March 7, 2002


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Film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Designers: Nigela Dickson & Richard Taylor

Style: Fantasy

Likelihood: The sheer volume of the cast of characters makes this effort a true feat of creativity and the results are fantastic.

If Moulin Rouge hadn’t played the Golden Globe darling, The Lord of the Rings may have a fighting chance at the Oscars. The costumes seemed to live up to the visual expectations of Tolkein’s fanatic followers, and a tougher critic would be hard to find. Unfortunately, the special effects, amazing action sequences, and entrancing plot leave the conscious mind little room to take in the meticulously made costumes. Nonetheless, the nomination is a compliment to the daunting task faced by the film’s designers.

Film: Gosford Park

Designer: Jenny Beavan

Style: Roaring 20’s Glamour

Likelihood: Although the costumes for this film are incredibly authentic, it’s been done before. The prevalence of the roaring 20s time period could hold them back.

Robert Altman’s comedic darling may have won him a Golden Globe for Best Director this year, but it’s unlikely that costume designer Jenny Beaven will walk away with an award herself. It’s not that she didn’t do a truly commendable job with lot of swanky upper-class garb from the 20s. Rather, Beavens’ downfall will be that she didn’t do anything that hadn’t been done before. Fellow nominee Milena Canonero for The Affair of the Necklace faces the same fatal Oscar flaw. Unfortunately, in the year of the fantasy film, historic costume creations look like old hat.

Film: Moulin Rouge

Designers: Catherine Martin & Angus Strathie

Style: Turn of the Century Vegas

Likelihood: The chips are riding Moulin Rouge. This showboat flick was every gluttonous costume designer’s dream come true.

Rhinestone manufacturing may have hit an all-time high in pre-production for this larger-than-life Baz Luhrman creation du jour. Bedecked in tiarras, ostentatious jewelry from head to toe, and even a fully studded, strapless leotard, Nicole Kidman never shown so brightly (literary). The name of the game was flashy and the budget was enormous resulting in a spectacle of costumes to cloth a stage full of singing dandies. And hey, can any costume look bad on Nicole Kidman? That would deserve an award itself.

Archived article by Laura Thomas