The 17th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards Nominations

By Joe Kucharski - January 7, 2015

The 17th Costume Designers Guild Award nominations are out! This annual award show honors excellence in costume design for film and television, as nominated and voted on by members of the costume designer's union. What makes the cycle so exciting is that, unlike in any other awards, costume honors are awarded in a variety of film and television categories, allowing designers to be recognized for something other than period frocks! See the designers nominated, and a few brief observations below.

(Obviously every single one of these costume designers is an expert in their craft, leading large teams, working with stellar talent, and making incredible art. But once we start handing out trophies for design, people start having opinions!)


This year's film nominees represent a wide array of genres and styles. The Contemporary category consists of some well-known veteran names, and a few wonderful breakout designers. The Period category, as always, represents some of the finest talent in the business, and is always the toughest race of the year. This category often serves as a preview of Oscar nominations to come. The Fantasy category is WILDLY exciting this year, with the rare acknowledgement of a comic book film- Alexandra Byrne receiving a nod for Marvel's Guardians of The Galaxy. Very well deserved, I might add! But Colleen Atwood is the darling of the costume design community, and while Into The Woods lacks the scale of some of her previous wins- she'll be a tough one to beat. 

It is incredibly disappointing to see that Michael Wilkinson was overlooked for his PHENOMENAL work on Noah. It is also unfortunate to see no recognition offered for the groundbreaking work by Deborah Cook for The Boxtrolls.

Excellence in Contemporary Film

"Birdman" (Albert Wolsky)

"Boyhood" (Kari Perkins)

"Gone Girl" (Trish Summerville)

"Interstellar" (Mary Zophres)

"Wild" (Melissa Bruning)

Excellence in Period Film

"The Grand Budapest Hotel" (Milena Canonero)

"The Imitation Game" (Sammy Sheldon Differ)

"Inherent Vice" (Mark Bridges)

"Selma" (Ruth E. Carter)

"The Theory of Everything" (Steven Noble)

Excellence in Fantasy Film

"Guardians of the Galaxy" (Alexandra Byrne)

"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" (Bob Buck, Lesley Burkes-Harding, Ann Maskrey)

"The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" (Kurt and Bart)

"Into the Woods" (Colleen Atwood)

"Maleficent" (Anna B. Sheppard, Jane Clive)


2014 was an exciting year for television, and that is well represented by this year's nominees. The Contemporary category is no surprise, with some of the most stylish shows and best-known names in the industry honored. (No secret, Tyranny of Style is rooting BIG for the exceptionally talented Lyn Paolo and her stunning costume design for Scandal.) It is too bad that the categories of Fantasy and Period are lumped together for Television, as it has become quite rare to see a Fantasy show in the mix. This year’s stellar Period category is chalked full of incredible designers and shows. Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men both nominated for their last season. (Though with Season 7 of Mad Men split into two parts, Janie Bryant may be eligible to be nominated again next year.) The Made For Television Movie or Mini-Series category is always an apples and oranges race, with a wide spread of contemporary, fantasy, and period represented. The Commercial category, representing the only section where you can view all five complete nominated pieces in less than 10 minutes, is always fascinating as it represents a costume designer's ability to make a lasting impression in just a few seconds.

Outstanding Contemporary Television Series

"House of Cards" (Johanna Argan)

"Ray Donovan" (Christopher Lawrence)

"Saturday Night Live" (Tom Broecker, Eric Justian)

"Scandal" (Lyn Paolo)

"True Detective" (Jenny Eagan)

Outstanding Period/Fantasy Television Series

"Boardwalk Empire" (John Dunn)

"Game of Thrones" (Michele Clapton)

"The Knick" (Ellen Mirojnick)

"Mad Men" (Janie Bryant)

"Masters of Sex" (Ane Crabtree)

Outstanding Made for Television Movie or Mini Series

"American Horror Story: Freak Show" (Lou Eyrich)

"Houdini" (Birgit Hutter)

"The Normal Heart" (Daniel Orlandi)

"Olive Kitteridge" (Jenny Eagan)

"Sherlock" (Sarah Arthur)

Excellence in Commercial Costume Design

Army - 'Defy Expectations, Villagers' (Christopher Lawrence)

Direct TV - 'Less Attractive' with Rob Lowe (Mindy Le Brock, Jessica Albertson)

Dos Equis - 'Most Interesting Man in the World Walks on Fire' (Julie Vogel)

Kia Soul - Hamster Commercial Featuring 'Animals' (Anette Cseri)

Smirnoff - 'The Mixologist' (Laura Jean Shannon) 

Congratulations to all of the designers nominated! The 17th Costume Designers Guild Awards winners will be announced on Tuesday, February 17th.