Alexandra Byrne wins Academy Award for Best Costume Design, The Nominees

The 80th Annual Academy Awards almost slipped by us under the Writer’s Guild strike, but alas we got our show. Sunday night, big films like No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood took home high honors. But, what about the costume design award?

The Nominees

Across The Universe

Across The UniverseSet in an unsettled time, Across the Universe tackles the turbulent times of the 70’s. A young Englishman makes his way to the US and finds the woman he’s always dreamed of. Just as they delve into the world head first without want for caution, the Vietnam War hits and their world is changed.

Designer Albert Wolsky has credits to his name that need no explanation. Recently he did both Across the Universe and Charlie Wilson’s War, films with a taste for throwback appeal. As far as Universe goes, director Julie Taymor did an impeccable job echoing the feel for the psychadelic era in a way that a film should.


AtonementWe featured a bit about the movie Atonement earlier with Time magazine’s "best movie costumes" article. Jacqueline Durran, also noted for her awards with designing costumes for the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, has recieved a ton of clout for the costumes of this film. It’s with good reason too.

Sweeney Todd

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – Who doesn’t love a good Tim Burton film with the clever macabre charm. Sweeney Todd originated a couple of decades back on the stage, and Burton has brought it back with Johnny Depp to the silver screen. Colleen Atwood has worked with Burton for a long time and has a significant list of heavyweight titles to her credits.

La Vie En Rose

La Vie En RoseMarit Allen is a first timer to the Academy Awards. Her work in the film La Vie En Rose is another tribute to early century European style. The film traces the life of famous French pop singer, Edith Piaf and the tragic events of her life. The movie premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and has had numerous awards and nominations since.

Alexandra Byrne Wins For Elizabeth: The Golden Age


Despite a long list of great achievements in film costuming, the winner of this year’s Academy Award went to Alexandra Byrne of Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

Byrne has only costumed 8 films up through her work on Elizabeth. Nonetheless, she is used to getting recognition for her work. Being nomiated 3 times before for Hamlet (1996), Elizabeth (1998), and Finding Neverland (2004), Byrne exemplifies excellence in classic themed costume design. Beginning of a trend?

It turns out interesting that classic costumes seem to rule the pack when the Academy makes their vote. It’s a great lesson in the importance in imagination and style, but accurate detail to authenticity. Byrne’s work is likely to be commissioned by directors for a long time.

We have yet to see what 2008 will bring us, and we’ll probably make some suggestions along the way. However, for now the results are in and it looks like the choice was a good one. 

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