The competition to win this year’s Oscar for Best Costume Design looks to be a tough one, with all of the contenders being previous nominees and winners of the award. Three-time previous winner Sandy Powell looks to have the highest probability of taking victory this year, as she has two films in the running; popular historical fiction/comedy The Favourite, with its extravagant ballgowns and robes loosely inspired by Georgian attire, and Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns and its colourful and quirky 1930s-esque designs. However, Powell has some strong competition from another previous Academy Award Winner, Alexandra Byrne, and her stunning work on Mary Queen of Scots, another historical picture, but with more understated and factually accurate designs to its competitors. The same can be said for Mary Zophres’ costumes for western ‘anthology’, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, but due to the large ensemble cast of the film it is difficult to find any stand-out pieces that make it an obvious winner. It is actually Ruth E. Carter, and her costumes for Marvel’s Black Panther, who may well have the upper hand this year, however, as her intricate and colourful designs take inspiration from traditional west-African garb, but add modern twists to create a truly memorable aesthetic for the whole film. So, Black Panther for the win, but if not, this category will probably present The Favourite with yet another victory.
As one of the ‘smaller’ categories at the Oscars, there are only three nominations for the Best Makeup and Hairstyling award this year, but that doesn’t make it any easier to predict the winner. Mary Queen of Scots is one of the nominees, predominantly due to historical makeup expert Jenny Shircore’s transformation of Margot Robbie into a smallpox-scarred Queen Elizabeth I. It is up against Swedish fantasy film Border, which features incredibly realistic prosthetics by Goran Lundstrom (known for his work on the Harry Potter films), used to make stars Eva Melander and Eero Milonoff look like humanoid trolls. Despite how impressive the hair and makeup on these two films are, however, it is likely that they will both fall short of the title, as the third contender for the category is comedy-drama Vice, which stars Christian Bale as American vice-president Dick Cheney. The combination of facial prosthetics, makeup, and wigs/hairstyling by Greg Cannom render Bale completely unrecognisable, and seamlessly convey around fifty years of aging, with no help at all from digital rendering. This impressive feat makes Vice the most obvious winner of this year’s award, though it would be quite nice to see Border take away the trophy, as very few foreign language films have won this award since it was first introduced in the 1980s.