON: Legacy, Black Swan and other overlooked contemporary films.
Anyway, it is what it is, and this year will almost certainly continue the period-piece streak, with no "contemporary" films nominated, two from the fantasy genre and the rest - you guessed it - period.
Now that that's out of the way, let's go over the nominees:
Best Costume Design:
Colleen Atwood – Alice in Wonderland
She's won twice, but never with her frequent work for Tim Burton. If he couldn't shepherd her to gold with her design on Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, Sweeney Todd and more, he won't ever. Oscar just doesn't like the guy enough to hand it over, apparently.
Antonella Cannarozzi – I Am Love
First-time nominee, so that hurts Cannarozzi's chances. Also, the work, while gorgeous, was far too dependent upon the way it played off the scenery around her and reflected the story – y'know, she did her job well – to catch the everyvoters' attention.
Jenny Beavan – The King's Speech
Oh, here's the sweet spot: Beavan's a previous winner (A Room With a View) and they're British and they're royals and it's a Best Picture nominee and they're in the past. The winner the last three years? Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Duchess and The Young Victoria. Yahtzee, baby.
Sandy Powell – The Tempest
Powell's won three, so you can never count her out, but she doesn't stand a chance against The King's Speech. Nobody saw this thing, first of all, and I'm not sure Oscar's ready to see Russell Brand prancing through a highlight reel at the ceremony...yet.
Mary Zophres – True Grit
My favorite of the year – time-appropriate (I assume) and full of as much zest, life and personality as the characters they covered, Zophres' costumes were half the fun of this thing. I want to get my daughter a Mattie Ross hat someday.
WINNER: Mary Zophres – True Grit!