Margot Robbie in "Barbie"
ManOfTheCenturyMovie Awards 2024 Oscars: Best Costume Design Predictions

2024 Oscars: Best Costume Design Predictions



Margot Robbie in "Barbie"

Nominations voting is from January 11–16, 2024, with official Oscar nominations announced on January 23, 2024. Final voting is February 22–27, 2024. And finally, the 96th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 10, and air live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT. We update predictions throughout awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all our 2024 Oscar picks.

The State of the Race

“Barbie” (Warner Bros.) is the one to beat for its immersive brilliance in conveying Mattel’s fashion history and tailoring it to fit story arcs for Barbie (Margot Robbie) and Ken (Ryan Gosling). But there’s plenty of competition from “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple TV+/Paramount), “Poor Things” (Searchlight), “Wonka” (Warner Bros.), “Dune: Part Two” (Warner Bros.), “The Color Purple” (Warner Bros.), “Asteroid City” (Focus Features), “Napoleon” (Apple TV+/Sony Pictures), “Maestro” (Netflix), “Oppenheimer” (Universal), “Priscilla” (A24), “Beau Is Afraid” (A24), and “Saltburn” (Amazon/MGM).

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Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster “Barbie” is the epitome of costume design: a fashion statement as well as an expression of character building for Barbie’s transformation from doll to human. The director reunites with Oscar-winning costume designer Jacqueline Durran (“Little Women”), who applied an interpretive design based on the history of Barbie costumes from Mattel spanning 60 years. This had the effect of sparking the memories of anyone who’s ever played with Barbies throughout the decades. It kicks off with the “2001: A Space Odyssey”-inspired monolithic opening, which presents Barbie as the first doll that had agency as a feminist statement. Durran started with the doll fashion pack as a reference point for coordinating outfits and accessories. Pink was dominant but there were other dazzling colors and color combinations. The swimwear was culled from the ’50s and ’60s retro fits inspired by Brigitte Bardot. Chanel, which designed a pink-suited Barbie in the 2000s, was brought in as a collaborator to help with ’80s period styles.

“Killers of the Flower Moon” marks the first opportunity for costume designer Jacqueline West to work with director Martin Scorsese. The four-time Oscar nominee (“Dune,” “The Revenant,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Quills”) found that his passion for authenticity paired well with her creative process on this 1920s fact-based Oklahoma crime drama about the serial murders of Osage Indians to steal their oil-rich territory. West worked with several Osage consultants on wardrobes, particularly Julie O’Keefe, and referenced the book “Wedding Clothes and the Osage Community.” The consultants provided West with clothes, photos, and filmed events from the story’s time period. As a result, she utilized many indigenous fabrics, colors, and styles for certain characters throughout the film. For example, Lily Gladstone’s Mollie Burkhart was dressed more traditionally than her sisters early on and subsequently lost the vibrancy of the colors she wore as she lost family members.

Yargos Lanthimos’ “Poor Things,” a twisted Victorian “Frankenstein” gender-bender, stars Emma Stone as Bela, who’s crudely resurrected from the dead by her scientist father (Willem Dafoe) with the brain of her unborn child. This results in a strange and surreal transformation from a traumatized woman to a fearless one who upends 19th-century roles and conventions. The costume design of Holly Waddington (“The Great,” “Lady Macbeth”), therefore, is vital in conveying Bela’s emotional state of mind throughout her journey. The aesthetic is not tied to the period but becomes futuristic as they explored the use of latex and plastic in her wardrobe. She goes from wearing a white silk cape to dressing herself in very unconventional styles, including bloomers with jacket and hat and military-looking dresses.

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“Killers of the Flower Moon”

West is back with co-costume designer Robert Morgan on Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part Two.” The Oscar nominees continue their “modern-medieval” aesthetic to explore Paul (Timothée Chalamet) leading the nomadic Fremen into their holy war on the desert planet Arrakis. For the desert people, they referenced Bedouins and Tuaregs, Goya paintings, and the colors of the rocks and sands in Jordan. The complex gray stillsuit of the Fremen remains the innovative centerpiece, bringing to life the sophisticated and highly practical fluid recycling system. There will be more styles for the Bene Gesserit, whose robes were based on tarot cards and chess pieces, and the Harkonnen, influenced by Greek and Roman mythology, with the introduction of Austin Butler’s bald, sword-wielding baddie, Feyd-Rautha (who appears in black-and-white in the trailer’s gladiator scenes).

“Wonka,” the musical fantasy prequel from director Paul King (“Paddington”) starring Chalamet as the famed chocolate maker in training, enlists the director’s Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming (“Topsy-Turvy”). She seizes on a fantastical Victorian/Edwardian look for the wardrobes, and the centerpiece, of course, is her re-imagining of Wonka’s signature outfit: a velvet burgundy jacket, a brown and green-streaked shirt, a brown, blue, and red silk necktie, and iconic brown top hat.

Wes Anderson’s existential, Cold War odyssey “Asteroid City,” mainly set in a mid-’50s desert town, contains quirky and vibrant outfits from Oscar-winning costume designer Milena Canonero (“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Marie Antoinette”) that are nostalgic shout-outs to the era. The highlight revolves around the romance between Jason Schwartzman’s war photographer and Scarlett Johansson’s glam movie star. He’s personified by the khaki safari outfit and she by the alluring dress with hand-painted cactus flowers.

Christopher Nolan tapped costume designer Ellen Mirojnick (the Emmy-winning “Behind the Candelabra”) for his “Oppenheimer” biopic thriller about physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), and she provided the signature dapper look for the “father of the atomic bomb.” Oppenheimer’s silhouette remained constant once he arrived at Berkeley, and his iconic three-piece suits and fedora became his uniform and armor. This was the fashion statement that visually set him apart from the other scientists.

Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo in POOR THINGS. Photo by Atsushi Nishijima. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2023 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.
“Poor Things” Searchlight PicturesAtsushi Nishijima

Ari Aster’s “Beau Is Afraid,” in which Joaquin Phoenix’s paranoid man-child goes on a surreal odyssey, contains an odd array of outfits and fashions from costume designer Alice Babidge (“The Dig”). Beau dresses like an adolescent throughout when he’s not wearing pajamas or the farmer’s outfit in the alternate reality of the stage play. It’s some of the other characters that are dressed more flamboyantly, including the striped dress worn on the cruise by younger mother Mona (Zoe Lister-Jones) or the wild printed pajamas worn by Nathan Lane’s Roger, the doctor who rescues Beau.

As for the rest: Blitz Bazawule’s “The Color Purple,” adapted from the Broadway stage musical, starring Fantasia Barrino as Alice Walker’s celebrated Celie, leans into magical realism. This extends to the colorful early 20th-century wardrobes for the ensemble cast from costume designer Francine Jamison-Tanchuck (“One Night in Miami”). Bradley Cooper’s “Maestro” explores legendary conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein (Cooper) through the lens of his complicated love story with actress wife Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan), spanning more than 30 years. Oscar-winning costume designer Mark Bridges (“Phantom Thread,” “The Artist”) helps transform the Renaissance Man of American music through his sartorial elegance. Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” has Oscar-winning costume designer Janty Yates (“Gladiator”) dressing the power couple of Napoleon Bonaparte (Phoenix) and wife Joséphine (Vanessa Kirby) in eye-popping military and neo-classical fashion (including their gold-embellished coronation outfits).

In addition, “Saltburn,” Emerald Fennell’s wicked satire of wealth and privilege at the dawn of the 21st century, features costume designer Sophie Canale (“Kingsman: The Secret Service”) highlighting class differences when fish-out-of-water Oxford student Barry Keoghan spends the summer at the sprawling estate of aristocrat Jacob Elordi and his eccentric family. Sofia Coppola’s “Priscilla,” costume designed by Stacey Battat (“On the Rocks,” “The Beguiled”), provides a counter perspective to Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis.” It’s an American princess story between Cailee Spaeny’s teenage Priscilla and Jacob Elordi’s Elvis, with a touch of “Marie Antoinette” for inspiration.

Potential nominees are listed in alphabetical order; no film will be deemed a frontrunner until we have seen it.

Frontrunners

“Asteroid City”
“Barbie”
“Beau Is Afraid”
“Killers of the Flower Moon”
“Oppenheimer”

Contenders

“Dune: Part Two”
“Maestro”
“Napoleon”
“Poor Things”
“Priscilla”
“Saltburn”
“The Color Purple”
“Wonka”

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