Michael Wilkinson | American Hustle
Alright, Day 3 of our Oscar selections, and today we are focusing on the Best Costume Design category. Now, this definitely isn’t an area of expertise for me, but I’m happy to give it more attention because costume design is definitely an important part of the movie making process. I mean, it’s half of what sells us on movies. The nominees for this year include American Hustle, The Grandmaster, The Great Gatsby, The Invisible Woman, and 12 Years a Slave.
For me, the choice is American Hustle. I really thought the film embodied the late 1970s and early 1980s well, and the costume design definitely had a role in that. The big flapping collars, at least 3 dress shirt buttons undone and a ton of jewelry for the men. The women all wore pretty revealing dresses (I think people are probably still talking about Amy Adam’s side boob) trying to pull in men left and right. Hell, just think of Carmine’s all royal blue suit. They dressed fancy, but nothing too outrageous; the style could be formal or relaxed, and I thought American Hustle really nailed the time period. No, the costumes aren’t anything crazy like the 1920’s from Gatsby, or representing the traditional outfits of Charles Dickens like The Invisible Woman, but American Hustle nails a not so distant time period that had subtly distinct flavor to it.
I’m no expert on costume design, none of us here are, and I bet Ryan and Chris were scratching their heads out of confusion when I told them I wanted us to cover this award, but I think that it’s a part of the filmmaking process that should be noticed more. Costumes are how you create a character, and for me, American Hustle’s costume design flowed nicely throughout the entire film and really set a visual tone that accompanied the rest of the movie well. The costume design of American Hustle definitely has stuck out in my mind compared to the other nominees, and I think when looking back it still nails the style of the time period perfectly.