Costume Design can be one of those categories that is really hard to get a true handle on until the guilds start announcing because it is such an entirely different animal than most other categories. Your acting categories depend on reviews and, to a certain degree, Best Picture status, and really it is that Best Picture aspect that drives a lot of categories, even in the technical side. Cinematography is one of those categories that favor Best Picture nominees, even when they are clearly undeserving (The King’s Speech). But, Costume Design isn’t such a horse.
It nominates whomever the hell it wants to.
It does tend to favor the more lavish period pieces and does tend to completely ignore the contemporary designed films unless they are in a very well received film. But this is the category that films like ‘W.E.’ and ‘Anonymous’ can get nominations, so really, anything is possible.
This year there are a slew of lavish period films in contention, but all of them cannot be nominated. I think there are two rather obvious nominees here, and at the end of the day I suspect the win will fall between the two of them. I mean, just look at them.
After that, it can get a little tricky. A film like Django Unchained looked really baity here in the first few still, so it could easily factor in. It has the prestige and the period detail needed to make it stand out. The Master also looks really well dressed, but maybe a tad too reserved. This category usually goes for the outrageous or at least the beautifully decorated. Argo and Lincoln are tough ones because if they truly take off with Oscar in a large way I can see them getting in here, especially Argo which has a more colorful and fun decade to play with, and the costumes look authentic (think ‘Milk’). ‘Lincoln’ looks good as well, but possibly a tad drab.
A lot of people have faith in ‘Mirror, Mirror’ pulling off a posthumous nomination here, but I’m skeptical. I mean, sure it is pretty and has some stunning (and witty) costume design, but is anyone really going to remember this movie come Oscar time? Does anyone remember it now? The movie was so terrible! I’d actually have more faith in ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’ here, since the film was taken more seriously (albeit not much) was released later in the year and is also a serious candidate in another category (Visual Effects). Besides, the costumes were better, in my opinion.
There are a lot of people who want something near impossible to happen here, and that is for a Wes Anderson film to finally be recognized. I have yet to see ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, but these costumes look fabulous, and I’ve often nominated Anderson’s films at the Fistis, so I’m all for it.
One that I’m betting on at the moment, which is kind of a gut feeling at the moment, is ‘Cloud Atlas’. The film looks to be rather divisive, but that has never been an issue in this category, and the extensive lavishness and period detail that is all over the place here (past, present, future) is pretty impressive. I’m thinking that it sneaks in after some strong guild support and maybe even a win here or there.
1) Anna Karenina
2) Les Miserables
4) Cloud Atlas
5) Django Unchained