Costume Designers Guild Award Nominations

By Joe Kucharski - January 10, 2014

The Costume Designer's Guild Award nominations for 2014 are out! A string of the expected, a lot of wonderful designers honored, and a few that were sadly overlooked.

One of the features unique to the CDGAs is the separate categories for genre. While the larger awards shows such as The Academy Awards and BAFTAs only offer a Best Costume Design category, the Guild honors those in both film and television in a range of categories that allows projects other than the expensive period epic to get a little recognition.

 

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EXCELLENCE IN CONTEMPORARY FILM

“Blue Jasmine” – Suzy Benzinger
“Her” – Casey Storm
“Nebraska” – Wendy Chuck
“Philomena” – Consolata Boyle
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” – Sarah Edwards

Several wonderful nominees, but I’m floored to see that Stoker (Kurt & Bart), one of the best designed films of the year, was overlooked. With the buzz they’ve received from mainstream fashion magazines, odds point to this category coming down to Her and Blue Jasmine. With his use of contemporary clothing to tell a beautiful, stylized story, Casey Storm for Her is my pick to win!

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EXCELLENCE IN PERIOD FILM

“12 Years a Slave” – Patricia Norris
“American Hustle” – Michael Wilkinson
“Dallas Buyers Club” – Kurt & Bart
“The Great Gatsby” – Catherine Martin
“Saving Mr. Banks” – Daniel Orlandi

 

 

This is the toughest race in town, the one that it typically comes down to for both the BAFTAs and The Oscars. A lot of really strong contenders this year. It’s an interesting year for period film, with only one nominated film set earlier than the 20th century. This year’s crop features several films where clothing plays a central role in the film. The buzz I’ve been hearing, both from major outlets and individual viewers place The Great Gatsby and American Hustle as the favorites to win. I was blown away by both Catherine Martin and Michael Wilkinson’s work, but am eager to see Wilkinson begin to stack up awards for his incredibly thoughtful (and glamorous!) work. 

 

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EXCELLENCE IN FANTASY FILM

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor, Bob Buck
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Trish Summerville
Oz: The Great and Powerful – Gary Jones, Michael Kutsche

 

 

Always one of my favorite categories of the year! I was disappointed to see some of the greatest films of the year not recognized here. This has been the year of leaps in the superhero genre. Man of Steel (Michael WIlkinson) and Thor: The Dark World (Wendy Patridge) featured some of the most beautifully inventive costumes for alien planets that combined historic inspiration with fantasy and armor to jaw-dropping success. In Star Trek Into Darkness, an early year release, Michael Kaplan again made building an entire Starfleet and foreign worlds look effortless. 

All strong nominees, but my money’s fully on Trish Summerville for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Utilizing a smart mix of custom, rented, and borrowed high fashion pieces, Summerville created one of the most cohesive films of the year! From the dusty districts, to the menacing Peacekeeprs, the high-fashion Capitol, and uniforms of the games - there wasn’t a single throw-away look in the bunch.

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OUTSTANDING CONTEMPORARY TELEVISION SERIES

“Breaking Bad” – Jennifer Bryan
“House of Cards” – Tom Broecker
“Nashville” – Susie DeSanto
“Scandal” – Lyn Paolo
“Saturday Night Live” – Tom Broecker, Eric Justian

 

One of the most diverse categories! Again, I was disappointed to see some of the best dressed shows of the year overlooked, including Revenge (Jill Ohanneson), The Blacklist (Christine Bean), and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Ann Foley). 

It would be the biggest Scandal of the award season if Lyn Paolo didn’t win for her work designing the best dressed show on television (you see what I did there?).

 

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OUTSTANDING PERIOD/FANTASY TELEVISION SERIES

“Boardwalk Empire” – John Dunn, Lisa Padovani
“The Borgias”– Gabriella Pescucci
“Downton Abbey” – Caroline McCall
“Game of Thrones” – Michele Clapton
“Mad Men” – Janie Bryant

Easily the hardest category in television, pitting some of the biggest budget productions in the business against each other. Overlooked was the excellent work in contemporary, fantasy, and period costume on Sleepy Hollow (Kristin M. Burke). Boardwalk Empire, Downtown Abbey, and Mad Men have all won in previous years. I love to see the accolades spread around a bit, but it is not as if The Borgias or Game of Thrones is hurting for validation. If the Emmy’s are any barometer, The Borgias may have a slight lead on the pack.

 

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OUTSTANDING MADE FOR TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINI SERIES

“American Horror Story: Coven” – Lou Eyrich
“Behind the Candelabra” – Ellen Mirojnick
“Bonnie & Clyde” – Marilyn Vance
“House of Versace” – Claire Nadon
“Phil Spector” – Debra McGuire

 

 

A year of standout made for television movies and mini-series, with a focus on works based on true stories and larger than life personalities. American Horror Story: Coven (Lou Eyrich) featured some incredible fantasy meets high-fashion looks, but it is hard to compete with the extravagant world of Liberace that Ellen Mirojnick expertly captured in Behind the Candelabra.

 

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EXCELLENCE IN COMMERCIAL COSTUME DESIGN

Call of Duty “Ghosts Masked Warriors” – Nancy Steiner
Dos Equis: “Most Interesting Man in the World Feeds a Bear” – Julie Vogel
Fiat “British Invasion” – Donna Zakowska

 

An exciting chance to recognize an oft overlooked field, the commercial category offers us the unique opportunity to view all of the nominees’ work in just a few minutes. Click on the links above to view each design. I found myself most drawn to Fiat’s “British Invasion” commercial. It was only afterwards when I realized it was designed by Emmy-award winning costume designer of the John Adams mini-series, Donna Zakowska.

 

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Check back here to find out more about the 2014 Costume Designers Guild Awards and all of the winners, Saturday, February 22, 2014!