If the scenario and the direction are obviously essential to the success of a film or a series, the importance of the costumes should not be underestimated. It is enough, to be convinced of it, to remember the very severe criticisms with regard to the costumes of the series The Witcher. In this article, we take a look back at fifteen costumes so magnificent that they won an Oscar.
1 – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Last film of the trilogy of Peter Jackson, adapting the cult saga of JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is considered, rightly, as one of the greatest films in the history of cinema.. The feature film is moreover, with titanic and Ben Hur, one of only three films in history to have won 11 Oscars, including the Oscar for Best Costume Design. And it must be said that it is a deserved reward: very varied, the costumes suit each character, and seem to reveal the intrinsic characteristics of each race, giving even more substance to this universe of Fantasy.
2/ Phantom Thread
One of the greatest filmmakers of his time, Paul Thomas Anderson particularly upset audiences and critics with his penultimate feature film, Phantom Thread. Of all the awards the film has won, there’s one that seems self-evident: the Oscar for Best Costume Design. In effect, this masterpiece of the Seventh Art has haute couture as its theme. The costumes are therefore at the very heart of this project!
Among the greatest films of the legendary Ridley Scott, Gladiator allowed the rebirth of the peplum. In addition to its neat staging, its inhabited actors, its spectacular action scenes and its oversized sets, the film can also count on his incredible costumes, which give more body and soul, and therefore credibility, to this recreation of Ancient Rome. It remains to be seen whether the costumes of Gladiator 2 will also be beautiful.
Several films by Francis Ford Coppola would have deserved to win the Oscar for best costumes (the first two parts of the Godfather have also been nominated), but only Dracula was rewarded. Never mind ! The costumes are absolutely sublime, and are a key element of the staging of the legendary filmmaker. Indeed, the latter greatly contribute to the atmosphere of the film, sublimating certain shots by their mere presence. By the way, have you seen the first images of Nicolas Cage as Dracula?
5/ Star Wars, episode IV: A New Hope
A real turning point in the history of cinema, the first film Star Wars has countless qualities. No need to list them all here, everyone has them in mind. There is one however that we tend to forget, it is the costumes. Thanks to them, George Lucas was able to create new alien species, bring out all the elegance of a Jedi master, and above all, create the greatest villain of Pop culture: Darth Vader..
While the directing talents of Martin Scorsese (whom the author of these lines considers to be the greatest filmmaker of his time) are often (rightly) praised, it should not be forgotten that several of his films are of real frescoes. And who says fresco, says excess. The sets and costumes are therefore essential, and this is particularly felt in Airmanhis second feature film with Leonardo DiCaprio. The costumes allow both to illustrate the psyche of the characters, and to reconstruct an era and a world.
Winner of eight Oscars, Milos Forman’s masterpiece continues to amaze. To recreate the splendor of Viennese aristocracy, the director of Flight over a cuckoo’s nest appealed to the brilliant Czech designer Theodor Pistek, to whom we also owe the costumes for the film Valmontby the same director. Absolutely magnificent, the costumes were nevertheless very difficult to wear, according to the confidences of the actors. And yes, you have to suffer to make a masterpiece!
8/ Memoirs of a geisha
Directed by Rob Marshall (who could appear in this selection for his film Chicago), Memoirs of a Geisha won three Oscars, including Best Costume Design. Essential to its history, they also help to reproduce the Japan of the late 1920s and the early 1930s.
9/ The Grand Budapest Hotel
Director Wes Anderson’s greatest public success, The Grand Budapest Hotel reminds us of the importance of costumes in the filmmaker’s work. Very careful in his aesthetics, the filmmaker likes pastel tones, and the costumes used in his films always have very bright colors. It results an atmosphere that is both quirky and shimmeringwhich perfectly illustrates The Grand Budapest Hotel.
10/ Fantastic Beasts
If in Harry PotterJK Rowling placed her action in England at a relatively contemporary time, that of the Fantastic Beasts takes place around the world in the first half of the 20th century (the first two parts are between the two World Wars). As a result, in addition to being a fantasy saga (a genre in which costumes are essential), Fantastic Beasts also looks like a period film. Scrupulous care was therefore given to the costumes, in order to give the film this sort of in-between genre: the result is an old-fashioned charm in the clothing of the characterswhich we understand that if they wear beautiful period costumes, they are not necessarily fashionable…
11/ Alice in Wonderland
If the film is often criticized by the purists of the director of beetle juicewe can nevertheless recognize its indisputable qualities. When we know the importance of aesthetics in the cinema of Tim Burton, we will not be surprised that the American filmmaker took special care for his costumes. Alice in Wonderland. Very successful, these had to be both in line with the usual codes of Burtonian cinema, but also to identify at a glance the characters of Lewis Carroll’s novel that we have already seen on screen. in the 1951 Disney classic.
12/ Mad Max: Fury Road
Fourth installment of the saga madmax by George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road is a total success, often cited among the best films of the 2010 decade. It must be said that this nervous film enjoys an exceptional staging and an extremely careful artistic direction. The impressive costumes also serve to characterize the characters and the hostile environment in which they evolve.
13/ Moulin Rouge!
Baz Luhrmann’s musical classic was one of the biggest hits of 2001. While best remembered for his covers of rock and pop classics (David Bowie, The Police, U2), the Academy of Oscars nevertheless rewarded him for his costumes. Given the subject of the film (a romance set in a cabaret at the very beginning of the 20th century), the attention paid to the costumes was therefore essential.to underline all the theatricality of this unique universe that was the Moulin Rouge!, while idealizing the time and the place.
One of only three films to win 11 Oscars, titanic is undoubtedly one of the most important films in the history of American cinema. As with every James Cameron film, we note a real attention paid to the artistic direction, and in particular to the costumes. These allow the director to show how the two universes in which the two protagonists evolve are different.
15/ Marie Antoinette
Sofia Coppola’s classic has caused much ink to flow, particularly for its careful staging and its rock soundtrack as anachronistic as it is addictive (The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, New Order) which would have nothing to envy to Peaky Blinders. Corn it is also important to underline the sumptuousness of the costumes, which show all the splendor of the court of Versailles at the end of the 18th century.
If you liked this article, and you missed the last Oscar ceremony, don’t hesitate to take a look at this year’s Awards.